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Sociology of Technology Essays

LECTURE’S NOTES FOR SOCIOLOGY OF TECHNOLOGY By: Okai M. Aryee, Ph. D. For: Ghana Telecom University College Department: Informatics Date: January 2011 Okai Aryee, Ph. D. SOCIOLOGY OF TECHNOLOGY (also known as Social Construction of Technology-SCOT) Lesson Plan – First and Second Meetings Introduction- Much of this information in this course can be found on the Internet.
This course attempts to address the social problems that confront Ghana today with emphasis placed on Ghana’s socio-cultural and technological developments. It involves comparing societies who base their decisions on unreliable information and superstition with those societies who use methods based on critical thinking, creativity and problem solving skills. This course also attempts to assist future graduates of GTCU to develop for Ghana a broad understanding of the world of technology with regard to solving Africa’s Pan African social problems through social construction.
Define Sociology- a scientific study of collective human thought and behavior. Examples are, that field involving the social study of the family is called the Sociology of the Family. That field involving the social study of education is called the Sociology of Education. This course primarily involves the social study of technology as it relates to thought and behavior that precedes technological innovation. Thus, this course is called the Sociology of Technology. also known as Social Construction of Technology) Define Technology-reliable knowledge usually acquire through critical thinking and scientific research that is used to develop methods and devices in order to gain more control of the environment. Define Society- a group of people who interact, usually living in the same area and share the same social institutions. Overall objectives for the course
At the completion of this course students should be able to understand that there is a need for a paradigm shift in the way that Africans think about technology as well the necessity to develop technology rather than to continue being dependent of foreigners for our technological survival. Topics of Discussion I. Thinking and the Social Influences on the Perception of Reality/Illusions II. Thinking and the Difference Between Knowledge and Beliefs III. Natural and Social Construction and Their Evolution IV. Society`s Influence on Technology and visa versa V.
Scientific Sociology – Problem Solving Format Mid Term VI. The Pre Historic African-The Old African-The New African VII. Problem Solving- Left Brain/Right Brain VIII. Social Change and Social Movement IX. Social Theory/Theorists X. Pan Africanism Overall questions for the course 1) If Ghana is to move forward, how do we go about gaining reliable information rather than information based on untruths, fallacies and superstitions? 2) What is the role of society (Ghana) in the development of technology? (3) What is the role of technology in the development of society (Ghana)? 4) What are some of Ghana’s social problems-nationally? (5) What are some of Ghana’s social problems-internationally? (6) What can we do to identify, address and solve these social problems using a format to acquire reliable information? Specific Questions- Knowledge 1. How do you know? How do I know? How do we know? 2. Do you know how? Do I know how? Do we know how? Disseminate Questionnaires Questionnaires are given to the students to demonstrate some activities that a social scientist may perform to gain reliable information about a given sample population.
Some questions may be discussed so that students may understand the difference between developing knowledge based on intuition, common sense assumptions and those on the more reliable scientific research investigation. I. Questions posed to the class: Faulty Thinking Patterns A. natural illusions Does the sun shine at night? (2) Does the sun shine when its raining? (3) Does the moon shine in day? (4) Do we see the sun moving? (5)If the sun does not move, why then do people say, “sun up” and “sun down”?
What about the stars in the sky, is what we see actually there? (6) Is what we think we see, hear or touch about nature environment always interpreted correctly? (7) Can any of us not be fooled? Can all of us be fooled? `Things are not always what they seem. ` www. youtube. com/watch? V=7NQUqR_YpsA B. social illusions (1) Can magicians make things disappear? (2) Is it possible that you may see or hear things that are not there in reality? (3) Can faith-healers change the health of a person by touching them and praying for them? 4) Do faith-healers use ‘plants’ in their presentation, that is, someone who is ‘planted’ in the audience to appears to be independent from the faith-healer, but actually is a planned participant in the presentation? (5) Is what we think we see, hear or touch about our social environment always interpreted correctly? www. innovation-report. com/htm/reports/life_science/report-74560. html Is there a difference between ‘reality’ and our ‘perception of reality’? Can a society influence what we perceive is real, and that perception of reality is based on an illusion?
Reality- that which is actually exist, rather than that which appears to exist or may be thought to exist. Illusion – that which appears to exist, rather than that which actually exist or may be thought to exist. C. Binary Thinking ‘binary thinking’-a way of thinking that contents that things have opposites. The opposite of right is wrong; of good is bad; of dark is light; of pain is pleasure. “The opposite of God is the devil. ” “Either you are a good person or a bad person. ” “Either you believe in the right religion or the wrong religion. ” Not all things have opposites.
The opposite of the sun is not the moon. The sun has no opposite. The opposite of hot is not cold. There is no opposite of hot. What we perceive as cold is actually the effects of losing heat. – natural illusions. This thinking may be referred to as an erroneous cultural assumption. Conclusion Are we born with accurate information about all that is real, or do we learn information from others? If what we learn to think is real from others, is it possible that some things we have learned may not be real? How do we know that what we have learned is accurate or just myths?
If what we learned are myths, do we continue to teach these myths to our children as real? Initially, much of what we thought we knew as humans was erroneous cultural assumptions. Most societies have evolved from superstitious-based societies to societies based on reliable information. If not evolving through change, some societies are depended on people who based their thinking on reliable information. Societies which are traditional and superstitious-based will depend on less traditional and science-based societies for their technology. This is occurring in Africa. II. Epistemology Its not so much of what we don’t know that’s holding us back as it is with we do know that just isn`t so. ” A fundamental difference between traditional societies (as in Africa) and less traditional societies (as in the West) is how they constitute what is considered knowledge. Epistemology may be defined as, a branch of philosophy that concerns the nature and the scope of knowledge. It analyzes the nature of knowledge and how it relates to truth, beliefs and justification. Knowledge may be divided into (1) knowledge that explains (theory) and (2) knowledge that shows how (practical).
Traditional societies tend to be more superstitious than less traditional societies, that is, they tend to readily accept superstition and unreliable information as knowledge more so than less traditional societies. They also have a tendency to find it difficult to distinguish between that what is considered to be beliefs and that what is considered to be knowledge. Many people find it difficult to understand that because they strongly believe in something does not make it knowledge. Knowledge generally has evidence to support its existence. Beliefs generally are not supported by evidence, only emotion.
Knowledge – that information, skill and understanding gained through formal learning or experience. Belief – that feeling that something is true or possible. Important questions used by critical thinkers: How do you know what you think you know is accurate? What is the basis of your knowledge? Is this information confirmed and reliable? When one gains knowledge from his own experience, we may say, ‘I know that this is true because I experienced it, or I have evidence. When knowledge is gained from someone or another source, it should be stated, ‘according to that person or that source, this is true’.
According to, simply implies that the knowledge stated is not owned by the one who is stating that knowledge. Examples, if one should ask, ‘How do you know, one should state, according to the Koran, according to the Bible, according to that person, that is true. “How do you know that God loves us? According to this sacred book, God loves us. ” Then ask yourself; `If there is a God, do I really know that God love us? Our society says that God loves us. But we really don`t know. There is a difference between what we believe and what we know. A. Knowledge is based on at least three types of thinking or truths:
Intuition- strong emotional feeling about a topic that compels a person to feel he/she is correct. Common sense truth – an agreed perspective of a topic and issues which are most common. Critical thinking-a rational approach to thinking that involve objective reasoning and questioning. Examples Intuitive knowledge. “I know this is the person for me to marry no matter what you say because I feel it. ” Common knowledge. “I and everyone else knows that the sun does not shine at night because I don’t see it shinning. ” Critical thinking knowledge. I know this is true because after 100 times, the results are the same. ” In a traditional society most people accept what is traditional because it may be considered common sense to do so. Until what is considered common sense is questioned, that what is considered to be ‘knowledge’ may only be an erroneous assumption. “All that is popular may not be right. All that is right may not be popular. ” No one is born on this planet with any beliefs or knowledge about the world in which they live. However, some say that infants are born with knowledge of the ability to eat, to cry, to suck and to eliminate waste.
They refer to this knowledge as innate knowledge, which is naturally constructed and is manifested through the DNA. We will not be concerned with this view of knowledge. We will discuss that knowledge acquired after birth. Much of our knowledge is acquired by interacting with others. We call this socially constructed knowledge. People have a need to talk and share ideas in order to interpret, understand and appreciate reality. Some of these ideas regarding reality have been found to be accurate, which is the basis for what we know as knowledge. Other ideas have not been found to have the same accuracy or reliability in their interpretation.
We consider this information as belief. Differentiating between the two is vital. This is the process by which societies are organized, developed and evolved. Humans have as a function to interpret and construct a perception of reality based on reliable information. If the interpretation or construction of reality is inaccurate then society will not develop or it may develop in a direction based on superstition. Hence, it is vital that humans develop an information system of reliability in their societies that will allow them to develop and evolve to more efficiently meet the needs of its people.
