Unravelling: the dynamics of technological decline

Zahar Koretsky

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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There is a growing recognition in the academic, policy and activist worlds of an urgency to navigate the current climate crisis by refusing to support production and use of certain technologies and infrastructures that are not environmentally sustainable (anymore). This research may be of relevance to scholars, policy-makers and anyone else curious of reading about why some technologies remain abandoned and do not return, while others do.
This is a study of three historical cases of decline of technologies: the incandescent light bulb in the EU, cloud seeding in the US, and the Ural computer in Soviet Russia. The research presents an approach to trace, make sense and, possibly, act on technological decline. In the dissertation decline is conceptualised as “unravelling”, as related competences become less used, related materials are harder to come by, and related meanings turn outdated. Six ideal-type pathways for the outcome of unravelling are formulated.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • van Lente, Harro, Supervisor
  • Zeiss, Ragna, Supervisor
Award date12 Apr 2022
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789464236781
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Technological decline

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