Author: Lewis Mumford
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2000
Genre: Social Science
A CLASSIC EXPLORATION OF THE MORAL PREDICAMENT OF ART IN A TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY Lewis Mumford -- architectural critic, theorist of technology, urbanologist, city planner, cultural critic, historian, biographer, and philosopher -- was the author of more than thirty influential books, many of which expounded his views on the perils of urban sprawl and a society obsessed with "technics". Featuring a new introduction by Casey Nelson Blake, this classic text provides the essence of Mumford's views on the distinct yet interpenetrating roles of technology and the arts in modern culture. Mumford contends that modern man's overemphasis on technics has contributed to the depersonalization and emptiness of much of twentieth-century life. He issues a call for a renewed respect for artistic impulses and achievements. His repeated insistence that technological development take the Human as its measure -- as well as his impassioned plea for humanity to make the most of its "splendid potentialities and promise" and reverse its progress toward anomie and destruction -- is ever more relevant as the new century dawns.
Author: Lewis Mumford
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2010-10-30
Technics and Civilization first presented its compelling history of the machine and critical study of its effects on civilization in 1934—before television, the personal computer, and the Internet even appeared on our periphery. Drawing upon art, science, philosophy, and the history of culture, Lewis Mumford explained the origin of the machine age and traced its social results, asserting that the development of modern technology had its roots in the Middle Ages rather than the Industrial Revolution. Mumford sagely argued that it was the moral, economic, and political choices we made, not the machines that we used, that determined our then industrially driven economy. Equal parts powerful history and polemic criticism, Technics and Civilization was the first comprehensive attempt in English to portray the development of the machine age over the last thousand years—and to predict the pull the technological still holds over us today. “The questions posed in the first paragraph of Technics and Civilization still deserve our attention, nearly three quarters of a century after they were written.”—Journal of Technology and Culture
This volume brings together representative selections of Lewis Mumford's major writings on the central concerns of his life. Praised by Malcolm Cowley as "the last of the great humanists," Mumford (1895-1990) produced a body of cultural criticism and commentary that for its range and richness is unmatched in modern American letters. Author of countless articles and more than thirty books - including the landmark works The Culture of the Cities and The City in History -Mumford is arguably this century's foremost architectural critic. In addition, he shaped some of the most important public policy debates of our time, writing with vigor on such issues as urban development, transportation policy, land planning, the environment, nuclear disarmament, and the problems and promises of technology.
With the publication of this remarkable book in 1998, Gustavo Esteva and Madhu Suri Prakash instigated a complete epistemological rupture. Grassroots Post-modernism attacks the three sacred cows of modernity: global thinking, the universality of human rights and the self-sufficient individual. Rejecting the constructs of development in all its forms, Esteva and Prakash argue that even alternative development prescriptions deprive the people of control over their own lives, shifting this control to bureaucrats, technocrats and educators. Rather than presuming that human progress fits a predetermined mould, leading towards an increasing homogenization of cultures and lifestyles, the authors argue for a ‘radical pluralism’ that honours and nurtures distinctive cultural variety and enables many paths to the realization of self-defined aspirations. This classic text is essential reading for those looking beyond neoliberalism, the global project and the individual self.