Of bicycles, bakelites and bulbs : toward a theory of sociotechnical change / Wiebe E. Bijker.

by Bijker, Wiebe ELooking glass.

Series: Inside technology: Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. ; MIT Press, 1995.Description: x,380 pages : illustrations ; 24cm.ISBN: 0262023768; 0262522276.
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Long loan Central Saint Martins
Main collection
Printed books 303.483 BIJ (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Issued 15/12/2021 11005076
Long loan London College of Communication
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Printed books 303.483 BIJ (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 40762777
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

This text crystallises and extends the 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 generalisations 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.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Bijker's book may be profitably read for the sake of the fine histories it presents on the development of the bicycle, Bakelite (the first synthetic plastic), and the fluorescent light. But through the telling of these stories, Bijker (Univ. of Limburg, Maastricht) has drawn together and expanded upon two decades of "science-technology-society" research to posit a theory of technological change as a social construct. He pursues his inquiry through the three case studies, each building on the other, examining how "relevant social groups" determined the development of the bicycle, discerning the "technological frame" (incorporating knowledge, goals, and values as well as artifacts) within which the development of Bakelite occurred, and explicating the shifting balance of power among the participants in the development of fluorescent lighting. In moving beyond the psychological treatment of the "lone genius" inventor and the purely scientific and technical aspects of invention to a theory of sociotechnology incorporating economics and politics, he finds that "the technical is socially constructed, and the social is technically constructed." For Bijker, this constructivist understanding of technology is not an end in itself, but should form the basis for a "politics of technology" that would empower society to effect technological change in a more positive fashion. Graduate; faculty. L. W. Moore; formerly, University of Kentucky