FRAMING COMPETING TECHNOLOGICAL TRAJECTORIES A STUDY OF FOUR TECHNOLOGICAL TRAJECTORIES, ASSESSMENT FRAMES AND INTERACTIONS IN THE FIELD OF TYPE 2 DIABETES
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Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem worldwide, and is driven by preventable risk factors such as obesity, unhealthy diets and sedentary life-styles. In light of recognition of these risk factors, prevention-based and life-style based interventions are being developed, directly competing with the incumbent technological trajectory of pharmacological treatment. Controversy on the value of each of the technological trajectories exists, however, which prompted this research. Previous research has analyzed technological trajectories, and other studied also analyzed technological assessment frames of actors, but a knowledge gap remains on how these actors and their frames influence technological trajectories in their development. This thesis combined theory on technological trajectories, technological assessment frames and different actor group relations to technologies to create an overview of the competing landscape of technological trajectories for type 2 diabetes. This was done by gathering publicly available publication data from journals, newswires and publications by actors themselves. Speech-acts were then found in the publication data, based on which technological assessment frames were constructed on each of the four technological trajectories for each actor group. This study confirmed the roles of actor groups as proposed in previous theory, with producers driving technological trajectories, institutions promoting challengers and users filling in a more neutral role. Results also showed that the incumbent trajectory of pharmacological treatment evolves and adapts to novel technologies, while challenging trajectories hardly focus on the incumbent trajectory at all. These challenging trajectories remain more heterogeneous, and seem to experience their own era of ferment, which may serve as an indicator for technological discontinuity in the field. This should be investigated further, however.