Technology and Organisation: Society and Risk

Technology is widely regarded as an unstoppable engine of change that is driving the advance or progress of the modern world. It would seem that no corner of the planet is left untouched by the transformative power of technology: from computers and telecommunications technology to biotechnology, from genetic engineering to the production of designer drugs to control and reshape human behaviour, the technological (re)ordering of the world would appear to have no limits. Against this background – utopian or dystopian depending on your viewpoint – the module aims to explore the (inter)relationship between technology and organisation.

In the Michaelmas term the lectures place a strong emphasis on the examination of accounts and representations, visions of technology, technologically mediated change in organisations and society (including issues of identity, power and surveillance), and the ethical dimensions of technology.

In the Lent term, students will also address the literature on the social construction of technology. Not only is technological development managed and subjected to processes of organising but it also has to be understood in relation to the influences of politics, culture and gender, risk and the management of risk in the context of technology, together with an exploration of future technological developments, are also key themes of of the module.