ABSTRACT

This chapter attempts to sort through different frameworks for understanding what technologies are, and how they relate to the food we produce and consume. There are three main theories on the relationship of technology to society: neutrality, autonomy, and social construction. The theory of technological neutrality defines technology in terms of its technical properties. In the neutrality model, food production is evaluated in terms of its consequences. The concern is about the product, not the technology. According to autonomous technology theory, humans no longer control technology instead, it controls us. In the model of autonomous technology, food production is seen as an example of technological rationality: a mindset that takes a detached, objective, and overly scientific view of the world. The social construction of technology is the idea that society simultaneously shapes technology as technology shapes society. A constructivist model is a better way of understanding what technologies are and how they relate to food production and food consumption.