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The Social Context of Technological Change: The Case of the Retail Food Industry

John P. Walsh
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 32, No. 3 (Autumn, 1991), pp. 447-468
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Midwest Sociological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4120917
Page Count: 22
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The Social Context of Technological Change: The Case of the Retail Food Industry
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Abstract

Technological innovations result not just from advances in science, but also social system reorganization. Reorganization is problematic, as various organizations and constituents pursue their interests and causes. Expanding on previous work in the economics and sociology of innovation, three cases from the retail food industry (frozen meat, boxed beef, and scanners) illustrate the process described in a politicized-context model of innovation. Market context, political contingencies, and established social relations all influence innovations. Thus, including these factors in the politicized-context model provides better understanding of the particular paths of innovation.

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