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The Interweaving of Diffusion Research and American Science and Technology Policy

Irwin Feller

Annals of Science and Technology Policy, 2018, vol. 2, issue 3, 200-306

Abstract: This monograph interweaves an intellectual history of theories of the diffusion of innovations with a brief history of US science and technology policies between 1960 and the present, tracking thereby their independent developments as well as their relative influences on each other. The monograph's opening line of analysis treats diffusion research as a discrete field of study, focusing on the intellectual ferment in the 1960s and 1970s in which new, or more precisely expanded, discipline-based paradigms emerged in economics, political science, geography, and organizational theory to variously complement and compete with longer standing research traditions in anthropology, sociology and communications. A second line of analysis reinterprets major developments in US science and technology policy — Johnson's Great Society; Nixon's New Federalism; international economic competitiveness-in terms of the fluctuating recourse in these policies to findings advanced by diffusion research, and reciprocally the impacts of changing national and state science and technology policy agendas on the salience and direction of diffusion research. A concluding section describes the status of academic interest and external funding in diffusion research circa 2000 to the present, noting also the current limited ties between this research and science and technology policy formulation.

Keywords: New Product Diffusion; Product Innovation; Public Policy; Technology Management and Strategy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O30 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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