On technological objects and the adoption of technological product innovations: rules, routines and the transition from analogue photography to digital imaging
AbstractWe extend the transformational model of social activity proposed in recent realist social theory by importing into it a theory of technological objects and technological change. The paper begins with an account of the transformational model, focusing particularly on the relationship between routines and social rules. We then outline a theory of what we call the ‘technical identity’ of technological objects, drawing on the notion of collective assignments of agentive functions proposed by the philosopher John Searle. Finally, we link this theory to the transformational model and derive three broad categories of technological change. The framework as a whole is illustrated with empirical material drawn from a recent study of the shift from analogue photography to digital imaging in consumer photography.