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Running head: MODERNITY 0

Machine and Technology Development Should Be Celebrated

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Complications detected by Lecturer

Instructions provided by the lecturer

Main points of the Instructions

The lecturer only went through the Introduction and she said this is the main part she wants to be perfect. Again, things Lecturer were so concerned about if I used same ideas or claims of the 1st essay in this one. (Thus it has to be from totally different perspective than the 1st one in body paragraphs which believe you did, still have a read through both essays and please check if there is any similarity, so that I don’t get caught for using same themes as the 1st essay in this essay.)

And after fixing the complications of Introduction(giving it a different viewpoint) please make sure the conclusion is also fixed as Conclusion is about confirming thesis and summarizing main points, concluding sentence and taking back to topic.


Similar to individualism, modernity could be referred as a socio-politico-economic spectacle which gradually started during the end of Middle Ages and after enlightenment standards and potential of growth through science, technology, and machine development started to grow. It is known that the growth of industrialization especially during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries introduced an unprecedented degree of change in those societies. It should be remembered that these changes were influenced by economic imperatives of the growing systems of capitalism, whose settings of possibility were partly constituted by industrialization.

The machine and technology development introduced changes in the production especially through the mechanization and proliferation in every aspect of human life.(Thesis statement? It conveys the same claim as the 1st essay. Change it, make a new claim and answer why machine and technology should not be celebrated from a new perspective which is different than the 1st one/essay, and write it down as a Thesis Statement) The pages below will be arguing why machine and technology should not be celebrated during the modernity age despite the improvement in the quality of life and transformations during productions. The paper will borrow some knowledge from two different filmmakers; Walter Guttmann and Charlie Chaplin, to show why the machine and technology were not to be celebrated in those times. (The outline needs to be Developed and more specific)


Though modernization is usually presented as a positive concept- foregrounding growth in scientific knowledge, social, economic effectiveness through process of streamlining, the elimination of oppressive misconceptions preferring empirical knowledge, and provision of the promise of future ideals where material needs could be satisfied with the help of technology development- limited explanation has been provided with regard to the negative impacts of the machine and technological improvement (Albrow,1996). In the real sense, the tussle between positive and negative effects of modernity or the machine and technology development, the complexity of the conflicting standards ascribed to modernity, could be responsible for the contemporary life.

According to McFarland(2014), the film medium in the nineteenth century provided the audience with new experiences through the imitation of parallel realism in varying temporalities. The author adds that film was not only fascinating the people in the twentieth-century audience through the enlargement of their world perception by showing them different occurrences but instead it was a medium which modernists used as an experimentation tool. One of those modernists was Walter Ruttmann.

Negative effects of machine and technological developments would be identified from a few of films made during those times, one of them being Berlin: Symphony of a Great City” by Walter Ruttmann. Before describing some of the reasons why machine and technology developments were not supposed to be celebrated, it should be noted that Berlin: Symphony of a Great City by Walter Ruttmann’s was a significant part of non-narrative real-time cinema. Produced in the year 1927, the film became a manual for documentary filmmaking method which was later adopted by various filmmakers. Throughout the city symphony, key characters are the city’s residents; the drops are buildings, streets, footways, and any other natural and industrial aspects of the city. It should be noted that a film is a form of realism on its purest as outlined through formalist approaches. Additionally, the movie includes a documentary with “filmic” influence to produce a mixture of a city’s life from morning to evening on each day.

