To read this content please select one of the options below:

Section 2: Introduction

Cultures of Contamination

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1371-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-460-7

Publication date: 16 May 2007


In a seminal essay, Mumford (1963) argued that society is forced to adapt to the demands of the technological systems it chooses. He distinguished between what he called “Authoritarian” and “Democratic” technics. Societies choosing the former path select technological and energy systems that are high risk and therefore demand authoritarian, centralized, secretive and closed social controls. In contrast, the second low-risk path allows for decentralized, open, participatory and democratic control. The two directions, and thus the resulting social forms, could not be more contradictory.1 Democratic technics, not Authoritarian, are necessary for a sustainable future.


Edelstein, M.R. (2007), "Section 2: Introduction", Edelstein, M.R., Tysiachniouk, M. and Smirnova, L.V. (Ed.) Cultures of Contamination (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 14), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 141-145.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited