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By Lelia Green

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Timothy Druckrey posits a progressive societal shift from ‘industrial culture to media culture to information culture to technoculture’ (1994, p. This book argues against such a progression: technoculture is not a time-bound social interval, but a communication context. If we decline to use ‘technoculture’ to mean ‘all technologies created through human culture’, and instead reserve it exclusively for ‘tools of mediated commu- Technoculture Pages 2/6/05 9:54 AM Page xxxi xxxi nication through which cultural material is created and circulated’, then its usefulness increases.

Each society operates to determine who will acquire this knowledge, and in which circumstances. In most western societies, access to knowledge is granted through a combination of education, application and ability. At one level, this appears to be access through merit. Increasingly, however, education and access to knowledge closely reflect indicators of social and economic advantage within society. Knowledge is no more neutral than technology. These patterns are further emphasised when a newly developed (hi-tech) technology is actually used.

This was not Edison’s viewpoint. It was he who, speaking from experience, coined the saying that invention ‘is 99 per cent perspiration and 1 per cent inspiration’. Hughes argues that Edison’s search for the elusive filament material for his incandescent light was conditioned as much by economics as by science: Wanting to reduce the current in order to lower conductor losses, [Edison] realized that he could compensate and maintain the level of energy transfer to the lamps by raising the voltage proportionately [energy transfer = current (Amps) ‫ ן‬volts].

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