B. Techniques to Acquire knowledge One of the most important techniques that humans have developed to do in order to obtain reliable information is to ask questions regarding the information they receive. Asking questions about the environment will allow people to know what they do not know. If no questions are asked then no one will know what they do not know. One such question which is seldom asked in a traditional society is that regarding religion and prayer. This is one area that questions should be asked in order for society to construct reliable information for its members.
It is popular to hear many testimonies from people from various religious backgrounds swearing that there is power in prayer. People for whom you have a great deal of respect have shared with you their experiences regarding the results of prayer. Seldom, if at all, do we ask questions to them or to ourselves about an objective interpretation of their experience in that testimony. Is it possible that when questioned, by using critical thinking skills, many of these ‘spiritual testimonies’ are found to be based on misinterpretations of those experiences?
These testimonies should be questioned logically in a specific logical manner. C. The Evolution of Technology and Its Techniques Low Tech – Pre Historic Societies Some of the oldest skeleton remains of human beings were found in Ethiopia, in 1974 by an archeologist known as Donald C. Johanson. He name the skeleton `Lucy`. The dating of the skull goes back 3 million years. Just as their is evolution of human beings, to where we are today, there is also the evolution of technology. Humans needed to use tools to conquer their environment.
The initially, through trial and error, they discovered and controlled fire, used sticks from trees, bones from animals and anything else they could to tools and weapons. Though much of their discussion at campsites were probably myths and storytelling, some of the information discussed was reliable. After thousands of years reliable information lead to more and efficient tools. Stone Age – that time period from about three million years ago where stone tools were discovered in Gona, Ethiopia and spread elsewhere soon thereafter.
It is the first stage of a three- stage system of technology evolution. This stage has been divided into three smaller categories: Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. It ends with the development of agriculture and the domestication of certain animals and the smelting of copper ore to produce metal. Stone Age technology is known as lithic technology. Bronze Age – that time period dating back to about the fourth millennium where bronze was the metal used as a tool. Bronze is a combination of copper and tin ore. It is the second stage of a three-age system of prehistoric societies.
It has been found that sub Sarharan Africa generally skipped this stage and went from the stone age to the iron age. Iron Age – that time period dating back to the second millennium where iron was the dominate metal used in a pre historic society. It is the third stage of the three-stage system of prehistoric societies innovation. Some have stated that the smelting process of making iron came to Africa as a result of cultural diffusion from Egypt (Kemet). D. Traditional Technique and Western Technique of Gaining Knowledge Students are requested to research The Age of Enlightenment from Google.
This is the time period in 18th century where many historians feel that Europeans began to analyze religion and rational thinking in human affairs. They developed a paradigm shift in European philosophy and values concerning their understanding laws of the physical world and religion. The American Declaration of Independence and Constitution are products of that thinking. Compare their thinking with contemporary traditional thinking of Africans. An example of the differences between the thinking coming from the West and that thinking that is considered traditional is syllogism.
An event can be viewed in a completely different way depending on their different perception of reality. Syllogism – that three part statement of logic which includes a major premise, minor premise and a conclusion of proof. Often we must accept the three aspects of an argument before we accept an argument to be logically sound. Example; major premise-All people will live and eventually die. (accept or reject? ) minor premise -We are people. (accept or reject?? ) conclusion-We will all live and eventually die. (accept or reject?? )
Syllogistic situation – an event that is divided into three stages which includes an introduction, a explanation of persuasion and a conclusion. Example; major premise-This is a new product to make you attractive. (??? ) minor premise- You want to be attractive. (??? ) conclusion-Then this new product is for you. (??? ) III . Society and the Functions of Technology Societies have created, used and developed technology even during pre-historic times. As empires rose and fell, one could easily see the role and technology in engineering and weaponry.
The ultimate conquering of Africans and other indigenous people throughout the world have been influence by Western European technology. It has been reported that during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, Christian missionaries have used devices of technology for the intended purpose to exploit the indigenous people of Africa. The same strategy of exploitation was used against other indigenous people from Australia, North and South America and other places on the globe. They initially would explore the land, send in their fighters and control the land. These logical tactics were brutal and yet simplistic.
In the Americas some indigenous people, like the Arawak, were exterminated. After gaining control of the land, the next step was to reconstruct the societies by introducing the religion of Christianity and the language of the invaders. They used the technology to persuade Africans to become Christians. An example of this situation is the technology of gun powder. The missionaries would tell the Africans that the powder the held was devised as a result of their religion. They would explain the power of the potion and say a prayer asking the creator for assistance in a demonstration.
Then they would throw the gun power into the fire and an explosion would occur. The missionaries would ask if any African gods in which they believed had such power. The conclusion that the missionaries would logically reach is that the Africans would become Christians if they were impressed by the technology. Hence, they believed that Africans would be willing to reconstruct a new society based on the Western European belief system. These invaders were successful in changing the traditional philosophy of the African social structure. These Western European nations were known as colonial masters.
Some directly controlled the African population by being there, while others exercise control from outside. This meant that some Africans assisted the colonial invaders in the control of the African population. While governing the African society, the colonial masters enhanced their wealth by taking human and natural resources from Africa. They developed a stratified society where the invaders were at the top, and the privileged Africans who assist them were next and the rest. As a result, significant social change occurred in the make-up in African societies.
The colonizers influenced change in African beliefs systems, a new philosophical change in their society occurred as it relate to culture. One of the most important changes was the acceptance of a new religion. The Christian missionary helped in the development of missionary school and the introduction of the Bible as a source of spiritual/moral guidance. Thus, an alteration of African society and culture was born and still exist today. The vast majority of students here in GTUC are Christians and few realize how Christianity was brought to Ghana.
The same holds true for Islam. With a slightly different strategy, the northern parts of Africa were socially constructed by Muslims who introduced the Koran. One should question the source of knowledge, especially if that knowledge has origins outside one’s society. Epistemologically speaking, knowledge is a social construction which means it has been gathered by society. The vast amount of knowledge of the universe has yet to be learned. Thus, we will never know much of what lies ahead for humans to construct. That is, we do not yet know all the things we do not know. He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Disregard him. He who knows not and knows that he knows not is simple. Teach him. He who knows not and believes that he knows is dangerous. Avoid him He who knows not and cares not that he knows not is a dangerous fool. Disregard and avoid him. He who knows and knows that he knows is wise. Follow him. ” Adaptation of an Ancient Egyptian Proverb There are thousands of cases where people from traditional African societies suffer from the suggested solutions of a fetish priest.
People believe in their fetish knowledge and powers such that they give them anything and everything they can to solve their problems. An example is the Trokosi priest (google) from the Volta region who asked their ‘clients’ to give up their daughters as payment for their parent’s debt. In East Africa people hunt down and kill albino Africans (those who do not have dark melanin pigment)and give their remains to the fetish priest who gives them power of prosperity. Throughout Africa this type of superstitious behavior is common.
One should ask, are these traditions based on critical thinking and reliable information? Assumption – statements that one feels is true but has not basis in fact. Fallacy- that false idea or belief that something is true because most people feel its true. Evidence – reliable information, proof or facts that show that something exist or is true. Conjure – to perform clever tricks where things appear to, disappear or change by magic. Independent Confirmation – An unbiased statement or document that states that something is definitely true.
Confidence trick- a dishonest trick played on a person(s) after they have entrusted the person to whom they have given money or other forms of person gifts. “Planted person” – a person who is portrayed to be unbiased and independent and from a presentation, but in fact, is assisting the presenter in convincing the audience. D. Causality Causality- the relationship between a cause and the effects it has on something. Coincidental – two events occurring at the same time which are not related. Cause and effect relationship – when a change in one situation has caused a direct change in another.
Causative factor – that which cause something to happen. An Effect – that which is the direct results or consequence of a cause. Correlation- when a change in one situation has caused changes in two or more situations together. Luck- events that happen by chance. If the chance is favorable it is good luck. If it is unfavorable it is bad luck. (Has God blessed you or do you have good luck? ) Important Question: Is there a direct relationship between what you are doing (cause) and what has happened as a result of what you are doing (effect)?
In order to find out we must experiment to avoid coincidence. If you are aware that there is a direct relationship between what you are doing (cause) and what you want to happen (effect) (symptoms) (indicators)then you should have more control of that situation. The decisions you make in most any situation will be made with an understanding or lack of understanding of the cause and effect relationship. Controlling the cause usually means influencing or controlling the effects. Success and failure are built on understanding the principles of critical thinking regarding the cause and the effect relationship.
Understanding the cause and effect relationship implies that there is evidence or proof that there is a relationship between what you are doing (cause) and what you want to happen (effect). If each time you do something and get the same result, then this is proof that there is a cause and effect relationship. Some attribute superstition as the source of their good luck. Superstition may be defined as the belief that objects or events are lucky or unlucky and that these objects have a lucky or unlucky influence on future happenings.
