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The role of paradigms in the development of household technologies

Haddon, Leslie ORCID: 0000-0001-7338-7232 (1995) The role of paradigms in the development of household technologies. In: Closure in the Social Process of Technology. Guiding Vision, Paradigm, Standard, 1995-06-22 - 1995-06-23, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, DEU.

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Various histories of consumer technologies, both new and old, have employed if not directly the idea of paradigms then at least something akin to it. Sometimes the researchers concerned have talked of analogies, concepts, doubles lives or constructs, perhaps due to coming from different intellectual traditions or else wanting to avoid some of the other intellectual baggage that has come to be associated with the word ‘paradigm’. Nevertheless, the examples given below suggest that something like that concept of a paradigm has repeatedly proved to be useful and attractive in accounting for technological development. The aim of this paper is explore and sometimes problematise the nature of this concept and its utility as a research tool based on involvement in several projects which have tried to grapple this and related terms. This has been by no means an easy process and goal here is to share some of issues with which a researcher might have to cope. The first half of the paper examines the examples of the telephone, radio and then more recently the VCR and home computer in order to illustrate and investigate how the ‘same’ technologies can be seen as developing according to different paradigms. The second half of the paper explores how a something related to a paradigm can be occupied by different product configurations. However, in recent research the paradigm that has been referred to as a ‘product space’, which can be sometimes a little less clearly defined than some of the historical paradigms discussed below - the exact functionalities and role of any products filling this space can be a little vaguer and subject to negotiation. The issues around these product spaces are exemplified through case studies of home automation, compact disc based interactive multimedia and electronic messaging.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1995 The Author
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 11:47
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 10:56

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