How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)


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Product description Users have become an integral part of technology studies. Sold Out We're sorry to say this item has now sold out. There are over , more items in stock. Start browsing with our suggestions below. Browse Oxfam's Online Shop Charity gifts. About this item. Author s : Oudshoorn, Nelly and Trevor Pinch eds. We offer a no quibble returns policy as follows:. Read full returns policy.

It is strongly connected to Bloor's theory of social causation. When investigating beliefs, researchers should be impartial to the a posteriori attributed truth or falsehood of those beliefs, and the explanations should be unbiased. All arguments social, cultural, political, economic, as well as technical are to be treated equally.

Pinch, Trevor (John) 1952-

For example, having experienced the obvious success of the chain-driven bicycle for decades, it is tempting to attribute its success to its "advanced technology" compared to the "primitiveness" of the Penny Farthing , but if we look closely and symmetrically at their history as Pinch and Bijker do , we can see that at the beginning bicycles were valued according to quite different standards than nowadays.

The early adopters predominantly young, well-to-do gentlemen valued the speed, the thrill, and the spectacularity of the Penny Farthing — in contrast to the security and stability of the chain-driven Safety Bicycle. Many other social factors e. A weak reading of the Principle of Symmetry points out that there often are many competing theories or technologies, which all have the potential to provide slightly different solutions to similar problems. In these cases, sociological factors tip the balance between them: that's why we should pay equal attention to them.

A strong, social constructivist reading would add that even the emergence of the questions or problems to be solved are governed by social determinations, so the Principle of Symmetry is applicable even to the apparently purely technical issues. Interpretative flexibility means that each technological artifact has different meanings and interpretations for various groups.

Bijker and Pinch show that the air tire of the bicycle meant a more convenient mode of transportation for some people, whereas it meant technical nuisances, traction problems and ugly aesthetics to others. In racing air tires lent to greater speed. These alternative interpretations generate different problems to be solved. How should aesthetics, convenience, and speed be prioritized? What is the "best" tradeoff between traction and speed? The most basic relevant groups are the users and the producers of the technological artifact, but most often many subgroups can be delineated — users with different socioeconomic status, competing producers, etc.

Sometimes there are relevant groups who are neither users, nor producers of the technology, for example, journalists, politicians, and civil organizations. Trevor Pinch has argued that the salespeople of technology should also be included in the study of technology. Just as technologies have different meanings in different social groups, there are always multiple ways of constructing technologies.

A particular design is only a single point in the large field of technical possibilities, reflecting the interpretations of certain relevant groups.

Social shaping of technology References

The different interpretations often give rise to conflicts between criteria that are hard to resolve technologically e. Different groups in different societies construct different problems, leading to different designs.


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The first stage of the SCOT research methodology is to reconstruct the alternative interpretations of the technology, analyze the problems and conflicts these interpretations give rise to, and connect them to the design features of the technological artifacts. The relations between groups, problems, and designs can be visualized in diagrams. Over time, as technologies are developed, the interpretative and design flexibility collapse through closure mechanisms.

Two examples of closure mechanisms:. Closure is not permanent.


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New social groups may form and reintroduce interpretative flexibility, causing a new round of debate or conflict about a technology. For instance, in the s automobiles were seen as the "green" alternative, a cleaner environmentally-friendly technology, to horse-powered vehicles; by the s, new social groups had introduced new interpretations about the environmental effects of the automobile, eliciting the opposite conclusion.

This is the third stage of the SCOT methodology, but the seminal article of Pinch and Bijker does not proceed to this stage. Many other historians and sociologists of technology nevertheless do. For example, Paul N. Edwards shows in his book "The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America" [5] the strong relations between the political discourse of the Cold War and the computer designs of this era. He identifies the following specific limitations in social constructivism:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

For other uses, see Scot disambiguation. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This article is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic.

Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style.

How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)
How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)
How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)
How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)
How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)
How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)
How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)
How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)
How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology) How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (Inside Technology)

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