Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change (Inside Technology) Reprint Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0262522274
ISBN-10: 0262522276
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Bijker has provided a useful text demonstrating the advantages of opening up technological phenomena to relativist inquiry...a valuable contribution to the important goal of redefining the relation between the technical and the nontechnical.

(Steve Woolgar New Scientist)

About the Author

Wiebe E. Bijker is Professor at Maastricht University and the author of Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change (MIT Press) and other books.
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Product Details

  • Series: Inside Technology
  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (January 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262522276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262522274
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Bijker's case studies could be read as fascinating histories of technology, but their strength lies in the analysis of the chosen artefacts. Bicycle presents mechanical technology, bakellite chemical and the fluorescent lighting electrical; the cases are also different in their approach: bicycle is discussed from end user viewpoint (who rode the bicycle and how); bakelite is a story of an inventor and a birth of a new industry, whereas the bulb presents a case of an established industry going through a turbulent technological renewal.
Bicycle was not a useful thing: it was a completely useless hobby of a few inventors and daredevils, and Bijker traces the developments that made the bicycle an indispensable form of transportation. The case offers hilarious deja vu: bicycle means death of distance ! Before the safety bicycle established itself as the dominant design, bicycle races and speed tests were used for advertising, not unlike the PC performance tests that were numerous not too many years ago.
Bakelite and Baekeland are described in a "heroic innovator" way, but taking into account historical context, professional trajectories of the involved scientists and the dead ends and failed experiments. Synthetic resin business is also covered.
Fluorescent lighting case shows how the invention goes through various phases before it is established as we know it today. In the case of fluorescent lighting, things developed rapidly between 1938 and 1940 and the lamp transformed itself from low intensity lamp for coloring purposes to energy saving lamp to high intensity daylight lamp.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James N. Stroup on May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What can I say? It came. It was like they said and I'm a happy guy now. Is anyone reading this? No.
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