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Technology and social control: The role of electronic control technology

McMahon, Peter John (1996) Technology and social control: The role of electronic control technology. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The intention of this dissertation is to better locate aspects of discourse on technology within the social sciences, especially the discipline of international political economy. To do this, I have focused on the idea of control, a concept which is applicable to both social organization and technological systems.

In the first chapter I develop the concept of control and outline its relationship to existing modes of social analysis. I identify the specific politics of control and discuss the role of electronic information processing and communications technology in social change. In Chapter Two I place the origins of electronic control technology (telegraphy, telephony and radio) within the wider euro-centric but tendentially global liberalinternationalist order dominant during most of the nineteenth century. In Chapter Three I consider the development of electronic control technology, including institutional formation, within the context of US industro-militarist development from around the end of the nineteenth century to 1945. Chapter Four is concerned with a study of the rise to central importance of microelectronics-based control technology in a context of post-war US hegemony. In Chapter Five I examine the construction anew of transnational politico-economic control arrangements dominated by transnational corporations and growing financial market structures, and the role of globally capable telematic networks in this development. Finally, in the last chapter, I attempt to identify and analyse the key characteristics of the emergent new world order, which I describe as cyber-financial, and which I consider to be a synthesis of preceding social control structures.

Aside from Chapter One, the procession of argument is roughly historical, covering around a century and a half, but with specific themes being dominant in each chapter. Methodologically, the dissertation is an attempt to further synthesize existing history and commentary in the light of manifest global change currently underway.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Barns, Ian
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