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close this bookScience and Technology in the Transformation of the World (UNU, 1982, 496 p.)
close this folderSession V: From intellectual dependence to creativity
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View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsReport on session V
Open this folder and view contentsLa apropiación y la recuperación de las ciencias sociales en el contexto de los proyectos culturales endógenos
Open this folder and view contentsOn the edge of a razor blade: the new historical blocs and socio-cultural alternatives in Europe
Open this folder and view contentsScience and technology in the history of modern Japan: imitation or endogenous creativity?
Open this folder and view contentsScience and technology as an organic part of contemporary culture
Open this folder and view contentsJoseph Needham's contribution to the history of science and technology in China


Gregory Blue

As observed by Dr. Pinguelli Rosa in one of the last interventions in the conference's fifth session, there was to be witnessed throughout almost the entire proceedings a marked ambivalence towards contemporary science and technology. It can be argued this ambivalence was a reflection of the objective but contradictory roles which they are and will be required to fulfill. The contradictory potentials of science and technology were brought home forcefully by Drs. Pecujlic and Vidakovic when they evoked the image of the "two faces" which they exhibit, and implications for the social sciences were raised by Dr. Bonfil Batalla.

Although their functions in the modern world may indeed be variable, science and technology nevertheless constitute organic components of contemporary culture, as pointed out by Dr. Damjanovic: they affect every society vitally through their impact on production. As distinct from other aspects of culture, however, they are necessarily rooted in an international or universal dimension. Historical light was thrown on the differential aspects of scientific and technological universality by Mr. Bluets discussion of Joseph Needham's work on the history of science in China and the West and by Dr. Nakeaka's detailed account of the mastering of metallurgical techniques in Japan in the nineteenth century.

Dependence by Third World countries in the fields of science and technology has been and continues to be an essential but nevertheless distinct part within the general structure of domination to which these countries have been subjected. Unfortunately, because the various non-European civilizations have to one extent or another been subject to European domination in general and also to modern science and technology, whose development has for a relatively long period of time been centred within the European cultural area, there has arisen a now widespread notion that proficiency in science and technology are uniquely European traits. In this fifth session, special attention was paid to refuting this thesis in the presentations by Mr. Blue and Dr. Nakaoka in relation to the natural sciences and technology, in that by Dr. Bonfil Batalla in relation to the social sciences, and during the discussion in the intervention by Dr. Pandeya.

All five of the position papers presented emphasized that for Third World peoples to overcome dependence in the fields of science and technology it is necessary to rely on and strengthen endogenous facilities and potentials while simultaneously drawing on global achievements in all fields. The importance of achieving endogenous creativity was likewise stressed throughout the session.

Anouar AbJel-Malek, Salustiano del Campo Urbano, Celso Furtado, Alexander Kwapong, Imre Marton, A.N. Pandeya, Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, and Immanuel Wallerstein took part in the discussion.