A sociology of technology governance for the information age: The case of pharmaceuticals, consumer advertising and the internet

Nick Fox, Katie Ward, Alan O'Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

35 Citations (Scopus)


In a civil society, the governance of technology is a matter of law and regulation, but also of responsibility and accountability, within which issues of public safety and security must be balanced against individual and collective rights. Within sociology, studies have not fully examined the complexity of how governance is achieved, and how environmental changes may threaten governance systems. This article explores the negotiated character of technology governance in a case study of consumerism and the pharmaceutical industry. This industry is highly regulated, but, in the information age, traditional patterns of governance are challenged, and new strategic alliances between stakeholders may emerge. Using qualitative approaches, we explore the emergent governance processes, and conclude that governance is a dynamic process, forever breaking down and being reinvented to address societal changes. We suggest that this theoretical framework and methodology can form the basis for a productive sociology of governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-334
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


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