The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Technology as a System

seoul subway map, originally uploaded by oceandesetoiles.

Technology is an abstract concept that is multi-faceted and is therefore difficult to describe. Lorenzo Simpson (1995) defines technology as a “constellation of knowledge, processes, skills and products whose aim is to control and transform” (p. 16). To expand on this, Franklin (1999) believes that “technology is a system that goes beyond individual material components – it “involves organization, procedures, symbols, new words, equations, and most of all, a mindset” (p. 3). According to Murphie and Potts (2003) technology also involves cultural values, ideologies, ethical concerns and is shaped by political and economic determinants (p. 4).

In thinking of technology as a system I chose an image of the Seoul subway map. The subway is a system that works to control the movement of people across the city. The map looks complex however it is based on an organized system that relies on procedures, processes, knowledge and symbols. Culturally, the subway system is woven into the everyday lives of many individuals. Ethically, public transport allows us to be more environmentally friendly. Economically, public transport is an affordable way to travel. Ultimately, the subway map illustrates how many small and simple systems (routes) can work together to form a more complex whole.


Franklin, U. M. (1999). The real world of technology. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, Inc.

Murphie, A., & Potts, J. (2003). Culture and technology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Simpson, L. (1995). Technology and the conversations of modernity. New York: Routledge.

1 comment

1 Diddly { 09.15.09 at 2:16 pm }

Hello. Really good definitions of technology. They helped me to understand the concept. Thanks

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