This is the first major review of interactive technologies and their cultural and social context. This is more than a welcome addition to one's library; it is the authoritative overview of international research perspectives on interactive media technologies by leading scholars around the world” – Ellen Wartella, University of Texas at Austin “The Handbook of New Media is a landmark for the study of information and communication technologies within the field of communication. Its international team of editors and authors has brought together insights gained from over two decades of scholarly research. This indispensable reference demonstrates an increased maturity and stature for “new media” research within the field” – William H Dutton, University of Southern California “A truly comprehensive and authoritative volume. This Handbook will be an absolutely essential text for anyone concerned with social aspects of the new media” – Kevin Robins, Goldsmiths College, University of London The past 20 years have seen remarkable growth in research and scholarship addressing new information and communication technologies and their social contexts. Often called ‘new media’ research, this growing field is both international and interdisciplinary. The Handbook of New Media sets out boundaries of new media research and scholarship and provides a definitive statement of the current state-of-the-art of the field. Divided into six sections covering major problem areas of research, the Handbook includes an introductory essay by the editors and a concluding essay by Ronald E Rice. Each chapter, written by an internationally renowned scholar, provides a review of the most significant social research findings and insights. This Handbook will be an indispensable volume on the personal bookshelves of all scholars working in the area, required reading for graduate students, a reference work for established researchers and newcomers to new media scholarship, and an intellectual benchmark for the field.

Chapter 11: Determination and Contingency in New Media Development: Diffusion of Innovations and Social Shaping of Technology Perspectives

Determination and Contingency in New Media Development: Diffusion of Innovations and Social Shaping of Technology Perspectives

Determination and contingency in new media development: Diffusion of innovations and social shaping of technology perspectives
Leah A. Lievrouw

Across many literatures technologies are described as having trajectories, stages, cycles and growth curves; they diffuse, transfer, are ‘pushed’ and ‘pulled’, and evolve. Many current observers agree that ‘technology’ includes not only the built devices themselves, but also the practices and knowledge related to them and the social arrangements that form around those devices, practices and knowledge (Mackenzie and Wacjman, 1999; Dierkes and Hoffmann, 1992; see also the Introduction to this volume). Thought of this way, technology is dynamic, even fluid: ‘The interaction between material and nonmaterial components and coupling of ...

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