Without any research superstitious people believe that objects are the causative factor that has effects on their life. If there is no relationship between what one is doing and what one wants to happen (like sacrificing an animal to grow the crops) but one believes that there is a relationship, then that person is considered to be superstitious. That is to say, if you have no proof that what you are doing(cause) is giving you the result that you want (effect) and you continue this behavior without getting that desired results-then you are superstitious.
Many societies make decisions based on superstition. If you are having exams, and you pray that the instructor asks the questions that you know the answers, you are superstitious. You should compare the results of those students who study and those who only pray and see the difference. The effect is the high score; the causative factor is the study. If you are superstitious then you are vulnerable to believe anything without proof, and may do anything because of that belief. Discuss a fetish priest who sacrifices an animal so that the crops may grow.
There is a theory that states that societies develop or evolve depending on how well they understand their environment. We refer to this as socio-cultural evolution. Socio-cultural evolution is directly related to a society’s understanding of the cause and effect relationship. Is there a relationship between the sacrificing of the animal and growing of the crops? Is the perception of what god wants related to sacrifice? Why should an animal needlessly die for a human problem? Using reliable knowledge gained through trial and error and experimentation should assist in producing a successful harvest.
Does prayer help in the growing of the crops? If the crops grow when one prays, is prayer a causative factor or coincidental? For those who are untrained, it is not easy to identify the cause and effect relationship in common problems. Many merely state the God is the cause, if the result is good, and the devil is the cause if the result is bad. This is a superstitious method of thinking. It takes training in critical thinking to reach a real cause. Some refer to this process as ‘diagnosing the problem’. Usually the thinking skills of analyzing, defining, comparing, etc. are usually reserved for the highly formally educated members of society. Physicians, nurses, lawyers and judges use these thinking skills in their profession. They are problem solvers. They have become more secular in their thinking. They do not use prayer as the first method of attacking problems, if at all. They are trained to ask questions. They rely on using reasoning and proper questioning guidelines to acquire reliable information when making decisions. They gain that reliable information by asking questions like ‘what are the effects of the problem? ’(what’s wrong? ) ‘How long have these effects been recognizable? ‘What do you think is the cause of those effects? ’ ‘What evidence do you have to support that contention of the cause? ’ This information should not be based on assumptions or conjectures but, if possible, on confirmed facts. Is it possible that when we ask questions we may find that what we thought we knew “just isn’t so. ” If this is so, then do we exhibit a ‘cultural mind-set’ and close our minds to the acceptance of reliable information or do we change because of new information? Reciprocal Society/Technology Influences Society has influence on its technology. Technology has influence on society
The Role of Society leading in the Development of Technology Societies serve many functions for its members. From birth to death society shapes its members giving them an identity, ways in which they view reality, values and a way of making a living. There are some societies who have developed the philosophy of encouraging the creating new innovations to develop society as each new achievement creates new jobs. Many societies have developed social institutions, like universities and ‘think tanks’, to constantly develop theoretical and practical skills in all fields of inquiry to improve society.
They give direction to how, when, where, for whom, technology is developed and used. This is the source of technology development. It is also the first stage of the relationship between society and technology. This is the social construction of technology. Technological achievements do not readily manifest itself without the understanding of the cause and effect relationship in events and the understanding of the natural and social environment. There is a need for a technological infrastructure which will facilitate technological changes in society.
Society needs roads and bridges for cars, antenna and cables for telephones, electric generators for electric energy usage, etc. There is a social infrastructure that allows for social change. In this first stage inventors, scientists and others usually demonstrate the worth and practicality of creativity and innovation. Socially, they must value, understand and master critical thinking and problem skills. It is usually required by society that new innovations be registered and copy-right so that no others may take credit.
Other members of society must be made aware of the innovation so that it may be used by those who need it. These actions are the social role that the society plays in the development of technology. These societies know that if they want desirable results (effects) to occur then they must first understand the causes that bring about those effects-based on reliable information. And they know that if they want to avoid undesirable effects then it must first understand the causes that bring about those undesirable effects- based on reliable information.
This method is usually performed by the most advanced societies in the world. The Role of Technology leading to the Development of Society. In the second stage, new technologies have been developed and put in place to serve society, then it is usually followed by both planned and unplanned effects on that society. This is the second stage of the relationship between technology and society. This emphasis is placed on technology and not the society. The emphasis is focused on the effects that technology has on the society. Usually the demographics of the society changes, i. e. , the population is gradually changed.
The economy is often affected when more jobs are available, which influences people moving to that job, which affects the community that has been abandoned and that where people now relocate. The term demographic transition involves the effects of new technology has on a given population. Some use the term ‘technological determinism’ which is the belief that technological development is the determining force that moves society in a specific direction. Technology is usually developed for the purpose of affecting the quality of life for its members. Completing task should be easier, more efficient or cheaper than before its development.
There should be more options available to completing tasks or lives made healthier than before the acquisition of the new technology. One can measure the quality of life in a society by it technological achievements. The United Nations has developed a formula known as the Human Development Index (HDI) for such global social measurements. An important principle should be considered in order to understand society. That is, a solution can be best achieved by first understanding cause and effect of a problem, and then consider the application of the appropriate technology (reliable information) for that solution.
If a society seeks to find a solution primarily through prayer, then they most likely do not understand the cause and effect relationship. If they lack this skill and desire to use technological advances, then they must continue to acquire these advances from foreign society. Slowly evolving societies generally do not use the critical thinking skills in solving their problems. Those superstitious societies will forever be depended on others for their technology. This is the situation that Ghanaians and other African nations find themselves-superstitious and dependent.
The study of a society’s resistance to change in their superstitious beliefs, on one hand, but acceptance to technological changes from foreigners, on the other hand, is cause for this course, the Sociology of Technology. There are societies where people do not accept or know the principle of cause and effect relationship. Many of them state that the cause and effect relationship does not exist in the spiritual world. They believe that things just happened, or that god is the source of all activities. While they hold to superstition, foreigners are continuing exploiting them for their lack of social evolution in their thinking.
They have not yet embraced a new way of interpreting their environment. These societies are considered poor in compared to other societies. They do not realize the relationship between their mode of thinking and their poverty. Poverty is related to disease; disease is eradicated through the understanding of cause and effect. These societies tend to lack a complete understanding of the natural and social environments. There are societies where people do accept the principle of cause and effect relationship. They apply this principle both in the understanding the laws of the physical world and the social world.
They have been socialized to understand that there is a reason for everything, and god is not the source of all the problems that happens. It is not that socially evolved societies do not believe in god, but that they believe god does not function as to intervene in the lives of individuals. Their educational system has been designed to teach primary and secondary school students’ basic critical thinking skills and scientific principles. The curriculum requires that students use the scientific method of inquiry as they compete in science fairs with other students. They compete on local levels, state levels and a national level.
As a result, these societies tend to become more skillful in critical thinking and less superstitious and less accepting of unreliable information. “ If a society wants desirable effects to occur, it must first understand the causes of those desirable effects-based on reliable information If a society wants to avoid undesirable effects, it must first understand the causes of those undesirable effects-based on reliable information. ” Third and Fourth Meetings There is a reality that exists without interpretation.
There is a perceived reality that has been interpreted and constructed by human. IV. Natural and Social Construction of Reality To most scientists, the planet Earth was constructed in a matter that appears to be organized, functional and relatively stable. The planet appears to have structure and systems. Energy is a vital component in the structure of the planet. Energy may be defined as the ability to do work. From energy work is done. It allows things to be moved. It is a natural construction. It was here before the arrival of human beings. When there is no interpretation of natural construction it is considered reality.
When there is an interpretation of these actions, this is considered a social construction and a perception of reality. Our society shapes us, through our cultures, on how we think and feel about the world? (socialization) We, in turn, shape the next generations the ways in which we were shaped. This will continue forever, unless people decide that there is need for change in how they are shaped. (socialized) Those that accept society as it stands and refuse change are called social conservatives. Those who become significantly different then the average person in that society are called social deviants.
They perceive things in a way that may cause the average person to avoid them. Few people enjoy being social deviants. This is the price some people pay in order to change tradition. Those who desire to maintain tradition and those who desire to change tradition have different realities. They may think, feel and behave different about the same topic. In traditional societies change is especially difficult because of the deep respect that is given for tradition and to their elders. Asking the question, “How do you know? ” to elders is simply out of the question.
It is also especially difficult to develop critical thinking skills without asking questions about creditability. This questioning may be offensive to the elders. The traditional way for some societies to attempt to solve their problems come from a passive reality. They pray to god and hope that he/she/it will intervene. They have been taught no other technique. That is, they have no choice. However, there also exists an aggressive reality. This reality involves asking critically questions in solving problems. Example: With the continued increase of cars in the city, has this become a problem with cars?
