Introduction: The Centrality of Science and Technology

  • Ian Varcoe
  • Steven Yearley
Part of the Explorations in Sociology book series (EIS)


The claim that science and technology are now more centrally placed in society and culture is a difficult one to justify. In one sense, to comment in this manner is merely to draw attention to a development which is so obvious as not to require comment. Technological innovation, driven principally by profit-seeking, is a central feature of advanced industrial societies — not to speak of the constant drive to improve weaponry in a world of seemingly endlessly frozen super-power rivalry, if not outright conflict. So much is this so that drawing attention to its increasingly ramified and sophisticated nature is to state a condition of modern existence, and a thoroughly familiar feature of contemporary experience, rather than to suggest that current social change has distinctive features with determinate properties worth delineating as such. On the other hand, to make this second claim — as the editors of this collection wish to do — presents problems of definition of its own. Are the special features of recent changes in the position of science and technology in the advanced societies genuine? Can they be described apart from the indicators suggested by the papers in this volume? The subjects discussed here are indeed part of the change in the status of science and technology suggested, but the changes can, in part, be independently described.


Advanced Society Institutional Life Visual Display Terminal Advanced Industrial Society Rival Measure 
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Copyright information

© British Sociological Association 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Varcoe
  • Steven Yearley

There are no affiliations available

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