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Living with Technology Reading List

Living with Technology, 2021/22, Semester 2
Dr Victor Dura-Vila
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Unit 1: Introduction

Compulsory readings

Winner, Langdon. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” Daedalus. ISSN: 0011-5266, vol. 109, no. 1, 1980, pp. 121–136. JSTOR, JSTOR,   

Optional readings

Bryan Appleyard, ‘Why futurologists are always wrong – and why we should be sceptical of techno-utopians’, New Statesman, 10 April 2014. Available online at:

Bryan Appleyard, ‘The New Luddites: Why Former Digital Prophets are Turning Against Tech’, New Statesman, 29 August 2014. Available online at:

Thomas Carlyle, ‘Signs of the Times’, 1829. Available online at:

Tom de Castella, ‘Are you a Luddite? ’, BBC News Magazine  20 April 2012. Available online:

Charles Duhigg, ‘How Companies Learn Your Secrets’, New York Times Magazine, Feb. 16, 2012. Available online at: _r=0.

David Edgerton,  The shock of the old : technology and global history since 1900, Profile, 2006.

Ray Kurzweil, ‘Singularity Q&A’. Available online at:

Ray Kurzweil, The singularity is near : when humans transcend biology,  Penguin, 2006.

Jaron Lanier, You are not a gadget: A Manifesto, Allen Lane, 2010, esp. Chapter 1: ‘Missing Persons’, pp. 3-23.

Sherry Turkle,  Alone together : why we expect more from technology and less from each other, Basic Book, 2011, esp. Chapter 9: ‘Growing up Tethered’, pp. 171-186.


Unit 2: Technology, Control and Progress

Compulsory readings

Robert. L. Heilbroner, ‘Do Machines Make history? ’, Technology and culture., 8(3), 1967: 335–345.   

Tiles, & Oberdiek, Living in a technological culture : human tools and human values, Routledge, 1994, Chapter 1.  

Optional readings

Alan Donagan, ‘Determinism In History’, in Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Volume II. Available online at: docId=DicHist/uvaGenText/tei/DicHist2.xml;;toc.depth=1;;brand=default.

Val Dusek, Philosophy of Technology, Blackwell, 2006, Chapter 6: ‘Technological determinism’, pp. 84–104.Thomas

Andrew Feenberg , Transforming technology : a critical theory revisited, OUP USA, 2002.

Robert L. Heilbroner, ‘Technological Determinism Revisited’, in M. R. Smith & L. Marx (eds.) Does technology drive history? : the dilemma of technological determinism, Routledge,

Carl Hoefer, ‘Causal Determinism’, in Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Available online at: .

Hughes, Networks of Power, John Hopkins University Press, 1983, Chapter 9: ‘London: The Primacy of Politics”, pp. 227–261.

Emmanuel Mesthene, Technology and social change, Harvard University Press, 1970.

Arnold Pacey, ‘Beliefs about Progress’, in The Culture of Technology, Blackwell, 1983, pp. 13–34.

Edward C. Pytlik, Donald P. Lauda & David L. Johnson, Technology, change, and society, Davis Publications, 1978, Chapter 2: ‘Technology and Human Life, pp. 12–24.

Gerald Sussman, ‘The “Communications Revolution”’ (extract ‘Appropriating Discourse: Technological Determinism and the Disappearing Subject’), in Gerald Sussman, Communication, technology, and politics in the information age, Sage, 1997, pp. 22–36.

Langdon Winner, ‘Where technological determinism went’, in S. H. Cutcliffe & C. Mitcham (eds.), Visions of STS : counterpoints in science, technology, and society studies, State University of New York Press, 2001, pp. 11–17.


Unit 3: Technology, Culture and Nature


Ralph H. Lutts, ‘Chemical Fallout: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Radioactive Fallout, and the Environmental Movement’, Environmental Review 9, 1985: 210–225.  

Russell Edmund et al, ‘The Nature of Power: Synthesizing the History of Technology and Environmental History’, Technology and Culture 52, 2011: 249–259.  


David Edgerton, The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900, Profile, 2006.

Ann Norton Greene, Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America, Harvard, 2008.

Lori Gruen, ‘Technology’ in Dale Jamieson (ed.), A Companion to Environmental Philosophy, Oxford, 2003: 439–448

Daniel Schneider, Hybrid Nature: Sewage Treatment and the Contradictions of the Industrial Ecosystem, MIT, 2011.  

