January 29, 2014
o RSGs; social groups who play in the development/design of an artifact, leads to
interpretative flexibility to an artifact.
Women and older men vs. young men of means and nerves
o Technological Determinism
o Rhetorical Closure (claiming the problem has been fixed, via advertisement or
campaign) vs. Redefinition of the Problem (inventing a new problem to which the
artifact is the solution, ie. The invention of the air tire)
o Stabilization; the development of the artifact within one social group, what is in
progress when the design flexibility is diminishing—leaving a stable artifact
Ex. The existence of the couple’s tricycle and other variations before the
stable artifact of the Safety Bicycle.
• Stabilization of the Safety Bicycle;
o By 1889, the expression safety bicycle was enough to refer to the same machine,
and by 1895, bicycle was enough.
To refer to “low wheeled”, “rear-driven safety bicycles” with “diamond or
cross frames,” as referred to exhibition report in 1888.
o Stabilization comes to refer to who an artifact functions in society, to come to
terms with what the artifact should be.
o Closure and stabilization do not necessarily revolve in all rivals vanishing;
sometimes two rivals can exist side-by-side;
High Wheelers existing in a niche market
Jet Planes and Propeller Planes existing side by side
Though usually, one artifact is more dominant
o In early days, the car was seen as the “greener solution” to horse carriages and
By the 1960s, social groups had introduced new interpretations, which
have shaped the way we see the car today.
Thus, interpretative flexibility may reappear.
• No technology ever moves completely beyond “contest space”
• RSGs; o Can be institutions, organizations, as well as organised/unorganised groups of
people; can be citizen groups, governments, marketers, secretaries etc.
It is the job of the analyst to identify new RSGs.
o Those who share a common meaning to the artifact but may share other
common meanings that may not be the most essential.
The shared meaning can be used to explore a different development
Thus, some part of the modern bicycle development are due to perceived
influence of women cyclists (ie. Safety features introduced to cater to
large market of women in 19 century).
• Alternatively, the introduction of larger and larger w