Technological Shortcuts to Social Change

Technological Shortcuts to Social Change

AMITAI ETZIONI
RICHARD REMP
Copyright Date: 1973
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 244
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610441902
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  • Book Info
    Technological Shortcuts to Social Change
    Book Description:

    Evaluates a technological approach to social change which seeks to cure society's ills by dealing with its symptoms, rather than root causes. It examines four such technological shortcuts in terms of their relevance to specific social problems: methadone in controlling heroin addiction; antabuse in treating alcoholism; the breath analyzer in highway safety; and gun control in reducing crime. The authors seek solutions which do not require large amounts of new resources or planning, and will accelerate the pace of social change. They indicate that technological handling of such problems may be the answer.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-190-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Education, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[viii])
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    We started the research project reported here with one question in mind: can new technologies be used to reduce significantly the costs and pains of needed social changes and to accelerate their pace? Recognizing that remedial social change is usually slow, expensive, and tortuous, we examined six “cases,” not so much in order to study these particular ones, but rather to gain an insight into the opportunities and limitations of technological shortcuts. The cases examined include two medical ones (methadone for heroin addiction, antabuse for alcoholism); an educational one (instructional television-lTV); one dealing with violent crimes (gun control); one dealing...

  4. 1 METHADONE: A SHORTCUT FOR THE TREATMENT OF HEROIN ADDICTION?
    (pp. 5-52)

    Methadone is a long-acting narcotic which, given in sufficient doses, is reported to block the euphorigenic effects of heroin and other opiates. The drug has long been used in small doses or rapidly decreasing doses for withdrawal treatment of drug addicts. Only recently, prolonged, relatively highdosage maintenance on methadone has been medically attempted in order to keep people off heroin, as distinct from just getting them to break the habit of using it.¹

    The pioneering work with methadone as a maintenance drug was conducted by Dr. Vincent Dole and Dr. Marie Nyswander. The program was launched at Rockefeller University with...

  5. 2 ANTABUSE
    (pp. 53-78)

    The possibility of using antabuse¹ (disulfiram) in the treatment of alcoholism was first detected by Drs. Erik Jacobsen and Jens RaId in Denmark in 1945.² As in many such discoveries, accident played a large part. Jacobsen was testing the drug for use in the control of parasitic intestinal worms. In keeping with his policy of never giving a drug to a patient without first testing it on himself, he took a small dose. Some hours later, at a dinner party, he became physically ill with just a few sips of beer.³

    The first reports on the drug and its possible...

  6. 3 ALCOHOL AND TRAFFIC SAFETY: SCREENING OUT THE DRUNKEN DRIVER
    (pp. 79-102)
    Lily Hoffman

    In both human and economic terms traffic accidents are a major social problem. In 1969, there were 56,400 deaths, two million disabling injuries, and costs (medical expenses, insurance, property damage, wage loss) of almost 12 billion dollars.¹ Alcohol is conceded to be one of the major if not the most important causal factors in fatal and severe traffic accidents.² Several well-controlled studies have shown that 44–60 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes have blood alcohol levels (BALs) greater than .10 percent (a level that is generally agreed will cause significant impairment), and there is similar though less spectacular...

  7. 4 A TECHNOLOGY WHOSE REMOVAL “WORKS”: GUN CONTROL
    (pp. 103-152)

    The enactment of gun controls, or legal restrictions on the private possession of firearms, has frequently been presented as a means of reducing the rates of violent crime and accidental death and injury in the United States. Since guns are more widely owned and less strictly regulated in the United States than in most other industrial countries the question arises as to whether the sheer physical availability of guns contributes in a major fashion to the American rates of murder, suicide, and accidental death. Does the presence of approximately 90 million guns in the country, with one-half of the households...

  8. 5 CONCLUSIONS
    (pp. 153-226)

    We have traced in some detail how a variety of technological shortcuts can contribute to the solution or reduction of a number of domestic problems. We have been concerned both with the effects of the use of technological shortcuts, and with the quality of the data reporting those effects. Up to this point this dual concern (imposed by the necessity of evaluating the adequacy of the information bearing on the technologies’ effectiveness) has been fused in our discussion. Turning now from the specific cases of technological remedies to a more abstract and general consideration of technological shortcuts, we will be...

  9. INDEX
    (pp. 227-235)