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Social Construction of Technology and Domestication Theory


This essay focuses on the social construction of technology (SCOT) that was created by Pinch and Bijke (1984), which can be traced to changes in analysis units from technological culture to artefacts. The development of SCOT may be traced to the knowledge regarding technological development to inquisitorial of modern techno-scientific social politics. Basically, the SCOT approach stresses that technology-based artefacts can be analysed sociologically, particularly with regard to the technical content and design instead of only their application. As it will be evidenced in the essay, SCOT is not just a theoretical approach but also a methodological since it formalises the principles as well as steps to pursue when an analysing the reasons behind the technological successes or failures. On the other hand, domestication is considered a model utilised in scores of fields such as communication studies as well as sociology of technology. Importantly, domestication focuses on acceptance, usage and rejection of technology and also describes and analyses the processes governing such choices. The essay will exhibit how domestication theoretical framework focuses on people’s day-to-day life and why the framework has various rules and patterns. Using a safety bicycle and electric toothbrush, this essay seeks to compare and contrast social construction of technology and domestication theory.


. Pinch and Bijke (1984) as cited by Rosen (1993, 481) results in the developmental process of a bicycle, which is a technical artefact achieved through selection and variation alternation amongst designs. The SCOT exposition by (Pinch and Bijke 1984, 411). In the SCOT approach, the process of developing technological artefact is defined as the alternation of selection and variation. As a result, the ‘multi-directional’ has been utilised in scores of innovation studies as well as tacitly in the technology’s history. With the view to the bicycle development, the multi-directional view is applied in the artefacts’ development process (Selwyn 2012, 83)the determinist approach does not provide a measure of social perspective with regard to how society use technologies; thus, ignores factors like the content design, economic interest, social need, and political controlPinch and Bijke (1984, 411) posit that Basically, the SCOT approach enables people to organise their activities through the conceptualisation of technology’s obduracy inflexibility. Given that people are presently living in a technological culture, SCOT provides a conceptual framework, whereby problems are integrated into the political agenda. In addition, the society, which comprises of politics, has technically been constructed as technology because technology is politically as well as socially built. Technological determinism is considered challenging since it argues that people cannot be held responsible for the technology they are using since the technological evolution path is perceived to be the one followed rather than created. While the SCOT approach argue that technologies are shaped by people using them,

. artefactfinal absence could enormously affect the Such design. participation in the process of could be unsuccessful in organising for artefact
that are relevant to the collective meanings Therefore, a number of design process. in order to take part in the a group they will form does not guaranteeshare a set of meanings many people just because
important absences; for instance, overlooksWinner (1980, 122)SCOT approach according to The blaming the compared to (bicycle)hardwarefoolish to blame the more conditions, it is public lifethe judging When experience. the citizenshipis exercised and power arrangements of communications, warfare, and industrial production have enormously changed how physical Generally, the. (Pinch and Bijke 1984, 424)closure and stabilizationgroup as well as social , relevant interpretative flexibilityThe description is made using theSafety Bicycle. using the case of technological view -sociothe development of technology, which focuses on the describePinch and Bijke (1984) The SCOT Approach considers the stabilisation of a technology; that is to say, how the name ‘bicycle’ artefact can be claimed by one artefact while others are abandoned. Using some concepts of Empirical Programme of Relativism (EPOR), Pinch and Bijke’s (1984) SCOT approach employs three stages to analyse technological development process: Interpretive flexibility, provides multiple interpretations with the objective of demonstrating what constitutes and artefact; stabilisation stage involves identification of social mechanisms that lead to closure of the multiplicity; and wider context stage where closure mechanisms are linked to their broader social-cultural setting (Rosen 1993, 481).

s. relevant social groupoffered by the constitutes the meanings
Bijker (1995, 77)and convenience. The artefact as mentioned by stability their
consider speed as a key issue while other users value the bicycle because ofracers to explain how users view the bicycle differently; for instance, the air tire uses the (1995). Bijkerand historical point of view
contemporary interpret the bicycle from both a people can how in a different way. Generally, the SCOT approach emphasises on the bicycle and uses group viewsevery
in where, social groupsvarious by and versatility its large usageattributed to is Bijker (1995) bicycle according to The unique attribute of the. s bicyclemakes them use the
associated with riding a bicycleadventure appealing aspect ’s risky element, but the bicycleunderstand the while the users dangerousconsider the bicycle ason-users The n. (Bijker, et al. 2012, 11) of progressThe design evolution of the bicycle takes a non-linear path. rules accesshaving milieusprocesses unfold in and design collective decision making the majority of the
Klein and Kleinman (2002, 37) mention that, takes place has not been described bicycle where the design of the the forums Even though design. taking part in groups thecomposition of The existence of a group is influenced by structural factors, which also influences the

