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Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change / Edition 1

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Overview

This book crystallizes and extends the important work Wiebe Bijker has done in the last decade to found a full-scale theory of sociotechnical change that describes where technologies come from and how societies deal with them. Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs integrates detailed case studies with theoretical generalizations and political analyses to offer a fully rounded treatment both of the relations between technology and society and of the issues involved in sociotechnical change.The stories of the the safety bicycle, the first truly synthetic plastic, and the fluorescent light bulb - each a fascinating case study in itself - reflect a cross section of time periods, engineering and scientific disciplines, and economic, social, and political cultures. The bicycle story explores such issues as the role of changing gender relationships in shaping a technology; the Bakelite story examines the ways in which social factors intrude even in cases of seemingly pure chemistry and entrepreneurship; and the fluorescent bulb story offers insights into the ways in which political and economic relationships can affect the form of a technology.Bijker's method is to use these case studies to suggest theoretical concepts that serve as building blocks in a more and more inclusive theory, which is then tested against further case studies. His main concern is to create a basis for science, technology, and social change that uncovers the social roots of technology, making it amenable to democratic politics.Inside Technology series

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Bijker has provided a useful text demonstrating the advantages ofopening up technological phenomena to relativist inquiry...a valuablecontribution to the important goal of redefining the relation betweenthe technical and the nontechnical." Steve Woolgar , New Scientist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262522274
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 1/3/1997
  • Series: Inside Technology
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 390
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Wiebe E. Bijker is Professor at Maastricht University and the author of Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change (MIT Press) and other books.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 King of the Road: The Social Construction of the Safety Bicycle 19
3 The Fourth Kingdom: The Social construction of Bakelite 101
4 The Majesty of Day light: The Social Construction of Fluorescent Lighting 199
5 Conclusion: The Politics of Sociotechnical Change 269
Notes 291
References 329
Name Index 355
Subject Index 363
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