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Framing Production: Technology, Culture, and Change in the British Bicycle Industry

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Overview

The production of bicycles in Britain and the United States recently suffered severe setbacks. The renowned American Schwinn brand was downgraded to the mass market by its new owners following bankruptcy, and Britain's Raleigh came close to closure because of high debts and poor returns, saved only by a last-minute management buyout. In both cases, market share and credibility were lost to newer,
more innovative firms, as well as to a recentering of the global bicycle industry in the Far East.This book reflects on such changes by setting them within a sociological and historical context. It focuses on the British bicycle industry in the interwar years and in the 1980s and the 1990s--periods characterized by modernization of production and of industrial organization, by changing relations among players in the industry, by new developments in labor relations, and by changes in interactions between markets and product design. In particular, it traces the fortunes of the Raleigh Cycle Company from its beginnings as an innovative young firm, through massive expansion of its products and markets and the assimilation of many of its competitors, into further innovation amid market contraction and management inertia, and finally into a phase of global restructuring that has transformed and reduced its role within the industry.The book explores the complex ways in which product design, production methods, industrial organization, and the cultures of cycling have interacted to create a succession of sociotechnical frames for the bicycle. At the same time, on an activist level, the book promotes a participatory politics of bicycle technology and a less car-centered view of personal transportation.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Within the library of cycling (and with a far broader reach than just the bicycle), Rosen has made a significant start toward bridging the gaps between technological, business, manufacturing, and cultural history." Nicholas
Oddy
The Journal of Transport History

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262681704
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2008
  • Series: Inside Technology
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Rosen is Research Fellow in the Science and Technology Studies Unit at the
University of York.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Technology, Culture, and the Politics of the Bicycle 1
2 The Emergence of the British Bicycle Industry 29
3 Modernization, Competition, and Collaboration in the Sociotechnical Frame of British Mass Cycle Production 41
4 Working for Raleigh: Sociotechnical Change and the Relations of Production 75
5 The Destabilizing of Mass Production: Technological, Organizational, and Industrial Change 95
6 The Global Flexibilization of the Bicycle 119
7 Up the Velorution: Toward a Sociotechnical Frame of the Sustainable Bicycle 155
Epilogue 181
App. A: Interviewees 185
App. B: Documentary Sources 187
App. C Significant Events and Artifacts in the History of the Raleigh Cycle Company 193
Notes 197
Bibliography 207
Index 221
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