Technology horizons: theory and practice of integrative research
05 / 2006 - 12 / 2016
The Technology and Agrarian Development group elaborates on a theoretically informed research methodology combining natural and social sciences in studying complex development problems with emphasis on agrarian change. Central in this programme is a methodological approach - called technography - that identifies how combinations of social and technical mechanisms play out in a variety of contexts. Technography focuses on complex interactions between social groups, collective representations, innovation processes, technical artefacts, and nature. In other words, 'technography' is a historical and contextual methodology that can be employed to unravel interactions between the material, the artefactual, social interaction, and social structure. This methodology will be applied to both situations of crisis, conflict and extremity as well as 'normal' periods. On a theoretical level this programme explores the potential of critical realism to underlabour for integrated beta-gamma science in order to reveal underlying structures, mechanisms, and conditions as well as contingencies which make events happen. This programme also includes work that aims to equip policy makers and practitioners with ideas and instruments to explore alternative organisation structures and learning processes for improving technology innovation. The study of the problem of scaling-up from pilot projects to generalized practice is part of this latter sub-programme.