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A fateful conceptual gap separates the policy makers and managers charged with promoting technology, and the risk and technology assessors responsible for controlling it. This hampers the effective use of many new technologies, and prevents the development of others. The strategy of constructive technology assessment (CTA) addresses this gap through facilitating societal learning processes, and proposing a shared responsibility for the promotion and control of new technologies. Combining analysis of both cases and concepts, Managing Technology in Society confronts the underdevelopment of innovative potential for achieving goals of wealth, sustainability and safety. Factors that block change, as well as conditions for successful learning are identified in a wide-ranging selection of cases that encompass biotechnology, clean technologies, information and medical technologies. The contributors build on the convergence of recent theories on technical change within economics, sociology and the history of technology, to offer suggestions for CTA action, and so create a new paradigm of managing technology in society.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781855673403
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/1/1995
  • Pages: 300

Table of Contents

1 Constructive Technology Assessment: A New Paradigm for Managing Technology in Society 1
Pt. I The Constructive Technology Assessment Discourse 15
2 Technology Assessment and Reflexive Social Learning: Observations from the Risk Field 19
3 (Constructive) Technology Assessment: An Economic Perspective 37
Pt. II Steering Technology is Difficult but Possible 53
4 The Danish Wind-Turbine Story: Technical Solutions to Political Visions? 57
5 Steering Technology Development Through Computer-Aided Design 83
6 Risk Analysis and Rival Technical Trajectories: Consumer Safety in Bread and Butter 111
Pt. III Experiments with Social Learning 137
7 Learning About Learning in the Development of Biotechnology 141
8 User Representations: Practices, Methods and Sociology 167
9 Technologies as Social Experiments. The Construction and Implementation of a High-Tech Waste Disposal Site 185
10 Pollution Prevention, Cleaner Technologies and Industry 199
Pt. IV Constructive Technology Assessment: The Case of Medical Technologies 225
11 Why the Development Process Should Be Part of Medical Technology Assessment: Examples From the Development of Medical Ultrasound 231
12 Social Criteria in the Commercialisation of Human Reproductive Technology 261
13 Decision Structures and Technology Diffusion: Technical and Therapeutic Trajectories for Diabetes Care 285
Pt. V Theoretical Analysis of Possibilities for Change 305
14 Technological Conception and Adoption Network: Lessons for the CTA Practitioner 307
15 Firm Strategies and Technical Choices 331
Epilogue 347
Index 355
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