chapter  8
15 Pages

Social Groups, Technological Frames, and Focal Events

Sociotechnical codes differ from tacit, sumptuary, and economic codes primarily in the conscious intention of code-makers to change social conditions, either positively or negatively, for specific social groups through technological change. An oft-cited example of this kind of change is the standardized design of 19thcentury textile looms to fit the small stature of children, so that they could be employed in textile mills at lower cost to mill owners (Figure 8.1). A more positive example would be the late-20th-century safety code requirement to install higher and less porous safety rails on balconies to prevent children from falling through them (Figure 8.2). Both technologies were designed specifically to alter conditions for children as a distinct class of people.