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Title: Artifacts, revolutionaries and bureaucrats : the sociotechnical shaping of NASA's space shuttle
Author: Woods, Brian
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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In Artifacts, Revolutionaries and Bureaucrats, I have combined oral accounts with primary and secondary documentation, to reconstruct a sociotechnical history of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration's (NASA's) space shuttle, from 1968 to 1985. Encompassed within the thesis is an exploration of the design, development, fabrication and operation of technology. Drawing from literature in the social studies of science and technology, the thesis aims to map the relations between the social and the technological and survey the underlying dynamics of technological change. A principal objective of this thesis is to show that the creation of technology is as much a social activity as a technical one: that social matters were as significant an influence on the content of the shuttle as technological or scientific matters. The thesis does not, however, neglect the role of the material world and also provides an analysis of the technical shaping of technology. However, the aim of a historical sociology of technology is to reveal the error in assuming that technology is entirely under the control of rational decision making; that the process of technological change takes place along a well defined, sequential path; and that technological progress is inherently predictable. The practitioners of technology may strive to create order, system and control, but the history of technology is usually complex and contradictory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available