The Technological Society

The Technological Society

4.24 (442 ratings by Goodreads)
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."..He goes through one human activity after another and shows how it has been technicized, rendered efficient, and diminished in the process."- Harper's Magazineshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 449 pages
  • 109.22 x 182.88 x 25.4mm | 294.83g
  • Random House USA Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0394703901
  • 9780394703909
  • 25,341

Back cover copy

A penetrating analysis of our technical civilization and of the effect of an increasingly standardized culture on the future of more

Review quote

"Jacques EIlul is a French sociologist, a Catholic layman active in the ecumenical movement, a leader of the French resistance in the war, and -- one is tempted to add, after reading his book -a great man. Certainly he has written a magnificent book. ... The translation by John Wilkinson is excellent. "With monumental calm and maddening thoroughness he goes through one human activity after another and shows how it has been technicized -- rendered efficient -- and diminished in the process.... " -- Paul Pickrel, Harper's "The Technological Society is one of the most important books of the second half of the twentieth century. In it, Jacques Ellul convincingly demonstrates that technology, which we continue to conceptualize as the servant of man, will overthrow everything that prevents the internal logic of its development, including humanity itself -- unless we take the necessary steps to move human society out of the environment that 'technique' is creating to meet its own needs." -- Robert Theobald, The Nation ..".The effect is a contained intellectual explosion, a heated recognition of a tragic complication that has overtaken contemporary society." -- Scott Buchanan, George Washington Law Reviewshow more

Review Text

An extravaganza of socio-political and philosophical pessimism, this is a unique achievement which both adds to and stands apart from what is probably the most persistent strain in modern Western thinking. It has been most consistently covered up by the anti-technologists and/or the anti-utopians, people like Spengler, Seidenberg, Junger, Rousset. Published in France 10 years ago, this hammer-and-tong polemic has not been dimmed by the time lag, nor has the cool contempt of Professor Ellul's observations. A mammoth study, its analysis of the collectivist ethos, whether democratic or authoritarian, is the most comprehensive to date. Ellul defines technology as an autonomous fact, an historical process in which organizational means become ends in themselves, leading to standardization, individual repression, and a golden scientific age whereby man "will be capable of 'happiness' amid the worst privation." Ellul illumines the fundamental assertions of economics, psychology, government and culture, the uses of planning, automation, propaganda, biology and statist disciplines. He moves in and out of what he takes to be the various kinds of window-dressing of the age: Marxist materialism, free mart theorizing, revolutionary nationalism, voting blocs, public opinions, etc. It is a phenomenological approach. Some may regret the reductionism (absolute efficiency equalling absolute power equalling techniquel and it is unfortunate there's no rebuttal of such well known adversaries as Skinner and Lasswell. But his focus on l'univers concentrationnaire in-the-making shakes up complacency to its marrow. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

442 ratings
4.24 out of 5 stars
5 49% (218)
4 32% (141)
3 14% (62)
2 3% (14)
1 2% (7)

Our customer reviews

If you, like me, enjoy annotating your books, you should know that the margins on this edition make it nearly impossible to do more
by Mr. Underhill
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