Humanizing Science and Technology or Alienating the Learners? The Paradox of Sociology 5213, Science, Technology & Society
Best symbolized by the nuclear energy or genetic engineering, technology may bring benefits for unlimited prosperity on the one hand and risks of total destruction on the other. At my college of technology in a rural area is it most likely considered a means of career advancement while I teach the subject in the discipline of sociology, SOCI 5213-Science, Technology & Society, in the component of liberal arts education. Learning “a social history of American technology” (i.e., the title of one of the three textbooks), extra reading of “the McDonaldization of society” (i.e., another textbook’s title by the sociologist George Ritzer) and discussions over “clashing views in science, technology, and society” in Easton’s Taking Sides (e.g., his editions from 1995 to 2008) did not always go through along with the interests of the learners, both the students and professor, which may not necessarily be the main goal or interest of the small college of technology in America, one of the most technologized countries. During the period of teaching of the course for 10 years, the professor’s attempts to humanize science and technology faced the ambivalent challenge of the students seeking technology for career advancement while a larger question was being asked, the liberal arts education in a college of technology and in a world of technology – socially responsible citizens and technically skillful workers.
Keywords: Humanizing Science and Technology, The Paradox of Science and Technology, Technology and Liberal Arts Education, Socially Responsible Citizens, Technically Skillful Workers
Dr. Choichiro Yatani
Professor of Psychology, Dept of Social & Behavioural Sciences, State University of New York College of Technology at Alfred