Do we pray for god’s intervention? Do we address this as a problem to be solved by us? How have other societies addressed this problem? Does the source of the problem involve the cars or the people? How we solve problems reflect or perception of reality. At this point human have socially constructed ways of viewing reality: natural and social. Some content that there is a spiritual reality. That aspect of human nature has yet to be accepted as a serious point of view by empiricalists, and thus, will not be included in this study of society and technology. . atural reality-involves topics that concern the four states of matter: solid, liquid, gas and plasma. It concerns areas in the universe as large as galaxies and as small as sub-atomic particles. These areas are explored, researched, experimented and explained by scientists in the ‘hard’ sciences. They are divided into two groups: (1)non-human physical and (2) human physical. social reality- involves topics that concern human thought and behavior. Scientists who study human social reality on an individual level are called psychologist.
Those who study human social reality on a group level are called sociologists. This area is often referred to as the ‘soft’ sciences. The social problems of the world can be traced to ‘human nature’. Thus, the solutions to those social problems are found in addressing the understanding of human nature. Natural Construction of reality Social Construction of reality ____________________________________________________________________________________ Definition that part of our environment before human influence that part after human influence ___________________________________________________________________________________ Examples sun; air; water; land; life (DNA), trees, etc; chairs, language; books, religion _____________________________________________________________________________________ Source no one really knows ideas from the human mind _____________________________________________________________________________________ 4. aws rules that govern the universe; motion; gravity; rules that govern human behavior _____________________________________________________________________________________ 5. Illusions sun rise-sun set; mirage; stars in the sky: magician; ventriloquist; planted person; _____________________________________________________________________________________ 6. Resources things we use to assist us provided by Mother Nature things that assist us made by humans _____________________________________________________________________________________ 7.
Identity that part of us we inherit before birth that part of us we learn after birth ______________________________________________________________________________________ 8. Relationships those people to whom we are related those people we meet and befriend _______________________________________________________________________________________ 9. Time reliable speed of celestial objects objects used to measure celestial speed; watch _______________________________________________________________________________________ 10.
Evolution the slow change of life(DNA) thru stages the slow change of society thru stages ________________________________________________________________________________________ There may be a need for more clarity on some of the topics of distinguishing natural construction from social construction: Natural Construction-Time Natural construction of reality as it relates to time-a scientific approach that states that time is the amount of space it takes a celestial body within the universe to move in a constant pace through space.
Earth time. The amount of space it takes the Earth to rotate around its own axis. One revolution is about twenty-four hours, which is one day. Moon time. The amount of space it takes the moon to revolve around the Earth. One revolution is about twenty-eight days, which is one lunar month. Solar time. The amount of space it takes the Earth, the moon and other planets to revolve around the the sun. One revolution of the Earth is about 365 days, which is one year. Galactic time.
The amount of space it takes the Earth, the moon, other planets and our sun to revolve amount the center our Milky Way Galaxy. One revolution is about 226 million years, which one galactic year. The closest galaxy neighbor is the Andromeda Galaxy which is about 2. 5 million light-years away from The Milky Way. It is estimated to have about 200 or more billion stars. The next closest is the Triangulum Galaxy which is about 3 million light-years away. It is also estimated to have hundred of billion stars.
The naked eye and time measuring instruments are used to determine the amount of time that has occurred. The naked eye may be used to determine Earth time-hours/days, moon time-months and solar time-years. However, to measure galactic time one would need an extremely powerful telescopic instrument. Social Construction – Time Social construction of reality as it relates to time- that process by which people creatively shape reality of time through social interaction. Different cultures often do not share the same perception of time reality. The social construction of time,
The social perception of time is often reflected in the structure of language. Most languages use the grammatical structure of tense to show time. There is the present tense, past tense, future tense and the past participle. This is a social construction of time. The days of the week are examples of time being socially constructed. There is another example of time being socially constructed. In the United States between the months the last of March to October, they move their time up one hour in order to save energy. This is called ‘day light savings’ time. After October they return to their regular time.
This is known as ‘standard’ time. Socially measurement of time reality has been determined by twenty-four hour time zones. This concept is socially constructed. Nations, through social interaction, have agreed on the socially construction of the earth of 360 degrees to be divided by 24 hours into 15 degrees time zones. Nations today use international air travel time of hour measurement which is based on this social construction. They also use a daily calendar that determines the weeks, months and years. The clocks on the wall and the watches on our wrists are social construction.. Natural Construction of Evolution
Scientist Charles Darwin has developed a theory know as, the theories of Evolution, Natural Selection and the Survival of the Fittest. He contends that life forms, through the inherited messages of the genes, evolve so that life may change to adapted to new environments. Evidence has been discovered that illustrated that the evolution of humans go back as far back as three million years in East Africa. It has shown that change is constantly occurring in our DNA to allow for survival. Those that do not survive can not pass on their genes, while those that do survival are fit enough to reproduce.
In the wild animals must adapt to harsh and hostile conditions where only the strongest survive. This, in his view, is a law of nature. It is unchangeable and predictable. Social Construction of Evolution – Survival of the fittest Two aspects of social evolution that must be considered in this category: (1) evolution of the society and (2) its survivability. The theory of the evolution of society is known as Social-Culture Evolution proposed by Gerhardt Lenski. This is comparable to Charles Darwin’s theory of Biological Evolution and his theory of “survival of the fittest”.
Lenski suggest that human beings have social constructed societies as the need to technologically improve upon them. That this improvement is an evolutionary process which has stages: (1) The Hunter-gather stage (2) The agricultural-pastoral stage (3) The Agriculture stage (4) the Industrial stage and (5) the post-Industrial stage. An another important evolution that must be discussed is the evolution of the identity perception of the African born in America. They were called colored people, then negro, to Negro, to Black, to African-American. They have African American History Month.
They are still evolving. Natural Construction Social Construction Charles Darwin-Biological Evolution Gerthard Lenski-Soc/Cultural Evolution Coded in the DNA is for life to evolve when Societies tend to modify culture in an attempt to needed to adjust to a new geographic environ to make their activities more efficient. From the perspective of natural construction, and from the view of social construction, human beings as we know them, originated in East Africa.
Evidence revealed by geneticists, who studied natural construction, and anthropologist, who studied social construction, confirmed that Africa was the place that humans begun. It has been discovered that humans who left Africa started a mutation process that has given us the variety of skin, hair and eye color differences. These are natural constructions that have their source in our DNA. The ability to use language, organize and resettle in a new environment are social constructions. Scientists have also shown that other ‘races’ or mutations from the Africans occur every 20,000 years.
That is, Africans are the oldest siblings in the human family. The Europeans are the babies. Natural Construction of Identity The naturally constructed identity is that part of us that we acquire before we are born. Being a male or female is naturally constructed. We inherit that part from our parents` DNA. It is often referred to as our `primary identity` because we received that first. Being an child, infant, adolescent, adult and an elder are stages of human develop which are influenced by our DNA. Also being an African, Asian, European and a combination of those genetic categories are naturally constructed identities.
We get these body features from our parents DNA. How we are related to other people is also determined by our DNA. Being a brother or sister, being a father or mother, being a cousin or grandchild are all natural constructed identities for which we have no control. These people will be related to you until death. Social Construction of Identity The socially constructed identity is that part of us that we acquire after we are born. Being a boy or a girl is social constructed. We learn that part from our social environment, i. e. , our culture.
It is often referred to as our `secondary` identity because we receive this second. Man, woman, Ghanaian, Nigerian, student, teacher, How we are related to other people socially is determined by not sharing one`s DNA. Being a husband or a wife, being a friend or a lover, a class mate, a student or a teacher are all social constructed. They all imply a relationship that does not include a genetic kinship. Relationship of Identity Alignment In observing the two parts on one`s identity, that which is natural and that which is social, there is a behavior cultural acceptance or rejection of these two parts.
If one is a female, and is socialized to successful acts as a girl or a woman, then she is considered `in` alignment. The same holds true if one is a male, and is socialized to conduct himself to behave a boy and later a man. `In` alignment is the actions of those who reflect the norm. However, if one is a female, but acts like a boy or a man, she is considered to be `out` of alignment. The same holds true for a male behaving as a girl or a woman. He is considered to be `out` of alignment and a deviant to society. Those Africans were are taught the cultural features of their ancestors, are considered `in` alignment.
They speak the language, dress the style, eat the food, listen to the music, etc. , of their tribe have been taught the connection of their naturally constructed identity and their ancestral socially constructed identity. However, there are Africans whose ancestors were stolen from Africa and were not taught their the ways of their ancestors. They were taught the ways of their fore-parents slave masters. These Africans still have their naturally constructed identity as Africans, but do not have the proper socially constructed identity of their tribe. These Africans are `out` of alignment.