Since the machine and technological developments lead to money oriented and a capitalist society (Dirlik, 2007), Walter manipulates the degree of its negative impacts on women and immorality. For instance, a woman is contemporary dressed and strolling around the streets though she appears more appealing compared to others. In other words, Walter presents immorality inform of prostitution and men who are financially stable probably due to the proceeds from working in the mechanized industries. Similarly, the women who are represented as prostitutes project the level of social classes in the city. This is because the theme of economic and social unrest is largely outlined in the film (Shiel & Fitzmaurice, 2003). It should, however, be noted that there is no clear conflict outlined in the film, though this conflict is noted in the images showing the life of two varying social classes. For instance, the political and senior officials in the governments are highly regarded as evidenced carrying banners and flags soldiers’ car while escorting these individuals. This class difference is additionally presented within the working class, especially between workers and their leaders. For instance, a man with a cap is seen in a moving image standing from podium fiercely raising his hands against people surrounding him. In other words, the proletariats and their leaders have each carved promoted a niche and self-worth through demonstration (Nichols, 2001). It is also worth noting that the machine and technological developments during modernity age posed a threat to the old way of living in those societies. From the film, a number of shots were comprised of automobiles, trolleys and alternative means of transport were seen. On the other hand, a fallen horse is captured in the streets, indicating that the old things were being destroyed with the arrival of new things in the society. Additionally, the presence of women posing as prostitutes suggested that the differences in class and levels of income affected the morals of that society.

Walter additionally represents Berlin city as an urban environment which is characterized by industries, automobiles, means of transportation, the presence of photo studio, the women seen walking around the streets among other things. Apparently, the extension and expansion of the city and urban surrounding, there developed an alarming human consequence of overcrowding, unsanitary environments, noise from the automobiles and other means of transportation and immorality. Similarly, though urbanization and mechanization benefited the capitalists, they concurrently undermined capitalism by escalating the revolutionary needs, especially from mass movements, with the intention of resisting modernity. In this case, the increased demand for industrialized products created the need for increased production which in turn necessitated the need for machinery resources (Mennel, 2008). Normally, a mechanized industry does not only play an important role in capitalism and increased production, but also it is designed to perform according to economic laws of the machinery. In other words, the machine cannot think like a human being, get fatigued, or become bored by performing the same task. Naturally, capitalists or industry owners will prefer the use of machinery over human being for increased productivity. With that said, it would be concluded that the people of that time feared for their jobs, as the use of machinery would reduce the number of people required to complete certain tasks.

For instance, in Modern Times (1936), a film by Charlie Chaplin, included the use of a wit to communicate in his film. Working as an anonymous employee and laboring in an assembly line struggles to tighten a bolt repeatedly. In this scenario, Charlie Chaplin argues that the machinery should be there to benefit humankind through reducing costs and improving his life and not alienating him from humanity. It should be noted that in Charlie’s movie, Modern Times (1936), the factory is very dynamically streamlined such that it becomes completely static in its repetition, in other words, the modernization ordering an effectiveness of motion (Stephens, 2011). Playing the role of a Tramp, he is driven mad by dehumanizing responsibility, and his madness, he becomes a creator, a magician of stasis, a transformer transmitting the energy to provide life where there was none before (Segerlin, 2013). However, after his assembly line breakdown, the Tramp is seen in the firms’ generator room, happily pulling the secretive and irresistible levers while the muscle-bound mechanic unsuccessfully tries to match Charlie’s energy and correct the damage which was caused by his rebellious ballet (Robinson, 1985;Jimmy, 2009). From the film, the failure of the machine during working hours would cause a number of damages in the factory or on the workers. Therefore, the use of the machine and technological tools during the modern age was not supposed to be celebrated.

Even though modernity or industrialization had significant improvements in those societies in terms of communication and industrial productivity, the concept of human was affected by the very forces of a machine and technological developments such as automation and rationalization in terms of regulation and standardization, which made modernity possible. It should be noted that though there was industrial transformation, societies during the modernity age were facing a number of problems (Buzan & Lawson, 2013). For instance, sewing machines were developed for factory use and this transformed the shoe and clothing industry. As a result, production of shoes and clothes extended from domestic homes and retail shops into big, machine-driven environments run by impersonal abilities. Though the production of increase and price per unit reduced, the workers in these companies were suffering a loss of independence, low compensation, and harsh working conditions.

