The theory of Social Construction of Technology attempts to present a framework that illuminate the influence of humans and their activities in shaping up of various technologies. Bijker in his paper describes that in a society a number of social groups exist which might have a different interpretation of an artifact such as technology.
These groups continue to develop the artifact until all groups have a consensus that the artifacts works for them (Klein & Kleinman, 2002). Like Actor-Network Theory, the Social Construction of Technology theory also does not make use of the a priori information in its definition of influence of society and technology on each other (Klein & Kleinman, 2002).
Difference between Actor-Network Theory and Social Construction of Technology
One of the major differences between Actor-Network Theory and Social Construction of Technology is the approach that these theories take in an attempt gain an understanding technology as a social phenomenon. Actor-Network Theory uses the concepts of actor and network and provides a framework to map semiotic as well as materialistic relationships. The actors are the object or artifacts found within the fabric of the society which form association with each other to form a network with other actors, which in turn defines them. These networks are Actor-Network Theory also advocates the abandoning of a priori information about the nature of networks. Actor-Network Theory also advocates free association, which means that it backs the idea of treating a natural and social phenomenon in the same way (Crawford, 2010).
The Social Construction of Technology, on the other hand, takes a very different approach. Rather than treating a society an amalgamation of networks and actors, Social Construction of Technology uses interpretative flexibility to describe technological artifacts as products of negotiation between different social groups that exist within a society social (Bijker Hughes, & Pinch, 1989). Furthermore it argues that it is impossible to get a full understanding of technology without first possessing the knowhow of how technology in intertwined in the society social (Bijker Hughes, & Pinch, 1989). Though in Social Construction of Technology it is not claimed that social phenomenon have any preference over natural phenomenon but rather it is clamed that all phenomenon, social interests and artifacts are nothing but social (Bijker Hughes, & Pinch, 1989).
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