Article ID: CBB001213862

Technology and Global Politics: The Modern Experiences of Bertrand Russell and John H. Herz (2013)


As questions of technology and world government are returning to the agenda of International Relations (IR), there is a risk that technology is approached in a simple, instrumentalist manner. Beginning from an overview of the overwhelmingly instrumental approaches to technology lodged in the dominant traditions of IR, the article revisits the post-war decades when scholars thought profoundly about the impact of technology on global politics. Combining the history of (international) political thought, IR theory, and Science and Technology Studies (STS) the article examines the relationship between technology and politics, authority, and liberty in the thought of Bertrand Russell (1872--1970) and John H. Herz (1908--2005), which leads to the unearthing of a sophisticated and complex set of ideas. Particularly during the nuclear revolution, these figures developed global visions in which the interrelations among technology, security, democracy, sustainability, and freedom were critical. Russell and Herz's approaches to technology and (global) politics are insightful and relevant for IR's attempt to re-engage with technology: by anticipating contemporary critical and reflexive approaches to technology, they can help bridge the fields of IR and STS and open new avenues for research. The Large Technical Systems (LTS) approach within STS is used to exemplify this possibility.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Simonsen, Dorthe Gert; (January 2018)
Island in the Air: Powered Aircraft and the Early Formation of British Airspace (/isis/citation/CBB457178104/) unapi

Article Laborie, Léonard; (2011)
Fragile Links, Frozen Identities: The Governance of Telecommunication Networks and Europe (1944--53) (/isis/citation/CBB001210210/) unapi

Article Jessamyn R. Abel; (January 2021)
Technologies of Cold War Diplomacy: Transforming Postwar Japan (/isis/citation/CBB052338530/) unapi

Chapter Weinberger, Hans; (2001)
The Neutrality Flagpole: Swedish Neutrality Policy and Technological Alliances, 1945--1970 (/isis/citation/CBB000350121/) unapi

Book Cullather, Nick; (2010)
The Hungry World: America's Cold War Battle against Poverty in Asia (/isis/citation/CBB001212219/) unapi

Article Gerlini, Matteo; (2010)
Waiting for Dimona: The United States and Israel's Development of Nuclear Capability (/isis/citation/CBB001213842/) unapi

Book Huub Dijstelbloem; (2021)
Borders as Infrastructure: The Technopolitics of Border Control (/isis/citation/CBB684823908/) unapi

Article Wyk, Martha van; (2010)
Sunset over Atomic Apartheid: United States--South African Nuclear Relations, 1981--93 (/isis/citation/CBB001213843/) unapi

Article Chen, Changwei; (2013)
Shifting Interests: Whitlam, Britain and French Nuclear Tests in the South Pacific (/isis/citation/CBB001212389/) unapi

Article Lucy Suchman; Karolina Follis; Jutta Weber; (November 2017)
Tracking and Targeting: Sociotechnologies of (In)security: (Introduction) (/isis/citation/CBB721841161/) unapi

Article Macfarlane, Daniel; (2013)
“A Completely Man-Made and Artificial Cataract”: The Transnational Manipulation of Niagara Falls (/isis/citation/CBB001213629/) unapi

Book Senechal, Marjorie; (2013)
I Died for Beauty: Dorothy Wrinch and the Cultures of Science (/isis/citation/CBB001213181/) unapi

Book Russell, Bertrand; Griffin, Nicholas; Miculan, Alison Roberts.; (2001)
Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell: The Public Years, 1914-1970 (/isis/citation/CBB000102287/) unapi

Book Irvine, A.D.; Wedeking, G.A.; (1993)
Russell and analytic philosophy (/isis/citation/CBB000064331/) unapi

Essay Review Klement, Kevin C.; (2007--2008)
A New Century in the Life of a Paradox (/isis/citation/CBB001567033/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Wedeking, G. A.
Detlefsen, Michael
Landini, Gregory
Hunter, Graeme K.
Irvine, A. D.
Shanker, Stuart G.
Australian Journal of Politics and History
Cold War History
Technology and Culture
Journal of Contemporary History
Diplomatic History
History and Technology
University of Toronto Press
State University of New York Press
Harvard University Press
Oxford University Press
University of New Mexico Press
Technology and politics
International relations
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Cold War
Communication technology
Russell, Bertrand Arthur William
Whitlam, Gough
Wrinch, Dorothy Maud
Pauling, Linus Carl
United States
Great Britain
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
19th century
20th century, early

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment