Unruly Users: Cycling Governance in Context

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk at conference or symposiumScience to science


After a sharp decline occurred during the 1960s, the modal split
of individuals cycling rebounded in many European cities. From
the 1970s onwards, many urban residents rediscovered the
bicycle as a means of transport. In this paper, I conceptualize this
turnaround of cycling as a sociotechnical change. In a wider
historical context, I examine the role of users in this
transformation. More specifically, I scrutinize the interplay
between bicycle users and cycling governance. To this end, I
discuss three prominent STS approaches – that can be taken to
conceptualize the role of users in sociotechnical change – and
note their weaknesses and strengths. These approaches are Social
Construction of Technology (SCOT), Framing Production (FP)
and Multi-level Perspective (MLP). In my analysis, I
demonstrate that each of the presented approaches does not
provide an appropriate way to conceptualize users under the
specific circumstances that occurred during the cycling
turnaround in Graz in the 1970s and 1980s. Against this
backdrop, I argue that analysing sociotechnical change using
existing analytical frameworks is not wrong, but blind. To
overcome this shortcoming, researchers need to allow for more
openness in the research design. By applying a qualitative
approach, researchers can gain a better appreciation of the
contingency of the unruly relationship between users and cycling
Period18 Aug 2020
Event titleEASST/4S 2020 conference: european association for the study of science and technology
Event typeConference
LocationPrag, Czech RepublicShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Mobility & Production
  • Sustainable Systems