PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Technological Culture in the Making

Irene Diaz-Garcia  

The presentation examines the role of communication media in the evolving of popular technological culture in advanced societies. The general discussion is illustrated by means of a case study: the influence of funny pages, and particularly the work of Gary Larson, in social images of technology during the transition from the Col War to our present globalized society. Gary Larson is a very well-known American cartoonist who, between 1980 and his retirement in 1995, published his series The Far Side in more than 1.900 newspapers and translated them into 17 languages. Larson's cartoons where scientific knowledge or technological artifacts are an essential element of the wit in either the drawing or the caption amount up to one third of his work. By comparing Larson's work with well-known science myths we try to show Gary Larson's cartoons both as shaping vector and a mirror of the social image of technology. As theoretical framework we use E. Aibar and M.A. Quintanilla's view of scientific culture as a two level phenomenon, including intrinsic and extrinsic dimensions.

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