Social Shaping of Technology Theory is an approach to understanding the relationship between technology and society. It asserts that technology is not a neutral force, but rather a product of social and cultural factors. In this article, we will explore the key concepts of this theory and how it applies to our understanding of technology today.

What is Social Shaping of Technology Theory?

The Social Shaping of Technology (SST) theory emerged in the 1980s as a response to the dominant view at the time that technology was an autonomous force that developed independently of social influences. SST argues that technological development is shaped by social factors such as politics, economics, culture, and values.

Key Concepts

There are several key concepts associated with SST theory, including:

1. Co-construction: This refers to the idea that technology and society are mutually constructed. That is, technological development influences society and vice versa.

2. Social Context: This refers to the idea that technological development is influenced by social factors such as culture, politics, and economics.

3. Interpretive Flexibility: This refers to the idea that technologies can be interpreted in different ways depending on their social context.

4. Actor-Network Theory: This refers to the idea that both humans and non-humans (such as machines) are important actors in shaping technology.

Applications

SST theory has been applied to various areas of research, including:

Conclusion

In conclusion, Social Shaping of Technology Theory offers a valuable perspective on the relationship between technology and society. By recognizing that technology is shaped by social factors, we can better understand its impact on society and work towards designing technologies that serve the needs of all people.