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Lecture

The Social Construction of Fluorescent Lighting

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC3116
Professor
Stephan Larose
Semester
Winter

Description
February 7, 2014 MIDTERM based on SCOT approach to the Who Killed the Electric Car? The Social Construction of Fluorescent Lighting • The bicycle study was a vehicle to introduce a series of concepts, step-by-step—these steps were integrated to a larger framework with the Bakelite study. • Fluorescent lighting study shows Bijker’s model in its fullness and revisits the issue of the social impact of technology, as well as introducing power relations o Takes on the notion of technological trajectory, part of technological determinism.  Negates the possibility of this trajectory, saying there is nothing natural about the way technology develops over time.  FL took place during commercial release of this lamp, which was developed by managers, not inventors. o Explains why we used high-intensity and not high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs.  High-efficiency lighting suppressed for high-intensity due to a conspiracy of the utilities. • Short history of the light bulb; o Incandescent light bulb; electricity that is created by a heated filament, defined as glowing with intense heat. About 95% of the electricity supplied is converted to heat, not light, making this form of lighting inefficient—especially in a world of limited resources.  LED lights and Fluorescent bulbs are both viable alternatives, though Fluorescents are preferred, requiring only 1/5 of the energy and lasting 20X longer.  FB already dominate industrial market and currently expanding into the domestic market.  Edison created incandescent light technology, seeing the artifact as a larger part of electricity production and distribution. • GE was the offspring of a merge between Edison and electric company. o GE had a situation of quasi-monopoly over electrical technology (90% control)  Class A license; gave license to produce a certain output as well as usage of the Mazda license that GE fostered—given only to Westinghouse, which along with GE was known as the Mazda Companies. • Mazda was named after Ahura-Mazda, the chief god Zoroastrians of and god of wisdom and light. o Fluorescent lamp;  Several inventors, including Edison, explored the use of fluorescent materials but without progress.  Speed was important as there were European competition, as well as other American companies like Sylvania.  In 1938, fluorescent lamp released by GE, marketed as the fluorescent tint lighting lamp. • Aimed at tint/color lighting market. • Also much more efficient than incandescent, which GE realized could create efficient daylight lamps. o 6 months after released efficiency lamp.  Utilities were worried that high-efficiency lamps would slash electricity consumption and they would lose 50% in annual profit.  Lighting market controlled by lamp manufacturers and utilities. • Utilities promoted Mazda lamps, while Mazda lamps would produce high- consumption lamps. o Utilities refused to have fluorescent
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