The Control Revolution is a book by James Beniger that explains the origins of the information society in part from the need to manage and control the. The Control Revolution. Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society. James R. Beniger. Harvard University Press. Cambridge. Book Reviews: The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society James R. Beniger Publisher: Harvard University Press.
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The Control Revolution — James R. Beniger | Harvard University Press
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Return to Book Page. Why do we find ourselves living in behiger Information Society? How did the collection, processing and communication of information come to play an increasingly important role in advanced industrial countries relative to the roles of matter and energy?
Is this change recent–or not? Beniger traces the origin of the Information Society to major economic and business crises of th Why do we find ourselves living in an Information Society?
Beniger revollution the origin of the Information Society to major economic and business crises of the past century. In the USA, applications of steam power in the early s brought a dramatic rise in the speed, volume and complexity of industrial processes, making them difficult to control.
The Control Revolution
Inevitably the Industrial Revolution, with its ballooning use of energy to drive material processes, required a corresponding growth in the exploitation of information: Beniger shows that more recent developments in microprocessors, computers and telecommunications are only a smooth continuation of this Control Revolution.
Along the way he touches on many fascinating topics: The book is impressive not only for the breadth of its scholarship but also for the subtle force of its argument. It will be welcomed by sociologists, economists and historians of science and technology. Paperbackpages. Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society.
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Lists with This Book. Jan 27, Seneda rated it it was amazing. I think I was in dire need for a book like revollution, seeing how much it helped me in the understanding of certain ideas. I would consider it more as a tool for learning and research than an “absolute” thesis of any kind. A very well founded and “clear” jamfs to a certain extent — demonstration of how material systems –human or “non human”– get to such complex stages of structural organization to sustain information processing.
Beniger — The Control Revolution
Now my secret adoration for the postal and library systems can finally fee I think I was in dire need for a book like this, seeing how much it helped me in the understanding of certain ideas. Now my secret adoration for the postal and library systems can finally feel historically justified. Oct 12, Revoluton Inman rated it really liked it. When did the transfer of information come to replace material goods? Why did the Information Society seemingly occur so rapidly?
How may we come to understand the past so that we may shape the future? These are some of the questions Beniger attempts to answer in his th history of the emergence of the Information Society. His story begins in the mids t When did the transfer of information come to replace material goods? His story begins in the mids though he takes us back to the beginning of the universe to the present.
In the first reolution of the book, Beniger takes us on a journey through societal transformations in control. He proposes two methods for controlling large social systems: He illustrates that by responding to the increasing need for eevolution in production, distribution and consumption, technological change is whittled by feedback and information processing. He shows that information processing, communication and control are ancient functions that exist benigger even the simplest living system; however, they did not surface as a concept until the rise of the Information Society.
He shows that the answers to our questions concerning information society lie in physical existence, and that bureaucracy, and thus Technology, is a product of society, which is tje product of our very emergence from inorganic dust.
In Chapter 3 Beniger will trace our evolution from inorganic dust to technological societies, and show that social existence is controlled existence. It is here he expands his concept of control to look into all social structures.
He defines three problems for control: He uses the example of traffic control again to show how meaning is programmed into social interaction. He shows us that the most perfect and efficient programming still resides in genetic programming.
He does remind us here of his original question, which is why and how this came to be. He gives sprawling, detailed accounts of innovations such as the steam engine, the railroad, and the telegraph and postal systems, yet he largely brushes past the printing press. He also makes barely any mention of religion. I was surprised to find this almost entirely left out of his discussion on tradition to rationality.
Beniger is hard to follow at times as he does not do a very clean job of organizing his arguments. The journey would have been much more enjoyable if he had given us better signposts to alert us to his arguments. But all in all, Beniger provides a new perspective countering much of the pessimistic, doomsday views people espouse when it comes to technological change. His suggestions are that technology is a part of the progression of nature, of which we are a part. He unveils the irony of our labeling technology as dehumanizing when it appears to be more human than not.
In fact, he shows us how we came to understand nature better through the rapid effects of our own technological creations. He even describes technology as a natural extension of man, extending functions such as respiration or memory. Aug 11, Peter rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a history of the technologies and techniques of controlling industrial processes.
Beniger exhaustively surveys the industrial landscape, from materials processing to production to transport to distribution, digging up every kind of feedback mechanism from thermostats to cereal box-top contests and placing it in the context of an ongoing narrative of broadening and deepening control capacities.
These control mechanisms both relied upon This is a history of the technologies and techniques of controlling industrial processes. These control mechanisms both relied upon and were necessitated by the explosive growth in the speed of movements and the mass of productivity unleashed by the Industrial Revolution.
It really comes into its own — and develops a class of specialists in control and feedback mechanisms i. Two things also seemed to be missing. First, the rest of the world- this is a very America-centric story.
It would make sense if the US was the center of the Control Revolution, but it would be good to get more of an explanation as to why. That might complicate the picture of a self-organized informational society some, and I guess Beniger prefered to stick with his vision. Either way, an interesting dive into some of the undergirdings of modern society.
Aug 04, John rated it it was amazing Shelves: Read it once and it changed the arc of my thinking and my professional career. In short, the information revolution capital I, capital R started long before we made it electronic.
In fact Beniger would have it that the information had to accompany the industrial revolution for industrial tools made organizations more capable or powerful. Yet, absent sufficient information, adequately structured and delivered, those organizations would not have been able to control that new capability and power Read it once and it changed the arc of my thinking and my professional career.
Yet, absent sufficient information, adequately structured and delivered, those organizations would not have been able to control that new capability and power. What information was Beniger referring to pre-electronic? The more startling insights or new perspectives for me were schedules and insurance.
A practical example of a schedule and its importance in using new organizational capability were train schedules that enabled them to function first without running into one another and second, offering that capability to potential customers. I’ve so integrated what Beniger taught me that I’m no longer sure where his thinking ends and mine starts. But if we think of information and uncertainty as complements and if we think of insurance as reducing uncertainty, then insurance is a form of information.
Made the mistake of lending it enthusiastically to a colleague. When will I learn?
I should have bought tge his own copy as I would not have lost my extensive margin notes. Bought a second copy and marked it up too. Lost that one in a fire along with home and office. Bought a third copy. Now does that tell you anything? Dec 21, Emily rated it it was amazing. This book came at the right time and changed my thinking about so many things.
I read it in the midst of a reading binge when I was obsessed with science revolugion, cyborgs, robots, opera and E. Somehow this book seemed to answer so many of the questions that were driving my other reading. Beniger’s book is really a study of systems – systems of production and control and the cycle that forces progress. His case studies are fascinating – he makes Quaker Oats seem exotic, and the orig This book came at the right time and changed my thinking about so many things.
His case studies are fascinating – he makes Quaker Oats seem exotic, and the origins of WalMart store layout seem Freudian. Perhaps WalMart store layout DOES seem Freudian even now, but this book unmasks modernity and uncovers the roots of everyday life, and in the process makes the familiar seem foreign and the natural seem contrived.
The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society
Dec 18, Kasper rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Information technology is a combination of computing and communication, both of which have occured to information technology in the latter half of the 19th century. Its role was to fill the gap between availability of numerous technological possibilities which have occurred by the industrial revolution that had taken place a century ago and the immature social infrastructure that blocked their realization.
Communication and computation technologies had grown separately until digital computers em Information technology is a combination of computing and communication, both of which have occured to information technology in the latter half of the 19th century.