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Culture and Technology

Code: 106230 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504235 Science, Technology and Humanities OB 2 1


Xavier Roque Rodriguez

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
spanish (spa)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:

External teachers

Fernando Broncano Rodríguez


There are none.

Objectives and Contextualisation

To know the differences and influences between technological change and cultural change.
To become familiar with the major technological transitions.
To become familiar with the concepts of material culture.


  • Identify the various philosophical, ethical and sociological conceptions of science and technology and recognise their evolution throughout history.
  • Make critical use of digital tools and interpret specific documentary sources.
  • Recognise the political, social and cultural dimension of science and technology development in the different historical periods.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Work collaboratively in teams.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Assess the reliability of sources, select important data and cross-check information.
  2. Describe the concept of material culture and the relationship it has with technological development.
  3. Develop teamworking skills, blend in and actively collaborate in achieving common goals.
  4. Discern and discuss the theses of technological determinism and interaction between technology and culture.
  5. Present and interpret results from searches in bibliography and other important sources.
  6. Present your own scientific results to both professionals and the general public.
  7. Understand the most important relationships of dependency created between technology, science and culture.
  8. Understand the technological basis for the great cultural periods with regard to the possibilities for controlling matter, energy and information.


Part I. Theoretical aspects of technology as a cultural form
Cultural evolution and technical evolution
Dimensions of the technical control of reality: matter, energy and information
Technological revolutions and paradigms and economic and social transitions
The controversy over technological determinism in history

Part II. The great transitions in the relationship between technology and culture
Technical culture and homo sapiens: from lithic cultures to the neolithic revolution
Writing as information technology
The material culture of modernity
Steam and electricity: energy technologies and romantic culture
Modernism and the Second Industrial Revolution
The miniaturization of artifacts and the technologies of domestic and everyday life
Information technologies and the digitization of the world

The fourth industrial revolution


Cooperative learning.
Text discussion.
Classroom practices.
Essay writing.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Learning exercises 16 0.64 2, 3, 8, 5, 6, 1
Lectures 33 1.32 7, 2, 4, 8
Type: Supervised      
Essay supervision 4.25 0.17 3, 5, 6, 1
Type: Autonomous      
Essay writing and personal study 94.75 3.79 7, 2, 4, 8, 5, 6, 1


Partial essays about seminars.
Participation in seminars.
Final essay.

In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Exam 50% 2 0.08 7, 2, 4, 8
Final essay 25% 0 0 7, 2, 3, 4, 8, 5, 6, 1
Partial essays about seminars 10% 0 0 6, 1
Participation in seminars 5% 0 0 3, 6


Essential readings
George Basalla. La evolución de la tecnología. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1988.
Hans Blumenberg. Historia del espíritu de la técnica. Valencia: Pre-Textos, 2013.
Jacques Le Goff. Por otra Edad Media: tiempo, trabajo y cultur. Madrid: Taurus, 2020.
Javier de Lorenzo. Un mundo de artefactos. Madrid: Trotta, 2020.
Lewis Mumford. Técnica y Civilización. Logroño: Pepitas de Calabaza, 1934.
Lewis Mumford. El pentágono del poder. Logroño: Pepitas de calabaza, 1964.
Lewis Mumford. Arte y técnica. Logroño: Pepitas de calabaza, 1952.

Additional readings
David Edgerton. The Shock of the Old. Profile Books, 2008. Hay trad. cast.: Innovación y tradición. Historia de la tecnología moderna (Barcelona: Crítica, 2007). 
George Basalla. The Evolution of Technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Ian McNeill. An Encyclopedia of the History of Technology. London: Routledge, 1990.
Jared Diamond. Armas, gérmenes y acero. Barcelona: DeBolsillo, 2016.

Digital resources
Technology and culture: http://https://www.press.jhu.edu/journals/technology-and-culture


No specific software is required.