Social Construction of Technology

The social construction of technology (SCOT) model developed by Bijker and Pinch is often contrasted with the theory of technological determinism. In SCOT, relevant social groups play a key role in determining the meaning and function of technology. Variant relevant social groups will have problems associated with a particular technological artifact, as well as various solutions to these problems. The ability of an artifact to manifest various meanings from differing social groups is attributes to its interpretive flexibility. Ultimately, certain interpretations or solutions will become more widely accepted than others, and the significance of the artifact can be said to stabilize. One of the main concepts in SCOT is that of relevant social groups. According to Bijker and Pinch, relevant social groups are organized based of their collective approaches to various problems. Relevant social groups can be “institutions and organizations, as well as organized or unorganized groups of individuals with a key requirement that all members of the social group share the same set of meanings, attached to a specific artifact.”