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From Autonomous to Socially Conceived Technology: Toward a Causal, Intentional and Systematic Analysis of Interests and Elites in Public Technology Policy

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Abstract:

I shall attempt in this article to identify the spectrum of major theoretical schools relating to the nature of technological development. These, I shall argue, range from the tech-deterministic on the one end to the socio-deterministic school of thought on the opposite end of the spectrum. The purpose of this article is also to place human subjects into the arena of technology development by way of the hypothesis that interests and elites are involved in the formulation of public IT policy. Such elites, I maintain, are in turn guided by their occupationally-related problem-solution mindsets in addition to their interests. As a consequence, we shall come to perceive a world of limited power and resources where people, if even a select few (an elite), compete to successfully create processes, structures and objects which serve their mutually agreed purposes. I shall conclude the article by presenting a short critique of the existing body of theory on technological development as concerns the suitability of such theories for the concrete and systematic analysis of public technology policy and shall offer a brief description of a systematic approach to the analysis and further development of public information technology policy.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/th.2005.5210805

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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