Most of those who are out of alignment have been socialized through mis-education in the schools and through negative cultural attitudes to reject their naturally constructed identity. This has occurred after many generations of constant propaganda without much opposition. Those Africans born in America have gone through years of trying to understand who they are and having a proper identity term to define themselves. They were taught that they were colored people, then they were negroes, then they were Black people, then they became African Americans.
Most have not fully understood the relationship they have with being Africans and being Americans. There is a rule to establish that connection: The primary part of who were are, is naturally constructed. It is our first identity. It is genetic. This, therefore, the noun in an identity term: African, Asian, European, or a combination. If we are born in Ghana, were are called a Ghanaian, which is our socially constructed identity. This the second part which is the adjective and describes what type of African we are. One is thus, a Ghanaian African or a Nigerian African, etc. , and not a African Ghanaian.
Consequently, if an African is born in America, she is an American African and not a African American. Many while not accept this term, American African because of their cultural mind-set. Natural and Social the Fragmented African Family Western European have taken the nature theory of Charles Darwin and adopted a philosophy designed to justify their actions of oppression. They refer to this as a social survival of the fittest. During the Agricultural Revolution, Africans, Asians and Europeans had their own slave laborers. Later, these groups sought groups outside their own to serve as slaves.
Africans served as the largest group who were taken by people outside their race. East Africans were taken away as slave laborers by the Arabs Muslims in East African Slave Trade. Still others were taken away by the Western European Christians from West and Central Africa in the Trans-Atlantic Slave. Because the Western Europeans had superior technological devices for destruction, they fell that they were the stronger than Africans and therefore the fittest. Thus, countless of millions of stolen Africans were captured and used as slave laborers.
Having inferior weapons of technology they sought to use an unsuccessful method of prayer in hope that god would assist them in their plight. Moreover, Africans in North Africa were also conquered by the Arab Muslims, and they also prayed for god’s intervention. Many millions of Africans did not survive because they were felt to not to have socially evolved and thus were socially unfit. Those Africans who were forced from their homeland, were also forced to learn a foreign way of life. They were socialized to perceive themselves as slaves and often were forced to accept the culture of their slave masters.
This process was known as the seasoning process. After generations of accepting this dehumanizing slave culture, they no longer knew where they originated, nor did they know the culture of their ancestors.. The institution of slavery was often a product of the demands of agricultural way of life. Indigenous Africans and the Arab Muslims slave owners did not invest their profits to evolve into another economic system. Many of the Western European Christians invested their profits from the slave trade into an economic system known as the Industrial Revolution.
Meanwhile those who were not taken as slave, also continued to pray. Their African family was forever fragment by outsiders. Two new Africans major societies were developed as a result of Western European invading Africa: one on the continent of Africa and the other in the “New World” of the Caribbean Islands and North America. This was an African Diaspora slave society. The second was an African colonial society. In order to accomplish the goal of developing and extracting resources in Africa, the indigenous population had to be conquered. The African family was thereafter fragmented and oppressed.
Fifth Meeting Video DVD The Real Eve (Single Source Migration Out of Africa) Mitochondrial DNA mutation 150,000 yrs. Ago first great migration Genetic tracking genetic marker/bar code 70,000 generations second great migration Genetic sampling Ice Age/Stone Age Toba super volcano third great migration Genetic marker/bar code Hunter-gatherers Fishermen dating methods Scientists and their research: Prof. Rebbeca L.
Cann, Associate professor of genetics at the University of Hawaii. Prof. Stephen Oppenheimer, British geneticist. Prof. Chris Stringer, British geographer Prof. Nina Jablonwski, research on skin color, Penn State University Sixth Meeting Students are requested to research in Google the Industrial Revolution and the Berlin Conference. The Industrial Technological Revolution/Evolution- may be defined as, significant technological changes in the way people manufacture their goods. Before this time people made products by hand. The I. R. brought about manufacturing by machines and factories.
The effects of this advancement have brought about changes which are evident in today’s societies. The society no longer used their muscles or the muscles of their animals as the main source of energy. With the I. R. , people used water, then steam, and then electricity as the source of energy. This technological achievement is considered the difference between the developed world and the developing world. Ghana has not experienced the Industrial Revolution. It first evolved in Great Britain (G. B. ) in the middle 1700’s. Much of the finances use to develop the European I. R. came from the profits of African Slave Trade.
G. B. maintained an industrial monopoly until departure of Samuel Slater. (google) One person, Samuel Slater, an employee of a G. B. textile factory, immigrated to the U. S. , and shared the knowledge of the I. R. with the Americans. This I. R. science-based technological information has been keep from Africans throughout the world today. Without this technological knowledge Africans will be forever depended on nations who have this knowledge to supply them consumer products. Still, Africans were treated as slaves and they continued to use the unsuccessful method of prayer as a means for salvation.
With the need to continue their science-based technological Industrial Revolution the Western Europeans needed natural resources. Most of these resources were found in Africa. Initially they robbed Africa of its people in a slave trade so that they would work on their plantations in the “New World”. This first stage gave them financial fuel to exploit the Agricultural Revolution. Now the second stage they robbed Africa of its gold, magnesium, bauxite, and other natural resources to fuel their separate economies. This was the stage of European colonialism. In their Berlin
Conference of 1884, (google) with no Africans present, the Europeans divided up Africa into the nations that exist today. They did this so that they would not come into conflict with one another in extracting Africa’s riches. It was then and now unconceivable for Europeans to share the knowledge of how to extract Africa’s own natural resources for an African Industrial Revolution. This is because of the limited amount of natural resources that exist on the planet. The world social order unfolded where Africans lacked the skills of industrialization and economic self-sufficiency.
Ghana is faced with two major sources of her problems: (1) inside- (modernization theory)- it refers to the inability to pass on reliable knowledge and critical thinking skills to challenge traditional erroneous cultural assumptions, i. e. , superstitions. Fallacies often have been told through story telling sessions as part of African tradition. The problem is therefore internal to Africa. Thus, the solution should be to reconstruct contemporary African culture to contend with modern ways of thinking. Currently, superstition extends throughout Africa and its continued usage is prevalent. f the unsuccessful method of prayer to solve problems. It is believed that if modernization does not occur, it is the fault of the society. These problems have effects which manifest itself in the family, in education, in politics and other social institutions. outside-(dependency theory) it involves the inability to prevent or the desire to prevent foreign exploitation and technological dependency. It arises from the colonial era in Africa. Thus, there is little social infrastructure which would allow for the society to respect and desire national self-sufficiency.
The problem with the society is believed, therefore, external. Thus, the solution should be directed toward becoming independent from those external social, cultural and economic attractions. Currently, Africans often seeks to purchase items from outside rather than to attempt manufacturing items themselves. Accepting loans and grants from those same foreigners who have exploited Africans in the first place is also a problem. Africans, for the most part, have accepted the fallacy that they desire to help. One should ask, “why is Africa remaining in poverty if these people really desire to assist in its development? They constructed a Marshall Plan for those Europeans who needed technological and financial assistance after World War II. Currently, they assist with many millions of dollars and experts in the reconstruction of countries they destroy in the Middle East. Why can’t also assist Africans? There is also a external problem with a nation that rejects their descendents from the Diaspora who desire to return and assist in economic and social development. This does not pertain to the dependency theory however, it may serve to solve that problem.
Many of these foreign born Africans have learned the complicated technological skills that may be used to develop Africa. They have made countless inventions in many areas of technology. Yet, these Africans are not able to be reunited into the traditional African families of their ancestors. This problem exists and will continue to exist because there are no social institutions constructed to receive those Africans who are out of alignment. To be on the path of national development both of the sources of Africans problem, internal (modern theory) and external (dependency theory) must be addressed and solved.
There is a difference between the manufacturing and assembling processes in the goal of producing a final product. Manufacturing is the first step in that process which entails going to the earth, collecting and extracting raw materials and transporting those materials to a plant for further treatment. It is an expensive process that is machine intensive. The manufacturing converts the earth’s natural resources to usable products for the consumer. The assembling process involves organizing and putting together parts of a project after the parts have been designed and shaped.
Africans born in America have been on the assembly line in making technology device and have invented new technologies. However, having the knowledge and skills of manufacturing has generally been denied to them. This lack of manufacturing science-based knowledge is a common feature of Africans everywhere. Africa – Ancient Egypt (Kemet) and Technology Currently, the social- cultural evolutionary chart of human kind and the United Nation`s Human Development Index shows that Sub-Saharan African nations are listed at the bottom of the chart.
