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The Author of the Passage Uses the Expression “Are Supposed To” in Third Para (Highlighled) Primarily in Order to - - English Language

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Read the following passage carefully and then answer the question that follows.

Surajendu Kumar’s study on the effect of the modernization of a Government Printing Press on Press maintenance work and workers is a solid contribution to a debate that encompasses two lively issues in the history and sociology of technology: technological determinism and social constructivism.

Kumar makes the point that the characteristics of a technology have a decisive influence on job skills and work organization. Put more strongly, technology can be a primary determinant of social and managerial organization. Kumar believes this possibility has been obscured by the recent sociological fashion, exemplified by Cravman’s analysis, that emphasizes the way machinery reflects social choices. For Cravman, the shape of a technological system is subordinate to the manager’s desire to wrest control of the labor process from the workers. Technological change is construed as the outcome of negotiations among interested parties who seek to incorporate their own interests into the design and configuration of the machinery. This position represents the new mainstream called social constructivism. The constructivists gain acceptance by misrepresenting technological determinism: technological determinists are supposed to believe, for example, that machinery imposes appropriate forms of order on society. The alternative to constructivism, in other words, is to view technology as existing outside society, capable of directly influencing skills and work organization. Kumar refutes the extremes of the constructivists by both theoretical and empirical arguments. Theoretically, he defines “technology” in terms of relationship between social and technical variables. Attempts to reduce the meaning of technology to cold, hard metal are bound to fail, for machinery is just scrap unless it is organized functionally and supported by appropriate systems of operation and maintenance. At the empirical level, Kumar shows how a change at the Printing Press from maintenance-intensive electromechanical devices to semi-electronic devices altered work tasks, skills, training opportunities, administration, and organization of workers. Some changes Kumar attributes to the particular way management and labor unions negotiated the introduction of the technology, whereas others are seen as arising from the capabilities and nature of the technology itself. Thus, Kumar helps answer the question: “When is social choice decisive and when are concrete characteristics of technology more important ?”

The author of the passage uses the expression “are supposed to” in third para (highlighled) primarily in order to -


  • define the generally accepted position of determinists regarding the implementation of technology

  • engage in speculation about the motivation of determinists

  • suggest that a contention made by constructivists regarding determinists is inaccurate

  • lend support to a comment critical of the position of determinists

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suggest that a contention made by constructivists regarding determinists is inaccurate


In the third paragraph, the passage states that  “constructivists gain acceptance by misrepresenting  technological determinism.” The passage follows this  claim with an example of this misrepresentation, stating  that “technological determinists are supposed to believe,  for example..” The expression was used in part to provide an example.   
(1) The passage indicates that the view attributed to the determinists is a misrepresentation, not one that is generally accepted by determinists.   
(2) The expression is part of a discussion about the motivation of constructivists, not determinists.  
(3) The third paragraph implies that the constructivist view of the determinists is inaccurate.   
(4) The expression is part of a discussion that is critical of the constructivists, not the determinists.  
Therefore, 'suggest that a contention made by constructivists regarding determinists is inaccurate' is the apt answer.

Concept: Comprehension Passages (Entrance Exams)
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