Zahar Koretsky
PhD Candidate in Science and Technology Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Maastricht University
z.koretsky (at) maastrichtuniversity.nl

 

Harro Van Lente
Professor of Science and Technology Studies
Head of Department of Society Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Maastricht University
h.vanlente@maastrichtuniversity.nl

 

Description:

Clearly, technologies are part and parcel of current systemic problems around climate change and global justice, both as problem and as solution. When the role of technologies is studied, however, the tendency is to focus on the emergence of new socio-technical arrangements. Yet, what about the fate of old technologies that threaten more sustainable modes of production and consumption? What about the ‘trajectories of erosion, decay, and fossilisation’ as Elisabeth Shove and Gordon Walker once coined the reverse dynamics? Alongside nurturing niches and supporting sustainable novelties, a phasing-out of undesired technologies seems required to speed up low-carbon transition, not unlike the precedents of DDT and inefficient light bulbs phase-out or the ongoing phasing out of nuclear energy in Germany. Yet, a phase-out may pose many risks to economies, welfare, democracy and the natural environment. This session invites contributions to describe, characterize and analyze the decline, failure and ‘death’ of established technologies. We welcome empirical cases of declining technologies; comparisons between technologies, sectors or countries; and theoretical elaborations on trajectories of decline.