Mark J. Smith, ‘Creating an Industrial Plant: The Biotechnology of Sugar Production in Cuba’, Susan R. Schrepfer and Philip Scranton (Eds.), Industrializing Organisms: Introducing Evolutionary History, Routledge, 2004: 85-106.

30 minute broadcast from Frank Fraser Darling’s 1969 Reith Lecture ‘Wilderness and Plenty’ entitled ‘The Technological Exponential’. This broadcast discusses the impact of the industrial revolution on the environment. Available online at:


Unit 4: Technology and Identity

Compulsory readings

Cynthia Cockburn, ‘Caught in the wheels: the high cost of being a female cog in the male machinery of engineering.’ In D. MacKenzie and J. Wajcman (eds.), The social shaping of technology, Open University Press, 1999, p. 126–133. OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (MAA 19/01/2018)   

Ellen van Oost, ‘Materialized Gender: How Shavers Configure the Users’ Femininity and Masculinity’, in N. Oudshoorn & T. Pinch (eds.), How users matter : the co-construction of users and technology, MIT Press, 2005, pp. 193–208. OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (MAA 19/01/2018)     

Optional readings

Wiebe E. Bijker, Of bicycles, bakelites, and bulbs : toward a theory of sociotechnical change, MIT Press, 1997, Chapter 2: ‘King of the Road: the Social Construction of the Safety Bicycle’, pp. 19–100.

Francesca Bray, ‘Gender and Technology’ in M. Wyer, M. Barbercheck, D. Cookmeyer, H. Ozturk & M. Wayne (eds.), Women, science, and technology : a reader in feminist science studies, Routledge, 2013, pp. 370–384.

Ronald Kline, ‘Resisting Consumer Technology in Rural America: The Telephone and Electrification’ in N. Oudshoorn & T. Pinch (eds.), How users matter : the co-construction of users and technology, MIT Press, 2005, p. 51–66.

Rachel P. Maines, The Technology of Orgasm, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Mari Mikkola, ‘Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender’, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available online at:

Nelly Oudshoorn & Trevor Pinch, ‘Introduction’, in N. Oudshoorn & T. Pinch (eds.), How users matter : the co-construction of users and technology, MIT Press, 2005, pp. 1–25.

Ruth Oldenziel & Mikael Hard, Consumers, tinkerers, rebels : the people who shaped Europe, Palgrave, 2013, Chapter 1: ‘Poaching from Paris’, pp. 13–48.

Trevor Pinch, ‘The Social Construction of Technology: a Review’, in Robert Fox (ed.), Technological Change: Methods and Themes in the History of Technology, Routledge, 1996, pp. 17–35.

Trevor J. Pinch & Wiebe E. Bijker, ‘The Social Construction of Facts and Artefacts: or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology might Benefit Each Other’, Social studies of science. 14(3), 1984: 399–441.

Sally Wyatt, ‘Non-users also matter: the construction of users and non-users of the internet’ in N. Oudshoorn & T. Pinch, How users matter : the co-construction of users and technology, MIT Press, 2005, pp. 67–80.


Unit 5: Technology and Dis/ability

Compulsory readings

Coreen Anne McGuire, The categorisation of hearing loss through telephony in inter-war Britain, History and Technology 35, 2019: 138–155.

Stephen Lilley, Transhumanism and society: the social debate over human enhancement. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013, Chapter 3: Transformation of Body and Mind.  

Optional readings

Julie Anderson, War, disability and rehabilitation in Britain : "soul of a nation", Manchester University Press, 2011, Chapter 2: ‘Attitude: disabled ex-servicemen after the First World War’.

FM-2030, Are you a transhuman? : monitoring and stimulating your personal rate of growth in a rapidly changing world, Warner Books, 1989.

Hugh Herr, ‘The new bionics that let us run climb and dance’, TED talk video. Available at:

Mara Mills, ‘Do signals have politics: Inscribing abilities in cochlear implants’ in T. Pinch and K. Bijsterveld (eds). The Oxford handbook of sound studies, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 320–346.

David Wasserman, Adrienne Asch, Jeffrey Blustein and Daniel Putnam (2011) ‘Disability: Definitions, Models, Experience’, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available online at:


This list was last updated on 25/01/2021