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Abstract

This essay reviews the German-language literature on technology and innovation and maps the main developments in this fragmented field from a sociological perspective. It focuses on selected topics, turns, and advances since 2000 and relates them to the international debates in the social studies of science and technology. The first topic that this paper addresses is the debate on how to conceptualize technology when it is viewed as part of and not external to society. I sketch the changes from early means-end approaches to actual forms/media concepts of technicization and social-material constellations. The second issue is the question of human agency and the responses to the provocations that ensue from artificial intelligence and actor-network theory. A third point of discussion is the turns to micro studies and to more comprehensive perspectives on socio-technological transformations. Two discursive shifts in technology and innovations studies demonstrate the latest advances towards a broad and integrated theoretical framework: one from the assessment of specific technologies to the governance of distributed innovation processes, another from a narrow economic concept of innovation to a sociological one that extends to all types of innovations in society.

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