Social Determinism Vs Technological Determinism: My Views

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 748 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Words: 748|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Table of contents

  1. Technological Determinism vs Social Determinism
  2. Conclusion
  3. References

In the realm of technological and social determinism, two compelling theories have emerged, each offering unique perspectives on the relationship between technology and society. Technological determinism, propounded by Marshall McLuhan, posits that technology advances predictably and significantly shapes human events. Conversely, social determinists argue that societal, political, and economic factors influence technology's creation and utilization. In this essay, I will expound on my agreement with the social determinism theory, emphasizing the role of human agency and societal influence in shaping technology.

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Technological Determinism vs Social Determinism

The debate between technological and social determinism can be aptly illustrated through the example of the iPod. Technological determinists contend that the iPod's development was an inevitable consequence of the shrinking size of technology over time, with devices evolving from box radios to record players, walkmans, cassettes, and ultimately iPods. However, I firmly disagree with this perspective as it overlooks the profound influence of human ingenuity and decision-making in technological progress.

Social determinists, on the other hand, attribute the creation of the iPod to Steve Jobs' vision, driven by the desire to excel in a market initially established by the Sony Walkman. I align with this view, firmly believing that the power to innovate and shape technology lies within individuals. Humans are not mere passive recipients of technological advancements; rather, they are the driving force behind the design and development of machines. Our ever-evolving needs and preferences compel us to create products that align with our lifestyles and facilitate convenience. While technology does become smaller and more efficient over time, it is not a result of predetermined outcomes but a consequence of our deliberate choices and actions.

Society plays a pivotal role in propelling technology innovators to create new products that cater to evolving preferences. Take the example of Facebook, a social media platform designed to foster online networking and communication. Its inception aimed at facilitating interactions among college students. The success of Facebook, when compared to competitors like MySpace, underscores the societal influence on the operation of social networking platforms. It is society that shapes how these technologies function, not the other way around. Human beings have always sought ways to update their statuses and connect with others, and technology has adapted to fulfill these desires.

One aspect of technological determinism that I vehemently disagree with is its failure to recognize the creators behind technology. While technological determinists emphasize the inevitability of technological change, they often overlook the vital role played by individuals in conceiving and shaping these advancements. Technology and machines are entirely human creations, driven by human decision-making and innovation. It is essential to give credit to the ingenuity of individuals rather than attributing technological change solely to the machines themselves. In my view, we should acknowledge our agency in shaping technological progress.

Moreover, I challenge the assertion made by technological determinists that technological progress invariably leads to social progress. While technology has undoubtedly evolved over time, the notion that it inherently results in societal advancement is disputable. Instances exist where technological advancements have yielded positive outcomes, but there are equally numerous examples of negative consequences. Consider the development of advanced weaponry, which, while a testament to technological progress, has had decidedly adverse effects on society. Thus, the assumption that technological progress equates to social progress is overly simplistic and fails to account for the multifaceted impact of technology.

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In conclusion, my perspective aligns more closely with the theory of social determinism when considering the intricate interplay between technology and society. Technology is a product of societal influence, and it is never autonomous. We, as individuals and as a society, shape the trajectory of technological change. It is our perceptions, ideas, and decisions that ultimately drive technological innovation and its impact on our lives. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology, acknowledging our role as the architects of technological progress is crucial for understanding and shaping our future in an increasingly interconnected world.


  1. McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media: The extensions of man. McGraw-Hill.
  2. Marvin, C. (1988). When old technologies were new: Thinking about electric communication in the late nineteenth century. Oxford University Press.
  3. Winner, L. (1980). Do artifacts have politics? "Daedalus," 109(1), 121-136.
  4. David, P. A. (1985). Clio and the economics of QWERTY. "American Economic Review," 75(2), 332-337.
  5. Bijker, W. E., Hughes, T. P., & Pinch, T. J. (Eds.). (1989). "The social construction of technological systems: New directions in the sociology and history of technology." MIT Press.
  6. Tushman, M. L., & Rosenkopf, L. (1992). Organizational determinants of technological change: Toward a sociology of technological evolution. "Research in Organizational Behavior," 14, 311-347.
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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Social Determinism Vs Technological Determinism: My Views. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from
“Social Determinism Vs Technological Determinism: My Views.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
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