MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Instrumentalization in the Public Smart Bikeshare Sector

    Bradshaw, Robert (2018) Instrumentalization in the Public Smart Bikeshare Sector. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

    Download (8MB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    This thesis is concerned with understanding how smart technologies are conceived, created and implemented, and explores the ways these processes are shaped by historical, geo-political, economic and technical contexts. At its core the thesis is concerned with understanding how technical citizenship and democracy can be preserved within the design process against a backdrop of increasing neoliberalism and technocracy. This is investigated by means of a comparative study of smart public bikeshare schemes in Dublin, Ireland and Hamilton, Canada. These schemes are configured and systemized using a variety of technical and ideological rationales and express the imaginaries of place in significantly different ways. Utilising a conceptual framework derived from Andrew Feenberg’s critical theory of technology, the thesis unpacks and problematizes the innovation process in order to understand how the outcomes of these schemes support the way of life of one or another influential social group. The philosophical orientation of the study is critical constructivism which combines a form of constructivism with more systematic and socially critical views of technology. The axis of comparison between the schemes is democratization and the manner in which the rationalizations and embedded cultural assumptions characterizing particular places operate to support or resist more egalitarian forms of participation. Methodologically, Feenberg’s critical framework is supported both by theory-driven thematic coding and critical hermeneutics which is an interpretative process that compliments the theoretical framework and positions issues of power and ideology within a wider, macro-level context. Data sources supporting the research comprise interviews, a variety of documentary sources and the architectures and technical specifications of both smart bikeshare systems. The findings from the research illustrate that despite the pervasiveness of a neoliberal orthodoxy conditioning technology production, citizen-centric design is still possible within a climate of consensus building and cooperation. As such, the thesis adds to the body of knowledge on philosophy of technology, critical urbanism, smart city development, democratic engagement and collaborative infrastructuring. In addition, the conceptual framework, developed in response to the empirical cases, represents an elaboration of Feenberg’s work and so the thesis also makes an important contribution to the analytic and methodological potential of critical theory of technology.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Instrumentalization; Public Smart Bikeshare Sector;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 10509
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2019 15:37
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

      Repository Staff Only(login required)

      View Item Item control page


      Downloads per month over past year

      Origin of downloads