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Challenging incommensurability – What we can learn from Ludwik Fleck for the analysis of complex technical systems

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  • Alexander Peine

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Abstract

This paper explores the work of Ludwik Fleck and its applicability for the analysis of innovation in complex technical systems. The objectives of the paper are twofold. First, it strives to bring Ludwik Fleck back on the map of technology analysis. For this purpose, it develops a Fleckian perspective on technological change and innovation that augments the well-known concept of technological paradigms with insights about thought styles and collectives. Secondly, the paper shows that this perspective provides important cues to understand the interactions of different industrial sectors in innovation – a common yet under-researched occurrence in innovation of complex technical systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Peine, 2008. "Challenging incommensurability – What we can learn from Ludwik Fleck for the analysis of complex technical systems," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 08-21, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Oct 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:0821
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    File URL: http://www.geo.uu.nl/isu/pdf/isu0821.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peine, Alexander, 2008. "Technological paradigms and complex technical systems--The case of Smart Homes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 508-529, April.
    2. Kaplan, Sarah & Tripsas, Mary, 2008. "Thinking about technology: Applying a cognitive lens to technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 790-805, June.
    3. Ufuah, Allan N & Utterback, James M, 1997. "Responding to Structural Industry Changes: A Technological Evolution Perspective," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 183-202.
    4. Fleck, James, 1994. "Learning by trying: the implementation of configurational technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 637-652, November.
    5. Freeman, Chris & Louca, Francisco, 2002. "As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolutions to the Information Revolution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199251056.
    6. Andrea Prencipe & Stefano Brusoni, 2005. "Making Design Rules: A Multi-Domain Perspective," SPRU Working Paper Series 136, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    7. Suarez, Fernando F., 2004. "Battles for technological dominance: an integrative framework," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 271-286, March.
    8. Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1993. "In search of useful theory of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 108-108, April.
    9. Sahal, Devendra, 1985. "Technological guideposts and innovation avenues," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 61-82, April.
    10. Nightingale, Paul, 1998. "A cognitive model of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 689-709, November.
    11. Dosi, Giovanni, 1993. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
    12. Nicholas Dew, 2006. "Incommensurate technological paradigms? Quarreling in the RFID industry," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(5), pages 785-810, October.
    13. Saviotti, P. P., 1988. "Information, variety and entropy in technoeconomic development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 89-103, April.
    14. Dieter Ernst, 2005. "Limits to Modularity: Reflections on Recent Developments in Chip Design," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 303-335.
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    Keywords

    complex systems; Fleck; telecare;

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