Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

SOC3061 – Lecture 07 1. “Relevant social groups” (SCOT) 2. “Technological systems” (Thomas Hughes)

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "SOC3061 – Lecture 07 1. “Relevant social groups” (SCOT) 2. “Technological systems” (Thomas Hughes)"— Presentation transcript:

1 SOC3061 – Lecture “Relevant social groups” (SCOT) 2. “Technological systems” (Thomas Hughes)

2 SCOT: ocial Construction Of Technology SCOT: Social Construction Of Technology Trevor Pinch, Wiebe Bijker. Relevant social group= people who share the meaning of the artefact. Not a static notion. Technological frame= goals, criteria for efficiency, theoretical assumptions, tacit knowledge, testing procedures. It refers to both technologists and users. People may be included in different degrees (low inclusion, high inclusion). Interpretive flexibility of an artefact= the same artefact can mean different things to different groups.

3 Case-study: the invention of the bicycle ( ) Different interpretations of early bikes within different social groups. “Bicycling is a healthy and manly pursuit, with much to be recommended to it, and unlike other foolish crazes it has not died out.” Daily Telegraph (1877) Risk versus safety. Stabilisation of the design: “safety bicycle” = low wheeled bicycle with rear chain drive, diamond frame and air tires.

4 Penny Farthing (1878)

5

6 Safety bicycle (circa 1887)

7 Conclusions 1. The machine works because it has been accepted by relevant social groups, 1. The machine works because it has been accepted by relevant social groups, rather than: rather than: The machine is accepted because it works. The machine is accepted because it works. “Working” is something to be explained sociologically. “Working” is something to be explained sociologically.

8 2. Therefore: technological artefacts are socially constructed and interpreted. There is not just one possible way to design/interpret an artefact. 3. Closure and stabilisation: a technical controversy is closed when the relevant social group(s) involved see the problem as being solved. Groups can establish alliances, as in the case of the air tire: sporting cyclists and general public see this object as a solution to their problems (speed/safety). Groups can establish alliances, as in the case of the air tire: sporting cyclists and general public see this object as a solution to their problems (speed/safety).

9 Some problems with this approach 1. Deals mainly with the design stage 2. The notion of closure seems too rigid 3. How about marginalised social groups? 4. It says little about social structure and power relations 5. It neglects the reciprocal relationship between artefacts and social groups. I.e.: Social groups shape artefacts, but their collective identities are reconstituted in the process (e.g. masculinity/dangerous bikes) I.e.: Social groups shape artefacts, but their collective identities are reconstituted in the process (e.g. masculinity/dangerous bikes)

10 Technological systems Thomas Hughes How do inventions come about? Against the popular image of the isolated genius and inventions as flashes of disembodied inspiration. Against the popular image of the isolated genius and inventions as flashes of disembodied inspiration. Invention as a gradual process that moves from existing technological/social conditions.

11 New technology does not come in the form of isolated devices but as part of a system. (Washing machine) New technology does not come in the form of isolated devices but as part of a system. (Washing machine) Case-study on Edison and the invention of the light bulb. - Edison is the head of various working units (one for each component). Connections with investors in NYC. - Edison is the head of various working units (one for each component). Connections with investors in NYC. - The design of the filament is shaped by cost analysis.

12

13 Therefore: economics+experimentation+science (esp.: cost of copper + few simple laws regulating the relations between current, voltage, and resistance) Main goal: reduce energy waste and raising voltage to transfer enough energy. Flashes of inspiration BUT within a highly structured context of conditions and goals that define problem.


Download ppt "SOC3061 – Lecture 07 1. “Relevant social groups” (SCOT) 2. “Technological systems” (Thomas Hughes)"

Similar presentations


Ads by Google