Abstract

Recent scholarship has shown that the present-day meanings of the term technology are relatively recent. In nineteenth-century English, technology referred principally to a field of study concerned with the practical arts; it did not refer to industrial processes or artifacts, except in anomalous usage. In German-speaking regions, a new discourse emerged around die Technik in the second half of the nineteenth century. This German term referred to the practical arts as a whole, especially those associated with engineers and modern industry. When Thorstein Veblen encountered this term after 1900 in German social theory, he incorporated its meanings into technology, thereby transforming the English word into a sophisticated concept for analyzing industrial societies. Most scholars who drew on Veblen's concept missed its subtleties, however, among them the historian Charles A. Beard. In the late 1920s, Beard embraced a deterministic understanding of technology that linked it firmly to the idea of progress.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1097-3729
Print ISSN
0040-165X
Pages
pp. 486-512
Launched on MUSE
2006-08-07
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.