Feelings of discontent and the promise of middle range theory for STS: Examples from technology dynamics

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Abstract

This article critically discusses the state of STS, expressing feelings of discontent regarding four aspects: policy relevance, conceptual language, too much focus on complexity, theoretical styles. Middle range theory is proposed as an alternative, promising avenue. Middle range theories focus on delimited topics, make explicit efforts to combine concepts, and search for abstracted patterns and explanatory mechanisms. The article presents achievements in that direction for technology dynamics, particularly with regard to the role of expectations, niche theory and radical innovation, and the multi-level perspective on sociotechnical transitions. © 2007 Sage Publications.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-651
Number of pages24
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007