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 MPIfG Books



Ulrich Dolata
The Transformative Capacity of New Technologies
A Theory of Sociotechnical Change




London: Routledge, 2013
140 pages
ISBN 978-0-415-62693-4 | £ 80.00 (hardback)

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Description | Contents | Author




Scientific concepts on the co-evolution of technology and society, as well as recent sociotechnical system approaches, focus on the general interrelations between technology, socioeconomic structures, and institutions. Their aim is to study and explain processes and modes of technological change. Rarely, however, have answers been put forward on the related question of processes of socioeconomic and institutional change, provoked by emerging new technological opportunities and constraints.

The Transformative Capacity of New Technologies redresses this imbalance, exploring the questions:

  • how and to what extent do socioeconomic structures, institutions, and actors change under the influence of new technologies?
  • how do they react to technology-induced pressures to change?
  • what patterns do they adopt?

The book provides theoretical considerations as well as practical tools for analyzing and classifying exceptional periods of substantial sociotechnical change. It examines the literature on path-dependency and path-creation, on organizational and institutional change, and on sociotechnical transitions. Case studies on subjects such as the pharmaceutical industry, the music industry, the energy sector, and scientific publishing support the theoretical analysis. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, science and technology studies, work and industry studies, and management of technology and innovation.




1   The transformative capacity of new technologies: An introduction
2   Technology and sectors
3   Types of innovation and sociotechnical transformation
4   New technologies and their transformative capacity
5   New technologies and sectoral adaptability
6   New technologies and sectoral transformation



Ulrich Dolata is Professor for Organizational Sociology and Innovation Studies and Director of the Institute for Social Sciences at Stuttgart University.

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