Social Dimensions of Technological Change

Project: Research

Layman's description

The aim of this network is to gather researchers interested in explaining technological changes in terms of their social dimensions. Each participant contributes with a case study about one particular technological change and through these examples we explore the possible reasons for the change. Case studies are taken from 7000 BC to the present day.

We live in a world of rapid technological change. If we are to understand and deal with technological changes we need to investigate their causes, both now and in the past. According to an evolutionary model, changes in technology can be linked to selection pressure: the technology which ”works” best will be chosen above those which work less well. But how are competing technological systems evaluated? Technological development is rarely linear but rather full of failures, dead-ends and alternative solutions, most of which end up on museum shelves. To explain why this is so we need to study the social contexts in which all technologies are situated.
Our starting point is thus the conviction that transformation of society is not due to technological change but rather the reverse; technological changes are themselves part of the sticky web of social interaction with which we surround ourselves. We perceive change as mediated by internal dynamics within society. Technology change is one aspect of this and it is neither linear nor irreversible.
The programme is a network of some 20 researchers whose case studies describe concrete examples of technological change. The case studies cover a broad range both chronologically and geographically, from 7000 BC to today and from the Scandinavian countries and the European continent to Oceania.
Effective start/end date2007/01/012016/06/30


Related research output

Deborah Olausson, 2013, Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies in Honour of Professor Kristian Kristiansen. Bergerbrant, S. & Sabatini, S. (eds.). Archaeopress, p. 447-456

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Deborah Olausson, 2012, Excavating the Mind. Cross-sections through culture, cognition and materiality. Johannsen, N., Jessen, M. & Juel Jensen, H. (eds.). Aarhus Universitetsforlag, p. 211-232

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Lise Bender Jørgensen & Deborah Olausson, 2007, In: The European Archaeologist. Winter 2007-2008, 28, p. 25-25

Research output: Contribution to journalPublished meeting abstract

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