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The Culture of Technology examines our often conflicting attitudes toward nuclear weapons, biological technologies, pollution, Third World development, automation, social medicine, and industrial decline. It disputes the common idea that technology is value-free and shows that its development and use are conditioned by many factors-political and cultural as well as economic and scientific. Many examples from a variety of cultures are presented. These range from the impact of snowmobiles in North America to the use of water pumps in rural India, and from homemade toys in Africa to electricity generation in Britain-all showing how the complex interaction of many influences in every community affects technological practice.
Arnold Pacey, who lives near Oxford, England, has a degree in physics and has lectured on both the history of technology and technology policy, with a particular focus on the development of technologies appropriate to Third World needs. He is the author of The Maze of Ingenuity (MIT Press paperback).