chapter  4
12 Pages

Frame Analysis as a Practical Tool

In Chapter 2, we argued that technology studies provide us with practical tools to locate the competing sources of agency that exist within a system such as the construction industry. In Chapter 3, we sketched the history of standardmaking, in which competing agents vie to standardize or regulate our technological practices. In this chapter, we examine a tool appropriated by technology studies, frame analysis, that helps us to identify and locate the agencies that operate within any system. As we argued in Chapter 2, the ability to make a difference in the world is generally collective rather than singular. Sociologist David Brain puts it this way:

Professional work is not just a matter of esoteric knowledge, but involves a distinct mode of judgment. What distinguishes professional work is not that professionals (individually) possess knowledge and authority, but that they (collectively) construct the grounds on which they can exercise a certain kind of judgment, and make a point of it.1