However, there was a time when the world went to Africa for understanding and application of technological achievements. In the era before the development of Western Civilization there was Egypt (Kemet), who stood highest among all other peoples on the planet, may have been ranked as number one in the world. In the years 3150 B. C. until 31 B. C. Egypt (Kemet) served as a frame of reference for the application of technology. The Ancient Egyptians (Kemet) were the first to develop the solar calendar, irrigation, ship building, medicine, pyramid architecture, and mechanic levers, etc.
It is erroneous to believe that only Europeans and Asians have made the world`s inventions. Culture Culture may be defined as the ways in which a group of people behave from day to day. The difference between culture and society is society is large and it may contain many cultural groups within its population. Culture is the ways people are socialized to participate in a society. Those who share the same culture are considered as an ethnic group. People in the same culture share a common language, type of food, religion, dance, music, dress, traditions, value system and world view.
Some consider language as the most important aspect to one’s culture. This is because we learn or are socialized in the world affairs through language, and in turn construct new words to express those new insights. Thus, language shapes culture and culture shapes language. Societies in the world have been influenced by other cultures. We refer to this process as cultural diffusion. The most obvious product of cultural diffusion is the number symbols: 1, 2, 3. 4, etc. The Americans call them Arabic numbers to differ between Roman numbers: I II, III, IV, etc. The Arabs called them Indian numbers, etc.
Initially the numbers represented the number of angles in that symbol: 1 has one angle, 2 has two angles, 3 three has three angles, etc. The societies in African have also been influenced by other cultures. The African societies have come primarily from the three sources: (1) indigenous traditional, (2) the Western European colonial and (3) the Arabic religious cultures. (two outside areas and one inside area). Generally Africans traditional spiritual reality is based on craft of traditional fetish priests, on the priests or pastors invading Western European Christianity or the Imams of invading Arabic Islam.
These beliefs and value systems have shaped the African perception of reality for hundreds of years. These three areas of African social construction of their social reality is similar in that their leaders appear to have a special spiritual knowledge which influences the thinking of the society. That is, individually and collectively these ‘spiritual’ social constructions appear to influence the method of solving problems through superstition rather than the use of critical thinking skills.
In the 21st century there is a need for Africans to evaluate these cultural areas to understand which are archaic and should be discarded and which are still relevant and should be kept. Sapir-Whorf thesis: this is the theory that people perceive the world through the lens of language. Secularism – a system of social organization that does not allow religion to influence the government or an institution. Secularize – to remove the control or influence of religious groups from a society or an institution.
When items are constructed there is generally a purpose for this construction which is intended to serve a specific function. There is a difference between purpose and function. Purpose may be defined as the reason that explains why something is needed or made. Function may be defined as the normal, routine activity of an object or system. Purpose answers ‘why’ an item is there and function answers ‘how’ the item is to be used. No one can determine the purpose of a natural construction, for no one knows for certainty the reason why natural objects are here.
They can only assume the reason why natural items are needed. They did not discuss with the architect of a tree to determine its purpose. They may refer to a special book that has been socially constructed and use that book as a reference to explain what they believe the purpose of natural constructions. If one is asked, “How do you know the purpose of this natural item,” and they refer to a special book, then they are using a social construction to explain a natural construction. They can also witness the daily activities of natural constructions and determine its functions.
On the other hand, people can determine both the purpose and functions of a social construction. If it is made by people, the reasoning why something is made can be explained or recorded by those who have constructive it. Are African Societies Modern? One of the most significant social illusions that may fool many is the social construct of modernity. Modernity may be define as social patterns that have developed in a society as a result of becoming industrialized. The innovations caused by advances in technology after industrialization can be seen in communication, transportation, education and a higher standard of living.
However, the are societies which have not experienced industrialization but have advances in communication, transportation, education and a higher standard of living. The industrialized societies have traded with these traditional societies their technological innovations for their natural resources. That is, it appears that the traditional societies have experienced an industrial revolution, but if fact, they only reflect the superficial patterns of modernity. It is a social illusion to believe that many African societies have become modern when they have not social constructed a modern society. They have only imported it.
That reality which is becoming more evident in Africa and other traditional societies is that purpose and function has been constructed by foreigners and then copied by Africans. While the social changes of technological innovations have become traditional, the fundamental beliefs of accepting superstition and other social illusions have remained. Much like stating that African society is proud of its African cultures. However, when observing the most educated we find that African men wearing Western European style clothing in celebrating Africa and African women culturally straighten their hair resembling Europeans.
Do Africans want to construct cultures based on a social reality based on foreigners who once oppressed them? In doing so, are Africans constructing social illusions which are not based on reliable information and critical thinking? Will Africa and other traditional societies remain forever stagnate on the social cultural evolution development and be dependent on those who have evolved? It is human nature that people construct a reality that serves to explain human existence. One of the first social constructions that a society develops is a cosmogony.
Cosmogony may be defined as a belief that explains the origin of the universe, or a set of ideas that concern human beginnings. This universality is evident by the many cultures throughout the world that construct cultural folk lore, legends and myths about their cultures. Most, if not all, cosmogonies have been inaccurate for it only reflects the understanding of nature at that time. When scientific, reliable evidence has become available, known as cosmology, to refute those cultural stories it has been difficult for many societies to accept this new perspective.
Those who have sought change were usually scientists who served as social deviants and change agents. Many have been confronted by the ‘gate keepers’ and force to denounce their findings. Many cultural conservatives have been afraid that accepting new ideas in their traditional society, as they knew it, would be destroyed. Anyone can be fooled by physical natural or social illusions if he/she is untrained to ask questions that should guide critical thinking. The relationship between cause and effect should be the first concept to be understood. Is there a relationship between the effects (that which has happened) and its apparent cause?
One should ask, “Is what I am expected to believe a physical natural construction or a social construction? ” Another concept to be understood is that physical natural and social constructions have rules, called constraints, which give it order, structure and stability to that reality. One should ask, “Is what I am expected to believe following the rules of physical nature and social nature? ” If, when asked for an explanation of what appears to violate these rules and none is given, one should be wiry. If one is told to have faith in what is being told without proof, one should be wiry.
Everyone is vulnerable to illusions. Although not one hundred percent effective, asking critical thinking questions should serve to be extremely helpful in gaining reliable information. It is obvious that human beings did not construct themselves. This category is known as human physical natural construction or human natural construction, where the focus is on humans being physical construction rather than humans performing some social construction. There is a structure to the human body that gives it function, order and stability. It follows rules of constraint.
The human body can be deceived by it sensory perception. It can succumb to illusions. The five senses can not always interpret all environmental events accurately. There are hearing, touching, tasting, smelling and optical illusions. A difference between human physical natural illusion and human social illusion is the former occurs with limited interpretation of nature while the later occurs with the interpretation of human behavior. Cultural diffusion- the transfer of cultural beliefs and ideas to another society through trading with one another, tourism, and other forms of human interaction.
The religions of Islam and Christianity came to Africa as a result of cultural diffusion. One of the most important contributions that has been made with regard to cultural diffusion is the spread of the numbers as symbols. The value of the symbol was related to how many angles it showed. 1 has one angle; 2 has two angles; 3 has three angles, etc. Technology transfer- that transfer of technological devices to another society which often does not have the ability to manufacture that technological device.
Ghana is a society that is involved with cultural diffusion and technology transfer. It constantly gets ideas from outside. These ideas are from culturally diffusion, and technological transference. However, it does not manufacture most of its products and thus it trades with those who do manufacture goods. The manufactured technology is transferred to Ghana. Questions are posed to the class regarding that status of dependency: Should there be a change in that dependent status? What are the consequences of being technologically dependent? Europeans and now Asians have knowledge of I. R.
Why don’t they share this knowledge with Africa in general and Ghanaians in particular? Will there likely be opposition to the attempted change in the status to Ghana’s development? Will that opposition come only from the outside? History has shown that some traditional people benefit from stagnation, others personally benefiting from assisting outsiders while others are afraid of change. Technology can be viewed as the ability to convert that which is natural constructed to that which is socially constructed. “That which is worst than having a problem is not knowing that you have a problem. ” Scientific Sociology
Addressing the Internal Problem: Modernization There is a significant difference in the way traditional people perceive reality, especially with regards to interpreting information and knowledge. They tend to accept and reject knowledge in a certain pattern. In traditional societies people tend to accept what they traditional see as cultural information without much scrutiny. They tend to be slow, suspicious or even reject new information without much thought. Showing a cultural- mind set is not uncommon. However, when they accept new information it is usually based on emotional appeal rather than objectively.
They are more past-oriented. They say, “If it’s good enough for my ancestors, than its good enough for me. ” The ‘modern’ and more critical thinking societies tend to reject what they observe as knowledge until that information has met certain qualifications. It must meet some type of analytic confirmation. They are more future-oriented. They say, “I want better for my children, and they should want better for their children. ” That is, traditional people tend to emotionally accept information before rejecting it while critical hinking societies tend to analytically reject information before accepting it. Traditional societies tend to socially build or construct knowledge based on less reliable information then modern or less traditional societies. As in a physical construction, the builder needs physical tools to complete his/her task. Scientists who deal with building social construction also need tools. Their tools are not physical. Their tools are methods, procedures, techniques or guidelines. Initially people used prayer and trial-and-error approaches to solve problems. These methods were usually unreliable.
