Problematizing the Experts: The One-Dimensional Engineering Understanding of the Users and Its Contextual Frameworks

Volume 03, Issue 1

What is engineers' conception of their users and the public? And what makes it so difficult to be changed? Studies in public understanding and participation of science and technology have depicted the pre-commitment of criticism against the deficit model in scientists' conception of the public and enriched our understanding of the public's knowledgeability of science and technology. Literature of technoscientific practices also explores the framing of users in technoscientific practices. Following the insights and adopting the concept of framing, this paper examines engineering researchers' knowledgeability by illustrating their understanding of the users when they are developing new devices and by showing the contextual practices that frames their vision. This paper tackles the issue by examining the fieldwork in an university engineering research team in Taiwan. It is argued that engineering researchers have their own sociology concerned with the technical aspect of their users and society. This paper proposes an analytical framework; the engineering vision and agenda emerges and being practiced in the conjuncture of frames of publication-oriented regulation, delivery-assured practical work, and diversity reduction team networking to situate the engineering vision. The notion of frame also highlights the dynamic, relational, and conjunctive constitution of the experts' knowledgeability. It is suggested that with more understanding of the interlocking mechanism of these frames, then we can alleviate the one-dimensional engineering vision and only then is the ambition of interdisciplinary collaboration possible in Taiwan.

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