Individuals who existed during the machine and technological developments experienced more than technological changes. For them, machine and technological developments appeared to erase the primitive limits for human experience and to introduce a kind of New Age, where human beings had ultimately broken their chains. However, these changes were not easily accepted by those people since they affected them in a number of ways, some of them including reduced pay. Additionally, due to the division of work, as human beings were working as part of the processes in those industries, it was not possible to work from different positions but instead, he/she was supposed to work from one location. As a result, one was not able to acquire skills from other working stations, leading to reduced productivity.

Other than changing the phase of the working environments during the modernity age, machine and technological largely affected the integrity and structure of the family. It should be remembered that the developments were only experienced in urban areas, and therefore laborers were migrating from the rural areas into cities to work from there. As a result, individuals who were drawn from their homes to work in factories threatened their personal autonomy since they were no longer responsible for the works of their own hands. Basically, these laborers were only acted as components of a big machine operating a prescribed set of tasks, and instead not accountable for the whole production process (Giddens, 2004).

For instance in Walter’s film, Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927), there was a lot of immorality going on in the city. The women stalking around displayed the degree of irresponsibleness of the city men and women during these times. Considering the fact that the images were caption during day and night, Walter outlined that urbanization was a threat to spouses who were left behind in the rural areas. For instance, the man who was smoking his cigar when the contemporary dressed woman picked him, it is likely that he had left behind his wife and children in the rural area. Therefore, mechanization of industries and the improvement of the transportation system especially in Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) film affected the family structure. It is worth noting that the traditional structures of these families were equally affected by the movement of people from the rural areas into the urban areas. This meant that the traditional way of doing things as an extended family was equally affected.


When talking about the concept of modernity, a number of individuals would likely think that such concepts are associated with their contemporary age, featured by advanced technology. However from the discussion above, it has been established that modernity is not a period characterized by advanced technology, art, or by fashion, but instead, it is a period that saw the changes in the human thinking as well as relations. In addition, this change was accompanied by developments in related to machine and technological developments, which were the advents of the contemporary science, money-based economies, capitalism, and industrialization. However, as it has been discussed in the pages above, those changes were not to be celebrated due to the negative impacts they had on the population of those times. With the use of two filmmakers, the paper provided reasons why the machine and technological developments should not be celebrated.


Albrow, M. (1996). Global Age. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Buzan, B., & Lawson, G. (2013). The global transformation: The nineteenth century and the making of modern international relations1. International Studies Quarterly57(3), 620-634.

Dirlik, A. (2007). Global modernity: Modernity in the age of global capitalism. Paradigm Pub.

Giddens, A. (2004). Modernity and self-identity: self and society in the late Modern Age. Cambridge: polity.

Jimmy, S.(September, 2009). “Subverting the Spectacle of Modern Times: Charlie Chaplin and the Situationists”. [Online], Accessed from: http://lifewithoutbuildings.net/2009/09/subverting-the-spectacle-of-modern-times-charlie-chaplin-and-the-situationists.html

McFarland, R. P. (Ed.). (2014). Film and Literary Modernism. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Mennel, B. (2008). Cities and cinema. Routledge.

Nichols, B. (2001). Documentary film and the modernist avant-garde. Critical Inquiry27(4), 580-610.

Robinson, D. (1985). Chaplin, his life, and art. New York: McGraw-Hill

Segerlin, S. (September, 2013). “Charlie Chaplin: Laughing at Modernism”, [Online], Accessed from: http://crystalbridges.org/blog/charlie-chaplin-laughing-at-modernism/

Shiel, M., & Fitzmaurice, T. (2003). Screening the city. Verso.

Stephens, G. (October, 2011). “Biting Back at the Machine: Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times”, (Web), Senses of Cinema, Accessed from: http://sensesofcinema.com/2011/feature-articles/biting-back-at-the-machine-charlie-chaplins-modern-times/#1


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