As time past scientists have developed methods that would result in more reliability because they sought to control the environment. These new types of tools provide structural procedures which gives order to the thought process. They are designed to assist humans in revealing natural constructed secrets about nature itself. There at least four methods of Sociological Research that have been used in an effort to acquire fairly reliable, science-based knowledge: Superstitious Technique: (1) Acquire an object or develop a method that holds mystical powers.
Perform the procedure exactly the same way each time. If the future events do not develop as desired, it is the fault of the person and not the technique. Scientific Method/Asking Questions Technique (2) Testing the Hypothesis; the Experiment (3) Participant Field Observation and (4) Secondary Analysis. Just as nails are needed in effectively building a physical wooden construction, so are questions needed in effectively building a social construction. Asking Questions Techniques: A. The Questionnaire- This involves a series of questions a researcher presents to subjects. B.
The Survey-This involves asking subjects to respond to statements or questions in an interview or questionnaire. The topics are usually broader in scope than are asked in interviews and questionnaire and are often less structured. C. The Interview-This involves a series of questions a researcher administers in person to respondents. Testing the Hypothesis; the Experiment-This involves the researcher investigating the cause and effect relationship under controlled conditions. It attempts to explain how and why things happen.
Usually experimenter test a hypothesis . There four steps: (1) identify the effects (dependent variable) and the cause (independent variable) (2) place a value of the variables-how many or how much is it happening (3) expose the independent to the dependent variable and (4) re-measure and the compare the dependent variable values to determine change. Participant Field Observation- This involves a researcher investigating people by observing their behavior while joining them in their routine activities.
Secondary Analysis- This involves the researcher collecting and using data gathered by others. After social scientists have used one or more of these four methods to acquire information they organize it into a format known as scientific method of inquiry. The main focus of this method is solving problems. Its structure involves six steps: (1) stating the problem, (2) the reason for that problem. A problem may be recognized after several occurrences rather than just one event. There should be a pattern of behavior that represents a cause and effect relationship. 3) This problem can be identified by the effects that it causes. Most observe the effects of a problem to be the reason for the problem until they ask deeper questions. Why did this incident(s) happen in the first place? (4)The next question to ask is what is previously known about this problem? Much information may be learned from the Internet (5)This part concerns suggesting a possible solution. The solution should be the opposite of the problem. That is, if the problem is not having money, than the solution is to have money. 6) The next part is the resources that are needed to solve the problem (7) The final part involves an evaluation of the solution to observe if the problem has been solved. This usually means, how often is the solution monitored and by what criteria. Many educational institutions require students on the graduate level to use this method to demonstrate a level of academic and scientific excellence. Nations have accepted this technique to gives structure to solving their national problems and policy development. Experimentation Diagnosis – the process of discovering what is wrong with something by examining it closely.
Independent variable- that which causes change to the dependent variable. Dependent variable – that which is changed by the independent variable. Scientific Method of Inquiry – The Diagnosis and Final Product I. State the Problem: A. Select and discuss only one problem. Explain why you feel that this is a problem B. be sure that in this explanation that it is stated, “the problem is…” C. be sure that you state that the problem is for what person/people. II. State the Reason for the Problem: (discovering the independent variable) A.
There may be many reasons for a problem, explain them. Explain why you feel that these are reasons for the problem. B. be sure that in this explanation it is stated that, “the reasons for the problem are…” III. State the Effects of the Problem: (dependent variable) A. There are usually many effects of the problem, which are positive as well as negative-explain them. B. Explain why you feel that these are effects of the problem. C. The effects should be related to the problem. D. be sure that in this explanation that it is stated, “the effects of the problem are…. ” IV.
State the Literature on the Problem: (Secondary Analysis) A. Use sources in books, other research projects, etc. , on this same topic B. State ‘according to…. ’. V. State A Possible Solution to the Problem: (Independent variable: experiment and strategy) Concentrate on one possible solution. Present a strategy or a scenario/logistics The possible solution must be directly related to the problem. This should take in consideration the reason and the effects of the problem as a reference. Be sure that in this explanation that it is stated, “A possible solution to the problem is….. VII. State the Resources Needed to Solve the Problem: (needs and the cost) The resources should serve as a ‘wish list’ with an explanation, where everything that may be needed to accomplish this goal is obtained should serve as a resources. In most cases there should be an estimated cost of each item, rental space and salaries. VI. State an Evaluation of the Solution: (How do we know the problem is solved? Is it measurable? ) A. There should be some way to measure the problem quantitatively at the beginning and at the end to compare the results to show change.
In some cases graphs are used as a tool to describe change. Eighth and Ninth Meetings Overview – Preparation of examination – Format (This is not the mid-exam. It is only a format) Definitions and examples: A. social construct *Is the concept of ‘god’ a natural construction or a social construction? B. technology transfer C. technology *Is the method of prayer a social construction, a social illusion or both? D. questionnaire
E. planned obsolescence 3. Essay-Discussion (Everyone does A; but select two from the following three) A. Write and interpret the proverb regarding things we don’t know. B. Explain why other nations may not want Africa to experience an Industrial Revolution C. Explain the various ways to acquire fairly reliable information D. Explain how language can shape a society’s world view E. In solving a problem compare the scientific method of inquiry and the prayer method. Part II Creativity and Social Construction
Use google to look-up Economy of Africa: Is Africa`s situation a natural construction or a social construction. Development of a Pan-African Social Consciousness The African Age of Enlightenment – The New African Tenth and Eleventh Meeting The New African seeks to solve the socio-economic problems of Ghana, and therefore Africa. He/she searches for a paradigm shift in thinking, different from the Africans of old. Superstitious ways have been challenged and scientific methods have taken charged.
Reliable information has become more respected and secularization has become a part of life. The New African encourages society to develop an industrial revolution which would break the dependency of Africans from their ex-colonial masters. Collective history – that recorded history that binds a people to together and a understanding that they have a shared experience that should unite them. Collective consciousness – that unified mind-set that is developed when a people understand that they have a common history and mission and are committed to a cause.
Addressing the External Problem: Dependency Africans must modify its social structure from a combined philosophy of total traditional cultural acceptance and foreign dependency to social structure that accepts change and self-sufficiency. This social cultural evolution changes the African philosophy from reaction to Western European exploitation to a proactive approach to its social structure. This means that Africans must change their thinking from responding to outsiders to selecting a social direction designed for Africans by Africans.
Even in this age of globalization, where nations are depended on one another for trade, finances, etc. , Africans must have a African centered, future-oriented philosophy. As a result, Africans must be more creative without using Western Europeans as a model for African socio-cultural development. Having the critical thinking skills to develop reliable knowledge (science-based) and the discarding need to be dependent on outside manufacturing skills are first priorities in the development of Ghana. However, there is a second priority that exists for Ghana in the world of sociology and technology.
Ghanaians must change existing institutions or simply destroy them. They must become change agents in this process. This priority involves the ability to be creative: appreciate new ideas, construct them, review them and act on them. According to scientists, the creative thinking process has its source in the right hemisphere of the brain, and the logic thinking process has its source in the left hemisphere of the brain. Much of the educational process emphasizes left brain or convergent thinking. In the left brain where convergent thinking originates, focus is on finding the correct response to questions.
The learning of math and scientific questions generally emphasize searching for the one correct answer. The right brain where divergent thinking resides, focus is on the creative process where there are no correct answers. Selections based on feelings and emotions are the guidelines. Which clothes, music or artwork do you like? Making a poem and determining the best title for that poem are creative exercises. Creating a new idea for a new invention, choosing an advertisement idea to sell that invention, and making a selection from alternative solutions are all divergent thinking processes.
The development of new technologies is a divergent creative thinking process which, in a modern society, will continue forever. One of the significant differences between the evolutions of humanity from the hunter-gatherer stage of society to the post industrial stage is the social construction of ideas. In order for a society to constantly develop, members must be creative or always social constructing new words, from new ideas based on reliable, science-based information and ultimately constructing new social institutions. There are positive and negative effects from this evolving process.
Ultimately, each succeeding generation will have experiences that the previous generation may not understand. Sociologists refer to this as a generation gap. As this path of innovation is created, or socially constructed, some old words, old ideas and some old social institutions must be destroyed. The advancing science-based societies are always discarding the old and creating the new as it evolves. Subsequently one must ask: “Is all that’s new-good? Is all that’s traditional-bad? Is all the traditional-good? Is all that’s new-bad? ” What will be the criteria for this determination? Revisit planned obsolescence.
