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Journal Abstracts #6: Octoer 30, 2001


Journal Name: Prometheus, Volume 1, Number 2, December 1983



Technological Sovereignty: Forgotten Factor in the 'Hi-Tech' Razzamatazz
by Paul Grant
Technological sovereignty is the capability and the freedom to select, to generate or acquire and to apply, build upon and exploit commercially technology needed for industrial innovation. It is to be distinguished from technological self-sufficiency, which is the possession of, or the ability to generate readily, all technology required. Australia's past failure to take the sovereignty factor into account had far-reaching implications for future industry/technology strategy.
high technology, multinationals, product mandate, R&D, sovereignty, sunrise industries, technology

Rhetoric and Representation in Australian Science in the 1940s and 1980s
by Jean Moran
The title of this paper is not meant to imply comprehensive treatment of developments in Australian science from the 1940s to the 1980s. Its more modest objective is to isolate particular parallels in the debates and rhetoric about science in these two decades. It argues that shifting political and economic contexts condition scientists' preferred strategies of self-legitimation. These shifts may cause major realignments within the scientific power structure. Two such shifts occurred during the 1940s. Coinciding with the outbreak of World War II, the catchcry of "science for society" catalysed unprecedented moves to register science as a key national resource. But the project of the scientist as social engineer/mediator was not to be realised. With the onset of the Cold War, the scientific community reverted to the defence of autonomy and non-interventionism in scientific organisation. Scientific "excellence" rapidly replaced "relevance" as a justification for government support of science. The appeal to freedom from political interference remains a powerful article of faith within the stratified research hierarchy. Increasingly, however, the rationale of autonomy is out of step with the economic and political climate of the 1980s. Some exploratory observations are made about the legacy of the 1940s in the emerging current political debate about Australia's co-called "technological dependence" and a renewed concern about strategic relationships among science, technology, productivity and national wealth.
science history, Australian science, science and society, scientific values.

Technology: the Contingent Nature of its Impact
by Richard Dunford
The pervasiveness of microelectronic-based technologies and rising levels of unemployment have led to special attention being paid to the role of technology in the workplace. Prescriptive statements about this impact have failed to do justice to the contingent and contested nature of these changes. Recognition of the quasi-political nature of this process may disrupt the hygienic tone of these prescriptions, bur should lead to a more realistic appreciation of this process. This argument is illustrated with reference to both employment numbers and the nature of work.
Technology, productivity, social change, employment, technological change

Trade Unions, New Technology and Incomes Policy: Disclosure and Use of Company Information
by John Corina
This article views prospective change in the industrial relations system, during the Hawke government era, from an information system perspective. Exogenous forces emanating from technological change, cyclical and structural unemployment, and the framework of an incomes-prices policy, suggest that contentious policy issues of company information disclosure to unions and employees will occupy a prominent place on the agenda for the future of Australian industrial relations. Problems of disclosure are analysed against international trends, and reform proposals for Australian disclosure polices are critically examined. Some options are elaborated for the development of improved disclosure practices.
industrial relations trends, company information disclosure

High Technology Policy and the Silicon Valley Model: an Australian Perspective
by Stuart Macdonald
Australia seeks to emerge from the depths of recession and to break free form the syndrome of giving ever-increasing protection to a decaying manufacturing sector, by encouraging high technology industry. Silicon Valley, the home of much of the world's semiconductor industry, is often seen as the appropriate model for the development of such industry. For those used to dealing with the siting and encouragement of conventional industry, it can seem that high technology industry, with no heavy raw material input of bulky product output and requiring no large labour pool or local market, in fact has no special requirements at all. Others look to the Silicon Valley model and plan science or technology parks to reproduce the factors they believe responsible for that phenomenon. For example, great emphasis is generally placed on proximity to universities, apparently in ignorance of the very minor role universities played in the growth of the semiconductor industry, and of the great practical divide between science and technology. Vital factors, such as the ready information flow achieved by high mobility of those in high technology industry, are ignored. The Australian situation is complicated further by competition among the States to attract high technology industry, a competition that tends to emasculate national policy. Yet this situation is really just a local representation of what is happening internationally among countries and among regions within those countries. This desperation to leap blindly into high technology, whatever it is and whatever the cost, by following a model that is scarcely understood, is unlikely to produce the huge rewards so many policy makers anticipate are so readily available.
high technology, science policy, Silicon valley

The Failture of a New Communications Technology in a Large Hospital Organisation
by Ann. M. Brewer
The failure of a Patient Monitor Nurse Call (PMNC) system in a large metropolitan teaching hospital is reported and an evaluation is carried out to establish the reasons for failure and future design requirements.
patient monitor nurse call system, communication technology, hospitals, nursing

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