Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand-Year History. Arnold Pacey, Author MIT Press (MA) $30 (p) ISBN Origins of Modernity–the modern era. Arnold Pacey,. Technology in World Civilization,. (Cambridge, Mass.:MIT Press, ). Introduction: Historical Themes in. These were all examples of fine technologies that altered the world and eventually transformed the west completely. Survival technology is related to agriculture.

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Technolog Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Technology in World Civilization: Most general histories of technology are Eurocentrist, focusing on a main line of Western technology that stretches from the Greeks is through the computer.

In this very different book, Arnold Pacey takes a global view, placing the development of technology squarely in a “world civilization.

Paperbackpages. Published July 1st by Mit Press first published August To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Technology in World Civilizationplease sign up. See 1 question about Technology in World Civilization…. Lists with This Book. Dec 07, Mike Hankins rated it liked it Shelves: Histories of technology can im fall into a trap of trumpeting a steady, linear advance of new inventions as they spread across the globe.

Arnold Pacey avoids this generalization and takes great effort to avoid worrld Euro-centric approach. Technology in World Civilization instead emphasizes that technologies rarely transfer directly to other cultures in their original form.

Beginning in roughly the yearPacey examines iron smelting and firearms in China, the Mongol use of stirrups, and irrigation systems across the globe, emphasizing that various cultures used technology specifically designed for their local environmental and social conditions. This is evident in the various adaptations of the spinning wheel, which took different forms in different areas. Whether in textiles, gun manufacturing, or shipbuilding, the adoption of new technology almost always goes through a process: First, imitation of the new technology, and eventually adaptation to local conditions, combination ciilization known local practices, and innovation into new applications.

Use of Damascus Steel for gun barrels and Portuguese innovations in sail designs are examples of such localized innovations. Pacey also emphasizes that a culture must have structures in place that facilitate new technology in order for it to thrive. For example, many historians have viewed the Meiji Restoration in Japan as a case of direct transfer of Western technology.

Pacey instead argues that before the restoration, Japan had maintained interest in modern technology and was developing their own techniques.

Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand-Year History

Thus Japan, working with French sources, possessed their first operational steamship before the restoration took place. The presence of textile and agricultural systems in the country allowed it to industrialize rapidly. Technoloogy asserts that the advantage of the West was the result of three industrial movements.


The third movement centered on the availability of cheap labor in India. Pacey’s discussion of these movements is brief and in need of development. The book shines in its discussion of the inspiration for new technologies. While Pacey admits that material concerns and economics play a large factor in invention, he emphasizes that the visionary and spiritual aspects can be just as motivating.

The creation of clocks as symbols for cosmology and the study of flight based on optimistic dreams demonstrate that innovation can come from a visionary mind based on the desire to progress. This point is a welcome addition, although more emphasis on the history of science would greatly bolster his argument.

The book’s brevity is a continual problem. Pacey’s arguments are interesting, yet he spends far too little time developing technologj, and the result is a tiny book that is forced to leave out key moments in the history of technology, such as electricity or the space race. The book is also poorly wlrld, and would greatly benefit from introductory and concluding sections to contextualize and ease the flow of ideas not only for the work as a whole, but for individual chapters.

Overall, Pacey’s emphasis on local adaptation, his success in creating a truly world history as opposed to a West-centric oneand his concept of the global technological dialectic are welcome ideas that create a useful lens for viewing the history of world technology.

Although far too brief to be a definitive guide to the subject, the book serves as a solid introduction for further research.

Aug 31, Michael Scott added it. It points out that he had an unhealthy interest in scatological jokes, demeaned women in Cosi fan tutte, black men in Die Techology and poor peasants in Don Giovanni. He garnered praise and glory in Vienna w http: He exploited the underpaid talents of performing musicians, copyists, and a host of other menials to realize his work paceu put it before the wealthy public.

He curried the favor of a decadent hereditary nobility in a crumbling and oppressive empire. Furthermore, he borrowed a lot of his themes from folk-music without acknowledgment. To think of him as a singular genius, then, is obviously wrongheaded, since practically anyone can whistle or hum a tune and even improvise on it without depending on his examples.

He is cited shamelessly by the reigning elite as a prime example of western cultural superiority in an attempt to intimidate the masses and to justify the continuing hegemony of capitalist high culture.

Mutatis mutandis, the British historian of science Patricia Fara has written a book that treats its own vast subject — science and the history of its development — in a similarly contemptuous and condescending way.


It is outlandishly Pecksniffian in tone and substance. She has an appallingly cavalier attitude toward evidence and documentation.

Arnold Pacey, Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand-Year History – PhilPapers

She argues by means of flat assertion and unsupported generalization, sins, one assumes, she would never let her callowest undergraduates get away with. When I read a book, however closely, my marginal notations are usually brief and infrequent. Not so in the case of Science: Here I group the conceptual defects wlrld. Jan 01, Vadim rated it liked it.

A succinct overview of the spread and development of technology in the world starting roughly in the A. The book is focused mainly on the technological dialogue between different cultures and adaptation of foreign technology to local needs.

This shows in the different treatment of clocks and attention to the details of produced mechanisms. Jun 09, Nuria rated it liked it. Jan 20, Sara rated it it was ok. This book is a failed attempt at pluralism in the history of technology.

Despite its best efforts it remains Eurocentric and betrays the author’s deep-seated gender bias. Judy Lujan rated it it was amazing Jul 08, Leni Sorensen rated it liked it Mar 22, Angie rated it liked it Civilizatkon 17, Sarah rated it it was ok May 08, Jasper Mcchesney rated it really liked it Jul 20, Jessica Bowman flanders rated it liked it Aug 07, David Czuba rated civilizahion really liked it Jul 03, Kawana rated it liked it Dec ij, Shawn rated it really liked it Mar 04, Melissa rated it liked it Aug 24, Saurabh rated it it was amazing Mar 24, Jayne Tristan rated it really liked it Aug 07, Tiffany rated it liked it Jul 01, Willcaban rated it really liked it Aug 23, David rated it really liked it Jan 19, Olivia Griffin rated it really liked it Jan 02, Jimmy civilisation it it was ok Jan 02, Gracezhang rated it really liked it Apr 13, Jaime rated it really liked it Nov 10, Tamler rated it liked it May 06, Messiah rated it liked it May 10, Alper Coplugil rated it really liked it Aug 01, Sean Mccrossin rated it really liked it Dec 22, Jana Lee rated it it was ok Feb 28, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

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