This study analyzes a Swedish development pair (utvecklingspar), a close, long-term collaborationbetween a private industrial company and a state customer onseveral development projects for new technologies. The specificsubject is the formation of a development pair around electricpower technologies between the State power utility the RoyalBoard of Waterfalls (Vattenfall) and the electrotechnical company Asea. Thecollaboration and the central processes in its formation from1906-69 are described and the role of technological, social andcultural factors in this process are analyzed.
Development pairs belong to the analyticalmesolevel linking macro and micro levels. The study usesperspectives from sociology of science and technology andcultural studies and key concepts from the sociotechnicalsystems and development block approaches. It develops a microlevel approach under the labelsociotechnicalengineeringthat recognizes how engineers in theirdevelopment work are engaged in technological, social andcultural construction activities.
The result is a study of the technological, social, andcultural processes that influenced the forming of thedevelopment pair. It consists of a description of the centralelements of the Swedish electrotechnical development culture upto the First World War followed by five empirical case studieson collaborations around development of new electric powertechnologies. The first study concerns the development ofhigh-voltage circuit breakers at the first Swedish State hydropower plant 1906-16. The second looks at the development191526 of transformers for Vattenfalls Westerntrunk line. This is followed by another study oncircuit-breakers and its connection to the scientization ofSwedish technology in 192535. The fourth study is onlong-distance transmission technologies for Swedish super powertransmissions using high voltage direct and alternating currentin 1940-57. The last case study looks at the failedcollaboration on nuclear reactors in the end of the 1950s andthe ensuing crisis in the development collaboration. Notableresults are the importance to the development work of socialnetworks among engineers and Swedish technologicalnationalism.
Key words: history of technology, cultural history,history, electric power, government-industry relations,user-producer interaction, sociotechnical systems, developmentpair, technological nationalism, engineering culture,Vattenfall, Asea, 20th-century.
Institutionen för produktionssystem , 1999. , 263 p.