Engineering and Society: Working Towards Social Justice, Part II

Engineering and Society: Working Towards Social Justice, Part II

Decisions in the 21st Century

Caroline Baillie, George Catalano
ISBN: 9781598296624 | PDF ISBN: 9781598296655
Copyright © 2009 | 117 Pages | Publication Date: 01/01/2009

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Part II: Engineering Decisions in the 21st Century Engineers work in an increasingly complex entanglement of ideas, people, cultures, technology, systems and environments. Today, decisions made by engineers often have serious implications for not only their clients but for society as a whole and the natural world. Such decisions may potentially influence cultures, ways of living, as well as alter ecosystems which are in delicate balance. In order to make appropriate decisions and to co-create ideas and innovations within and among the complex networks of communities which currently exist and are shaped by our decisions, we need to regain our place as professionals, to realise the significance of our work and to take responsibility in a much deeper sense. Engineers must develop the 'ability to respond' to emerging needs of all people, across all cultures. To do this requires insights and knowledge which are at present largely within the domain of the social and political sciences but which need to be shared with our students in ways which are meaningful and relevant to engineering. This book attempts to do just that. In Part 1 Baillie introduces ideas associated with the ways in which engineers relate to the communities in which they work. Drawing on scholarship from science and technology studies, globalisation and development studies, as well as work in science communication and dialogue, this introductory text sets the scene for an engineering community which engages with the public. In Part 2 Catalano frames the thinking processes necessary to create ethical and just decisions in engineering, to understand the implications of our current decision making processes and think about ways in which we might adapt these to become more socially just in the future. In Part 3 Baillie and Catalano have provided case studies of everyday issues such as water, garbage and alarm clocks, to help us consider how we might see through the lenses of our new knowledge from Parts 1 and 2 and apply this to our everyday existence as engineers.

Table of Contents

Making Decisions in the 21st Century
Landmines and the War in Iraq
Hurricane Katrina and the Flooding of New Orleans
Disappearing Bumble Bees
Engineering and Traditional Approaches
Engineering and Freedom
Engineering and Chaos
Engineering and a Morally Deep World
Engineering and Globalism
Engineering and Love
Case Study Application
Final Thoughts

About the Author(s)

Caroline Baillie, University of Western Australia
Caroline Baillie is Chair of Engineering Education for the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics at the University of Western Australia. Before coming to Perth, Caroline was Chair of Engineering Education Research and Development at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, and she also held posts at Imperial College and the University of Sydney. Caroline is particularly interested in ways in which science and engineering can help to co-create solutions for the environment as well as social problems. She founded the global Engineering and Social Justice network in 2004 and applies this lens to her own technical work on low cost natural fiber composites for developing countries. Her not-for-profit organization Waste for Life works to create poverty-reducing solutions to environmental issues. Caroline is Editor of this series "Engineers, Technology and Society."

George Catalano, State University of New York at Binghamton
George D. Catalano is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He holds joint appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering. In addition, he serves as the director of the university wide honors program at Binghamton. Dr. Catalano earned a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Science degree also in aerospace engineering at Louisiana State University. Prior to his present position, he has served on the faculty at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright State University, Louisiana State University, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He also served as a visiting scholar at the Politechnic in Torino, Italy and at the Technical Institute in Erlangen, Germany. Dr. Catalanos research interests include turbulent fluid flows, low and high speed aerodynamics and experimental methods in physics, modeling ecosystems as well as learning strategies and paradigms, engineering ethics, engineering design and environmental ethics. He is listed in the Philosopher's Index for his published work in animal rights and environmental ethics. Dr. Catalano has over 150 technical and educational publications and has twice been selected as a Fulbright Scholar in recognition of his work in turbulent fluid mechanics.


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