Over the past decades, reliance on technologies that can serve both consumers and the environment at the same time has become the dominant feature of Dutch sustainability policy. In documents specifying such policy, we identify a basic trust in the possibility of designing technologies that allow for consumer preferences to grow, whilst at the same time reducing environmental pollution. Technological innovation is put forward as a crucial ingredient for making this “uncoupling” of economic growth and environmental pollution come true. In other words, the idea is that technology should be dually effective, by both pleasing consumers and protecting the environment. This claim puts a large responsibility on the technologists themselves; they are expected to shape technologies in such a way that such dual effects are assured to occur as soon as the innovations in question are put to use. The aforementioned policy approach takes this crucial step for granted which according to the Science and Technology Studies (STS) literature, is shrouded with uncertainty. From the viewpoint of STS, it is therefore possible to criticize this claim as over-optimistic. STS literature shows that, in practices of designing and testing, it is very difficult to anticipate, in a productive way, future reactions of end users and other relevant actors in society. As a result, it is often the case that the effects of technology, once end users become involved, do not match earlier expectations. This critique leads us to the general research question for this thesis, which can be summed up as follows: how do technologists claim that the technology they design will serve both the environment and consumers at the same time, and how do they fulfill this promise in the practice of technological design and testing?
|Award date||18 Oct 2007|
|Place of Publication||Enschede|
|Publication status||Published - 18 Oct 2007|