Arnold Pacey

Arnold Pacey is the author of The Culture of Technology, Meaning in Technology, and The Maze of Ingenuity, all published by the MIT Press. He is a recipient of the Leonardo da Vinci Medal for the History of Technology.

  • Technology in World Civilization, Revised And Expanded Edition

    Technology in World Civilization, Revised And Expanded Edition

    A Thousand-Year History

    Arnold Pacey and Francesca Bray

    The new edition of a milestone work on the global history of technology.

    This milestone history of technology, first published in 1990 and now revised and expanded in light of recent research, broke new ground by taking a global view, avoiding the conventional Eurocentric perspective and placing the development of technology squarely in the context of a “world civilization.” Case studies include “technological dialogues” between China and West Asia in the eleventh century, medieval African states and the Islamic world, and the United States and Japan post-1950. It examines railway empires through the examples of Russia and Japan and explores current synergies of innovation in energy supply and smartphone technology through African cases.

    The book uses the term “technological dialogue” to challenge the top-down concept of “technology transfer,” showing instead that technologies are typically modified to fit local needs and conditions, often triggering further innovation. The authors trace these encounters and exchanges over a thousand years, examining changes in such technologies as agriculture, firearms, printing, electricity, and railroads. A new chapter brings the narrative into the twenty-first century, discussing technological developments including petrochemicals, aerospace, and digitalization from often unexpected global viewpoints and asking what new kind of industrial revolution is needed to meet the challenges of the Anthropocene.

    • Paperback $40.00
  • Meaning in Technology

    Meaning in Technology

    Arnold Pacey

    A thoughtful meditation on the role of meaning and purpose in the development of technology.

    In previous books Arnold Pacey has written about the role of ideas and ideals in the creation of technology, about the global history of technology, and about how the complex interaction of political, cultural, economic, and scientific influences determines the course of technological practice. In Meaning in Technology, he explores how an individual's sense of purpose and meaning in life can affect the shape and use of technology. Stressing that there is no hierarchy of meaning in technology, he argues against reductionism in interpreting technology in a human context, and for acknowledgment of the role of the human experience of purpose when it helps to express meaning in technology. In the first part of the book, Pacey analyzes the direct experience of technology by individuals—engineers, mathematicians, craft workers, and consumers. He looks at music as a source of technology, at visual thinking, at tactile knowledge, and at the generation of social meaning. In the second part, he examines the contexts in which technology is used, relating technology to nature and society. He explores our sense of place and of our relationship with nature, environmental concerns, gender, and creativity. He concludes with a discussion of the possibilities of a more people-centered technology—a participatory, ethical experience of technology that values people as well as their environment.

    • Hardcover $50.00
    • Paperback $35.00
  • The Maze of Ingenuity, Second Edition

    The Maze of Ingenuity, Second Edition

    Ideas and Idealism in the Development of Technology

    Arnold Pacey

    From cathedrals to star wars, Arnold Pacey looks at the interaction of technologies and society over the last thousand years and uses that survey to argue for a more humane form of future technological development. The second edition of The Maze of Ingenuity concentrates on Europe and North America and incorporates recent insights from the history and sociology of technology. A new series of chapters extends Pacey's discussion of the role of ideas and ideals in technology in the period since the industrial revolution.

    ContentsThe Cathedral Builders: European Technical Achievement between 1100 and 1280 • A Century of Invention: 1250-1350 • Mathematics and the Arts: 1450-1600 • The Practical Arts and the Scientific Revolution • Social Ideals in Technical Change: German Miners and English Puritans, 1450-1650 • The State and Technical Progress: 1660-1770 • Technology in the Industrial Revolution • Conflicting Ideals in Engineering: America and Britain, 1790-1870 • Institutionalizing Technical Ideals, 1820-1920 • Idealistic Trends in Twentieth-Century Technology

    • Hardcover $45.00
    • Paperback $35.00
  • Technology in World Civilization

    Technology in World Civilization

    A Thousand-Year History

    Arnold Pacey and Francesca Bray

    Most general histories of technology are Eurocentrist, focusing on a main line of Western technology that stretches from the Greeks is through the computer. In this very different book, Arnold Pacey takes a global view, placing the development of technology squarely in a "world civilization." He portrays the process as a complex dialectic by which inventions borrowed from one culture are adopted to suit another.

    • Hardcover $30.00
    • Paperback $30.00
  • The Culture of Technology

    The Culture of Technology

    Arnold Pacey

    The Culture of Technology examines our often conflicting attitudes toward nuclear weapons, biological technologies, pollution, Third World development, automation, social medicine, and industrial decline. It disputes the common idea that technology is "value-free" and shows that its development and use are conditioned by many factors-political and cultural as well as economic and scientific. Many examples from a variety of cultures are presented. These range from the impact of snowmobiles in North America to the use of water pumps in rural India, and from homemade toys in Africa to electricity generation in Britain-all showing how the complex interaction of many influences in every community affects technological practice.

    Arnold Pacey, who lives near Oxford, England, has a degree in physics and has lectured on both the history of technology and technology policy, with a particular focus on the development of technologies appropriate to Third World needs. He is the author of The Maze of Ingenuity (MIT Press paperback).

    • Hardcover $22.50
    • Paperback $25.00