technologies are considered by the domestication theory as being defined by negotiations and social actions instead of their technical properties. More importantly, domestication is considered a methodological and conceptual approach, which may be modified to changing contexts and scenarios. Many households are using the electric toothbrushes, and this is a suitable example of a domesticated technology. The existing dental discourses perceive electric toothbrushes as suitable for oral health care. Still, the technology has been resistable and is sometimes considered as an unstable object in the domestic milieu. Although the number of people who have domesticated electric toothbrush is still small, those who have successfully incorporated it in their daily routines are reaping some benefits. The domestic health technology continued utilisation and uptake with the view to domestication can be understood using the conceptual framework that involves four stages: appropriation, objectification, incorporation, as well as conversion.Carter, Green and Thorogood (2013, 365), The successful technology domestication will undoubtedly change how technologies are used. Currently, domesticated technology is considered reliable and very useful rather than a consumer good. The computers, mobile phone and television are these days considered to be part of people’s life and are no more beyond understanding or reach and mysterious. According to

can only be integrated if it is used actively, like performing a task. The last phase is conversion, which focuses on the relations between the technology users’ personal affairs and the outside world. The objective of domesticating technology is to make the technologies suitably fit in the environment so as to be valued. Therefore, domestication focuses on providing the technology with a place in people’s day-to-day life. Vuojärvi, Isomäki and Hynes (2010, 253)The domestication concept catches the spatial, temporal as well as the practical, place, and also exhibits how to mix this with the cultural as a manifestation of values and lifestyles. In appropriation, the first stage of domestication, ownership and possession are very crucial. The technology acquisition is the main concern or activity in this phase; therefore, when technology is sold, the process of appropriation takes place, and afterwards possessed or owned by a household or person. In the objectification phase, it focuses on how new technology’s display can be used to express the styles, tastes or values. The objectification phase involves the temporal aspect (fitting technology into the owners’ daily routine) as well as the spatial aspect (the place where the technology will be positioned. Still, the technology’s spatial aspect is considered to be more crucial in this phase. In the incorporation phase focuses on how information communication technologies are utilised, the most crucial factor in this phase is the temporal aspect. An artefact as indicated by

assert that domestication research outlines the dominating perspective of the assumptions held by the essentialist regarding technologies as well as the individuals consuming the technologies. To sum up, while domestication theory focuses on the technological, social and cultural networks of households’ daily life, SCOT rubbishes the concept that the technology could be any one thing; therefore, SCOT approach indicates the technology diffusion is quantifiable. Therefore, advocates of SCOT approach see technologies as the artefacts that have an ever changing character as well as fluid. According to SCOT Approach, the artefact success is specifically what must be expounded, rather than assuming retrospectively using the circular argument.Hynes and Richardson (2009, 491). Therefore, (Hynes and Richardson 2009, 487)The concept of domestication allows the researchers to comprehend the use of media technology in daily life milieus complex structures, with emphasis on the social background, interpersonal relationships, continuities and changes, as well as the complicated interrelationship between the diverse media in addition to the integration of different media texts and media technologies


In conclusion, the essay has used a safety bicycle and electric toothbrush to compare and contrast social construction of technology and domestication theory. As mentioned in the essay, the SCOT approach maintains that technology is a complex co-construction process in the society, to the extent that they are regarded unconnectedly, it also involves the negotiation of the meaning associated with the artefacts, and builds technological as well as social frames of action, practices and thought. On the other hand, the approach of domestication could be utilised to describe change of technology in a broad scope: from institutional to households’ settings. As mentioned in the essay, domestication offers a network to comprehend the complex interrelationships between technologies and cultures while emerging in the individuals as well as institutions. In addition, the domestication of technology focuses on networks (technological, social and cultural) of households’ daily routine. The significance as well as meanings of the information and media products relies on users’ participation. The domestication theory is considered important because it explores the complex processes associated with adoption and utilisation of technologies in the day-to-day life. As evidenced in the essay, the domestication approach takes into account the interactions with wide-ranging networks that move beyond the households setting.


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