Chair of Sociology of Technology and Innovation
The sociological approach to technology and innovation is based on an understanding, which addresses technologies (and techniques) not only as pure technical things but as an unity of the material artefact and socially hardened imaginaries, contexts and practices of its use. It is based on the understanding, that on the one hand manifold (pre-)determinations (organisational, juridical, political, economical, cultural or of a different kind) are influencing the shape of a technology and the way it is used in society. On the other hand these (pre-)determinations are themselves influenced and altered by technology.
From a sociological perspective the subject of interest is not the isolated technical artefact but rather the sociotechnical constellation resp. the network of heterogeneous components, which taken together create the characteristics and impacts of a specific technology. From this view technical innovations are new constellations of technical and non-technical components. Therefore, in order to analyze and understand the processes of creation, diffusion and implementation of technical innovations one has to take into account all of these components as well as their correlated shifts.
Out of the wide range of research topics, two of them are primarily elaborated at the Chair of Sociology of Technology and Innovation: (1) The research regarding the influence of technology-related futuristic visions on processes of technology development and innovation; (2) the research of technical innovations, which are primarily based on social innovations. In both of the topics the focus is located on empirical studies concerning processes of technology development and innovation in the area of information technologies (resp. on technological fields with relevant parts in information technology).