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Reporting on the workshop 16 Oct, 2009

Posted by Anne Beaulieu in Uncategorized.

We were lucky to be joined by Bas van Heur and Paul Wouters, who commented: (full text here)

A basic issue raised in almost all concept-centered events, such as this one, is the explanatory status of the concept. Not surprisingly, therefore, in this particular workshop the notion of social technology returned as a key topic for debate. Although most participants resisted the urge to define this concept in advance of empirical analysis, various dimensions of social technologies were addressed.
This approach does raise the issue, however, of how to define the notion of “social technology”. What exactly is the analytical gain of the concept of social technology in comparison with the concept of institution (or in some cases ritual)? To what extent can the social technology concept help mainstream sociology to pay more in-depth attention to social practices and routines that otherwise would be too easily subsumed under more familiar categories or concepts? In other words, in what sense is the notion of social technology useful? Is it primarily a new perspective on social institutions and processes that zooms in on the instrumental dimensions and that mobilizes the sociology of technology for this? Or are social technologies specific phenomena in the world that need particular specifications in order to be properly evaluated and understood?

You can find the full text here.



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