Technology and Culture

This week’s Potts and Murphie reading introduced questions of culture and technology, and their influence on each others meanings and applications. The most interesting part of the discussion for me, was the way that culture and technology could, or could not be defined, in the words use in modern day language. Technology, to me, are the inanimate objects that we use in our lives on an everyday basis that are constantly being improved and recreated. I think technology, broadly, encompasses everything in life that is not natural. Anything that wasn’t already here is a technology. In the most primal way, a technology could be a sharpened rock used to cut materials or food. While to us in 2013, its just a sharpened rock, it had to be sourced and created, its use had to be thought about. Its was a tool incredibly useful to those who used it. It could be considered and early type of technology. Now we have knives that are carefully crafted by machines, and designed and cut to be as sharp and effective as possible. Potts and Murphie also point out however, that the word technology has only really began to appear in the last century, and is used in a post industrial revolution sense.


While the definition of technology is broad, culture is presented as much more complex. Raymond Williams describes it asĀ  “one of the two or three most complicationĀ  words in the English language.” Culture encompasses so many things, and so many aspects of life. Culture as Potts and Murphie point out is in our food, sports, travel, entertainment, a myriad of things where it is hard to pinpoint its source and definition. To me, culture is an experience or a way of doing things. People talk about football clubs having a “strong culture”, and clubs work to build a culture within their team and people. Its hard to pinpoint even what this means, perhaps its just another sporting buzz word, but it encompasses attitude and work ethic, as well as uniform practices and processes that people undertake.


The way technology changes culture is even more complex, and their relationship is anything but linear. Technology creates new cultural experiences (such as the tourism industry), but also cultural changes create a drive for new technology.

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  1. Pingback: Cultural Technology | Networked Media

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