Culture and Technology: A Mutual-Shaping Approach
Thomas Herdin (University of Salzburg, Austria), Wolfgang Hofkirchner (University of Salzburg, Austria) and Ursula Maier-Rabler (University of Salzburg, Austria)
Copyright: © 2009
The aim of this chapter is to discuss the mutual influence between culture and technology on a broad inter- and transcultural level. Especially, how does information culture shape the meaning of information, communication, and knowledge, and consequently, the design, spread, and usage of ICTs in certain societies? Vice versa, we are interested in the ways in which the spread and usage of ICTs affect the predominating culture. We aim for a model that incorporates cultural as well as technological factors in order to provide a basis for future ICT research that goes beyond both technological determinism and social constructivism. We believe that new technologies indeed can contribute to more justice in the world in terms of access to knowledge and wealth, if sociocultural factors are taken into account more seriously. Current developments in the context of the UN World Summit on the Information Society raise awareness in this direction. At the same time, we are well aware that the loose notion and imprecise definition of the concept of culture allows for the exploitation of the term in empty political and techno-economical policies. Culture degenerates to an indispensable buzzword in the current ICT debate. This chapter is an attempt to introduce the concept of culture into the socioresponsible ICT research on equal terms with technology, economy, and society.