Karl Marx and the Three Faces of Technological Determinism

  title={Karl Marx and the Three Faces of Technological Determinism},
  author={Bruce Bimber},
  journal={Social Studies of Science},
  pages={333 - 351}
  • Bruce Bimber
  • Published 1 May 1990
  • Economics
  • Social Studies of Science
The literature on Marx reveals conflicting claims about the role of technology in social change. Much of the debate is attributable to confusion over what is meant by `technological determinism' (TD). There are several approaches to this concept: `Norm-Based Accounts' interpret TD as a chiefly cultural phenomenon; `Unintended Consequences Accounts' view it in terms of unexpected social outcomes of technological enterprise. Neither of these two approaches make claims which are strictly… 

Determining social change: The role of technological determinism in the collective action framing of hackers

The article compares the hopes invested by hackers in the emancipatory force of information technology with the earlier beliefs of labour movements that the forces of history were on their side, and argues that technological determinism does not always lead to political resignation, but can also serve as a foundation for collective action.

Material Culture and Technological Determinism

This dissertation has two results. First, I argue that each of the two basic components of technological determinism (TD)—what I call the inexorability thesis and the autonomy thesis—are plausible

A Concept ‘Vandalised': Seeing and Doing e-Planning in Practice

The article attempts to explain how there can be contestation and uncertainty over something that should be as ‘obvious' as e-planning. It tries to make sense of stakeholders' conflicting

Revisiting Friedrich Engels’s Dialectics of Nature in an Age of Digital Idealism

The idealism that Fredrich Engels seeks to defeat in Dialectics of Nature today pervades online discourse and pedagogies of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The deterministic

What Sort of Essence has Technology

The question concerning the essence of technology is still relevant in the philosophy of technology. In the contemporary debate, many constructivist philosophers and sociologists believe this concept

Autonomy's End

Despite their obvious limitations as explanatory concepts, `technological autonomy' and `determinism' have often been associated with nuclear power. This paper reviews the persistency of notions of

A Reflection on Philosophy of Technology and Technological Determinism

Philosophy of technology emerged as a discipline that mostly been concerned with the impact of technology on society and culture, rather than with technology. Only recently a branch of the philosophy

Capitalist Critique of Karl Marx on Surplus Value

Karl Marx (1818–1883) was an outstanding German philosopher of political economy. His disdain and displeasure for capitalism as an economic and political system logically stems from his claim that it

The Argument of Technologic Determinism and the Learning of Medium

McLuhan (1964) noted “medium is message” and medium is extension of human boy in his book < Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man>. This book supported an outstanding understanding of medium at



Marx and the Machine

As an aside in a discussion of the status of the concepts of economics, Karl Marx wrote "The handmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist."'

The Technological Interpretation of History

I. Marx's view of history is technological not economic. — II. The social process according to Marx, 75. — III. Technological changes, the class struggle and human adjustments to environment, 75. —

Marx as a Student of Technology

This paper will attempt to demonstrate that a major reason for the fruitfulness of Marx's framework for the analysis of social change was that Marx was, himself, a careful student of technology. By

Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence

First published in 1978, this book rapidly established itself as a classic of modern Marxism. In this expanded edition Cohen offers his own account of the history, and the further promise, of

The Handmill gives you the Feudal Lord Marx's Technological Determinism

Une defense de l'interpretation de la theorie de l'histoire de Marx comme une theorie de determinisme technologique. Les forces productrices de l'homme, le materialisme historique.