Teknologiaretoriikka suomalaisen todellisuuden konstruoimisen välineenä

The rhetoric of technology in shaping the social construction of Finnish reality

Technological rhetoric is increasingly influencing the conceptions and images of the Finnish society. This development has emerged in the 1990's with the rapid growth of computerized information systems. During the preceding decades national goal-setting was focused mainly on industrialization and the building of the welfare state. Yet in the 1990's, a strong emphasis on computer discourse and computer technologies has become observable both in the formulation of national goals and in public policies within several institutional sectors. In a speech in the spring of 1997 President Matti Ahtisaari characterized Finland as one of the first and leading information societies of the world, and outlined what this position implied in terms of societal goals and citizens' duties. The rapidly spreading rhetoric of technology has influenced goal-setting in several institutional realms. Science and technology have become increasingly integrated, and in this process innovation and innovativeness are emphasized rather than processess of creation and and creativeness. The key words in the programs of the Finnish State Board of Science and Technology are innovations and the national innovation system, and there is, furthermore, an emphasis on short term strategies. This rhetoric has had an impact on the language and terminology of the social sciences as well. Patterns of human interaction are increasingly described as networks in the sense of this word is used in computer discourse. A similar observation can be made about the word risk, which has been made popular particularly by Ulrich Beck's conception of the risk society, and which in its sociological usage has derived its meaning from nuclear technology.

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