In the 21st century, traditional societies must ask themselves, “do we get the future we want or do we get the future that is given to us? ” If we get the future we want, we must know who we are as a people, and creative a future that is in our best interest. The society needs to develop a social system to enhance creativity for innovation and discovery. We, therefore, need skills in innovative techniques and a vision. If we get the future that is given to us we simply do the same thing we have been doing. In the view of most, getting the future you want is better than getting the future that is given to you.
We need to develop creative thinking. Most creative people do not use tools/methods, on a conscious level, to respond creatively. They are intuitive thinkers by nature and make responses based on a natural creative ability. However, other people who do not have natural creative ability need methods or techniques to think divergently. The most common technique is the Extrapolation method. The Extrapolation method is that process by which an individual observes past experiences to make prediction on the future. No one knows the future, hence, there is no correct about what will happen.
Everyone has an opinion regarding what is likely or unlikely to happen based on pass experience. Those who have more reliable knowledge of the past are more likely to be more accurate in predicting or determining the future. However, the more variables that a people control regarding sustainability in their daily lives, the more it increase the chance of determining the future for that society. With regards to the creative divergent thinking in technology, using the extrapolation method, it is likely that the major financial lucrative areas to study are the areas of communication, transportation and energy.
Knowing this, these areas are generally the most competitive. One can assume that waste management will be a field to develop technology in the area of recycling. Just as there must be practice developing critical, convergent thinking skills there must be practice developing creative, divergent thinking skills. Another method used is the Future Wheel Method. This method involves having a center circle where a topic is named. From the center a number of lines are drawn to resemble spokes from a wheel. At the end of each of those lines a circle is drawn. Here a question is asked, what is the consequences of the first topic.
This continues until the student is satisfied that his/her imagination has been exhausted. A third technique which is often used for creativity and divergent thinking is the brainstorming method. It is not uncommon for people to discuss ideas and as a result new ideas, or many new ideas emerge from that discussion. Often a “think tank” of experts from various fields would gather and discuss various issues of importance. This synergy method is used in business, education, health care and other social institutions to improve on what appears to be insurmountable social problems.
Brainstorming method is a technique that usually involves different people with different backgrounds united as one group to create innovation. While using the brainstorming method of creative thinking many have chosen the “What if” technique to give directions to discussion. This fourth method is often called the Scenario Method of divergent thinking. The facilitator in a group will create a situation and ask the participants, “What if so and so would happened, what should be the responds to that situation? How should one anticipate and prepare for such an occasion? New ideas should generate from these discussions.
A fifth method is known as the Backward Method. The user starts from the desired goal, and indicate the goal in a box at the top of an illustration. Then one would ask, what does it take to arrive immediately at that goal, how long should it take, what should be done, etc. Then another box is illustrated under this box and the same questions should be asked until many boxes have been drawn that would represent one’s status today. Theories are explanations attempting to reveal knowledge that usually beginning at an intuitive stage to the common sense stage and ultimately meeting scientific analysis regarding events in nature.
Theories are often the consequence of critical thinking skills and creative thinking skills. One must analyze and synthesize and then use one’s imagination to develop something new. In psychology and sociology a fundamental theory involves the motivation of people. Abraham Maslow has developed a theory which explains the behavior of humans. Abraham Maslow-His theory-The hierarchy of human needs as a source for human motivation. Maslow writes that human have needs that must be met before going to another level of needs to be satisfied.
This theory attempts to answer the question of what is the motivation that drives people to do what they do. According to Maslow’s hierarchy: (google) First level: the physiological needs; breath, water, food, sex, sleep and eliminate waste Second level: the psychological needs; safety, order, security, protection, insurance, etc. Third level: the emotional needs; friendship, intimacy, love, group acceptance, etc. Fourth level: the esteem needs; being respected, self-respect, respect others, contribution, recognition, etc.
Fifth level: the self realization needs; self satisfying accomplishments- all needs are satisfied. The higher one goes up the hierarchy the more one goes from natural construction of needs to so A nation can not effectively develop if they do not have reliable social constructions that address the first and second level needs. People need to satisfy their hunger, need clean water, to feel safe, etc. Thus, a universal acknowledgement is that all nations should have these needs met. The United Nations has developed a formula that determines the status of nations based the ability of satisfying of needs of its citizens.
They involve health care problems, education problems and the problems involving the nation’s standard of living. Explain the different levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. Twelfth and Thirteenth Meeting Gerhard Lenski – His theory-The socio-cultural development of humanity. He writes that there is a relationship between the stages of socio-cultural development of a society and its level of technological development. Again, remind students of the discussion regarding the fetish priest and the sacrificing of animals to achieve a certain outcome.
This incident represented a socio-cultural stage. What do we know now about cause and effect relationships that he did not know then? Socio-cultural evolution according to Gerhard Lenski: (google) Hunter- Gathering stage- that time period, about 3 million years ago until 12,000 years ago when people used simple low tech tools to hunt animals and gather vegetation. Horticulture- pastoral stage –that time period, about 12,000 years ago to about 5,000 years ago when people used simple low tech hand tools were mainly used to grow crops.
At about the same time people began to domesticate animals. Agrarian stage – that time period, about 5,000 years ago to about 1750’s when people began to use large scale cultivation. The technology involved using plows harnessed to animals and human muscles as power sources. This stage is considered the beginning of civilization by most because after had a surplus of food they spent time developing writing, the calendar, medicine, irrigation, and other technologies based on practical forms of reliable information.
Industrial stage – that time period, about 1750’s until the last generation when people began to use high tech tools of machinery in the production of goods which used advanced sources of energy to drive that machinery. The energy sources range from water, steam, electricity, and nuclear power. The earlier Industrial stage did not take in consideration energy sources that take the earth’s ecological balance in its power usage. Thus, the earth has become polluted and its climate is affected.
Renewable earth energy sources have been sought as an alternative to non-renewable energy pollutants sources like coal. Solar, wind, bio materials, etc. , are being used. Post-industrial stage – that recent time period, within this generation, when people used technology that supports an information-based economy. Demographic transition theory- this theory holds that the population patterns of a society reflects its technological development. Fourteenth Meeting Three Founders of Sociology When we are born, we are born into a society.
When we die, we will die in a society. Societies have existed million of years before us, and they are likely to exist millions of years after us. Societies shape our thinking, emotion and behavior. A society may be defined as, people who interact with one another in a defined territory and share an overall culture. There are natural construction and natural destruction on the earth. Just as there are forces that built the planet, there are forces that destroy the planet. There is erosion, which is the wearing away of land by air and water.
There are floods and droughts, earthquakes and hurricanes, tornadoes and volcanoes. There are also social construction and social destruction. People are forever going to war, destroying other societies and in sometimes in civil wars, cause their own destruction. There are two major events that have, in many ways, social destroyed the fabric of the social constructions in West African society: (1) the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (Agricultural Revolution) and (2) the Colonization Era (Industrial Revolution).
West African society will be studied by analyzing the social problems caused by these two socially destructive events. How may African societies use the development in genetic technology, information and communication technology, and other forms to enhance our situation in the global scheme of things? In order to accomplish this goal, first Africa must first realize that societies have social infrastructures that allow them to gain reliable information and use it. The Human Development Index should be used as a `bench mark` to guide and measure progress.
Africa should move from a cultural mind set in making decisions on a superstitious frame work and have a paradigm way of thinking. This involves a scientific approach to problem solving. There needs to be a plan involving Africans everywhere. Africans must study how societies functions. The following are social theorist who have studied societies. There are three recognized sociological founders that represent three sociological perspectives which should be studied to analyzed and appreciate societies. The three Major Perspectives in Sociology: I. Structural Functionalism, II.
Symbolic Interaction and III. Social conflict. I. Structural Functionalism – Scientific Sociology Structure may be defined as anything made up of a number of parts that are held together or put together in a particular way. Social Structure may be defined as the relative stable patterns that organize social relationships held together to provide the basic framework for society. Functionalism – the idea is that the most important thing of building a construction is that it is useful. Emile Durkheim theory: Structural Functionalism (google) and the influence of Technology
This theory holds that societies are complex systems whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability and how they perpetuate themselves and maintain stability and order. The structure of a society usually refers to the organized relationships within various institutions or organizations. The economic structure, or the organize relationship in the area of finances, separates the developed economies (producers) and the developing economies (consumers). This area is relies on the interaction of people knowing scientific principles where objectives are clear and measurable.
They state that societies perpetuate themselves through the functions of their social institutions and through social control. What are the rewards and punishments used to keep a society held together? Societies have similar social structures which perform similar, but not necessarily the same functions. The New African seeks to modify existing social institutions and include a new way, and Pan African way, of thinking about African social and economic needs. Social Institutions – African Cultural Adaptations

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