Technological Dynamics in South African Mining and the Development of Racial Occupational Mobility Restrictions

IERI Working Paper 2008-004
Thomas Pogue

The paper illustrates the role of political and social dynamics upon technological change. Examining dynamics transforming excavation practices on South Africa’s goldmines, it describes how a technology that opened up a range of social and economic opportunities became a constraint on those opportunities. This technology’s development and diffusion thereby established a critical precedent in the spread of racial occupational mobility restrictions. Collaborative innovation is also a dominant feature in the analysis, highlighting both its historical importance in South Africa as well as the need for caution in its contemporary promotion.

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