New Media Challenges - 2021
SCOT (Social construction of technology) grew out of the combination of three distinct bodies;
STS: To enrich (verrijken) of the learning plans of WO and secondary schools through learn
the toppics: the risks of nuclear energy (kernenergie), the proliferation of nuclear arms
(kernwapens) , and environmental pollution.
SSK: The central methodological terms of ‘strong program’ seemed applicable (toepasbaar)
The history of technology: the increasing number of developers started questioning
theoretical and sociological questions.
SCOT come in a wide variety forms;
Mild: for the importance of including social context when describing the development of
science and technology.
Radical: Not from the nature, but existing through social processes.
Negative starting point for SCOT was to criticize technological determinism.
Technological determinism was taken to comprise two elements:
1. Technology develops autonomously
2. Technology determines societal development to an important degree
Present research in SCOT combines ongoing empirical case studies with more general questions
about the modernization of society, the politicization of technological culture, and the management
of innovation. SCOT can lead out in three consecutive research steps:
1. Relevant social group and interpretive flexibility. Relevant social groups can be identified by
looking for actors who refer to the artifact in the same way. Because the description of an
artifact through the eyes of different relevant social groups produces different descriptions,
researcher is able to demonstrate the ‘interpretive flexibility’ of the artifact. There is not one
artifact, but there are many.
2. The researcher follows how interpretive flexibility diminishes (verminderd). Closure and
Stabilization are used to describe the result of the process of social construction.
Stabilization stresses (benadrukt) process: The process of social construction can take many
years, the stabilization is increasing until the moment of closure. Closure, a concept of SSK
stresses the other way around of the ending point where different artefacts were living along
3. The process of stabilization described in the second step are analyzes and explained by
interpreting them in a broader theoretical framework: why does a social construction
process follow this course, rather than that? The central concept here is ‘technological
frame.’ A technological frame structures the interactions among the members of a relevant
social group, and shapes their thinking and acting.
This 3 steps research process amounts to;
a. Sociological analysis of an artifact to demonstrate its Interpretive flexibility
b. Description of the artifact’s social construction
c. Explanation of this construction process in terms of the technological frames of
relevant social groups.
Human and not-human actors needs to treated the same and the construction of the society and the
construction of technology need the explain in symmetrical terms.
The developing of the technology can be explained as a social process where the diversity is
participate on relevant social groups. This social process is not stopping when an artifact is leaving
the factory, but is going forward until the users are giving an meaning and the specific use for the
technology. Laws of physics (natuurkunde) and economics are relevant but insufficient
(onvoldoende) to characterize technology’s development. Of artefacts there could be shown that
they have interpretive flexibility because of the different constructions which are making different
social groups. When this relevant social groups are combining with each other, there will be one
meaning of the artefact which is domaining and stabilize. On the end of this social process there will
be disclosure and the interpretative flexibility will be gone then. Social order in the modern society can only be explained through reference to technology. An artefact can be difficult on 2 ways:
1. Closed-in hardness (ingesloten hardhead): This is when involved humans have a high
inclusion in the technological frame. For example; a student has problems with the printer
and is dealing with the closed-in hardness of the printer technology. He has to write it,
because the computer is not doing what he want to do.
2. Closing-out obduracy (afsluiting koppigheid): This students has no idea how a computer is
working, and cannot find the on and off button, so he has to write is as well.
We live in a technological culture. SCOT offers a way to politicizing this technological culture.
‘Politicizing’ here means showing hidden political dimensions, putting issues on the political agenda,
opening issues up for political debate.
The SCOT approach is not only giving an answer on the question if artefacten has a politic, but also
offers a way to analyze the politic. Technology is a social (and politic) society and is built technical and the technological culture consist
of sociotechnical ensembles.
__________________________________________________________________________________ Technology is material culture (ideas brought into the design). People are bringing ideas, values,
knowledge on the design to make it better for the consumers. It is an endless process. Media tells us that when someone is using the internet intensive the risk on of alienation
(vervreemding), isolation, depression, and with-drawal (terugtrekking) from society will increase.
Nowadays we see exactly the opposite. People are using internet for socializing and are very happy
to do it this way with the exception of a couple of early studies of the Internet in the 1990s. The expansion of the internet form the mid-1990’s resulted from the combination of three main
1. The discovery of World Wide Web, it was an open-source with a broncode so everyone could
improve the source.
2. Institutional change in the management of the internet. keeping it under the loose
management of the global Internet community, privatizing it, and allowing both commercial
uses and cooperative uses.
3. Huge changings in social structures, culture and social behavior; networks as organization
form; individuation as main orientation of social behavior; and the culture of autonomy as
the culture of the network society.
Internet are giving people the thinking of being free and increase their influence. These are positive
effects of their happiness and wealth. Especially for people with a lower income and less qualified,
for people from lower income countries and for women it is a more positive feeling.