Social shaping of technology in TA and HTA.

TitleSocial shaping of technology in TA and HTA.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsClausen C, Yoshinaka Y
JournalPoiesis and Praxis
Date Published2004
AbstractThe social shaping of technology (SST) approach to analysing technological development lends itself to an understanding of the relatively negotiated, heterogeneous, and local character of technologies, politicising the mediated nature of sociotechnical change. Here, conditions of actor engagement lie at the heart of analysing technology in social context—that is, the occasions, strategies, and scope of influence that are afforded different actors, by way of how particular problems come to be defined and resolved. In this paper we examine the framing of a number of concrete technology assessments (TAs) from Denmark, from the realms of general TA and health technology assessment (HTA). Our examination of the TA initiatives is directed towards the relatively open-ended and consequently explorative and qualitative stance that SST takes in characterising the boundaries between the technical and the social. The paper goes on to discuss a possible place of ethical inquiry in TA, based on the understanding of technological development that SST affords. In the reflexive approach to addressing technology’s relation to society, technology no longer maintains a universally reducible character in time or in social space. Through the possibility of analytically and practically opening up for otherwise seemingly locked actor-positions SST gives room for a more differentiated questioning and treatment of ethical issues in which technology may be implicated.
Alternate JournalPoesis Prax