This volume stems from the efforts of scholars who seek to understand the social dynamics of large technical systems. The purpose is to develop concepts and empirical knowledge concerning the dynamics of such systems, with particular emphasis on the processes ofcontrol and/or management in a variety of national settings, and to improve the basis of public policy so that future developments might be less distressing in consequence and more shaped to the desires of their "host" societies. One vehicle for this enterprise is a series of international conferences on the Evolution andDynamics ofLarge Technical Systems (LTSs). This series was instituted to encourage the coalescence of the multidisciplinary group of scholars who are actively engaging in the empirical study of these phenomena. Their disciplines span history, sociology, political science, and economics studies. They come Australia, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany. And they possess strong backgrounds in the empirical study of specific technical areas and a taste for conceptual and theoretical integration.
Large Technical Systems, Real-life Experiments, and the Legitimation Trap of Technology Assessment: The Contribution of Science and Technology to Constituting Risk Perception.- The Governance of Large Technical Systems: The Case of Telecommunications.- The External Control of Large Technical Systems: Offshore Oil Production Safety and Health Regulation in Great Britain and Norway.- Facing the Collapse of the Washington Public Power Supply System.- Iran Air Flight 655 and the USS Vincennes: Complex, Large-scale Military Systems and the Failure of Control.- The Aviation Safety Commission: A Task Force Approach to the Evaluation of Large Technical Systems.- How Do We Treat Technical Uncertainty in Systems Failure? The Case of the Space Shuttle Challenger.- Notes Toward a Sociology of Supercomputing.- Reflections and Triangulation: Three Commentaries.- A View from Economic History.- A View from the Social Sciences.- Historical Overview.- Appendix Conference Agenda and List of Participants.
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