Framing of emerging technologies as a strategic device
Jan-Christoph Rogge (WZB - Berlin Social Science Center)
Alexander Wentland (Technical University of Munich)
Thursday 1 September, 16:00-17:45, 18:00-19:45, 19:30-21:15 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

During the track we want to shed light on the strategic framing of emerging technologies by different stakeholders and the influences of those endeavors on the trajectory of these new technoscientific artifacts and practices.

Long abstract:

Although the study of emerging technologies is widely established within STS, little attention has been paid to the co-production and interplay of certain technoscientific practices or artifacts and their strategical framing by different stakeholder groups. Framing strategies allow stakeholders to attract venture capital, interest decision makers, and influence public opinion towards a not yet tangible or controversial technology. In fact, recent hypes around the electric car, nanotechnology, fuel cells and other cases suggest that the perception of a particular technology as "novel" or "emerging" itself can be interpreted as an outcome of strategic framing. The notion of frames and framing has often been used interchangeably with concepts such as schemas, scripts, mental models, and categories. However, the literature around these concepts often neglects the strategic component of the choices actors make to actively create and stabilize the frames that shape the perception and acceptance of a technology. The proposed track wants to bring together scholars that fill this gap by discussing the insights gained from analyzing the emergence of new technologies through the lens of strategic framing and related approaches. It wants to draw attention to a wide range of questions related to framing strategies: To what degree can deliberate framing change the trajectory of an emerging technology? What kind of public performance and expert engagement is needed to shift an already established narrative? How can we conceptualize competing framings around the same technology that struggle against each other?