Elite formation in the third industrial revolution



Publication Details

Urry, J., Viry, G. & Birtchnell, T. (2014). Elite formation in the third industrial revolution. In T. Birtchnell & J. Caletrio (Eds.), Elite Mobilities (pp. 62-77). Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.


This chapter brings together two topics normally understood separately: the study of elites and the processes by which new 'technologies' develop. We discuss these in the context of the new technology known as additive manufacturing or 3D printing. We examine how it was that elites came to be formed in this new and as yet still-to-be-fully-formed area of development. We show that behind every elite are formations of complex mobilities. We extract and visualize public patent data from the early history of this technology and consider the mobilities of innovation across organizations, relationships and affiliations. Social network analysis (SNA) is used here to examine critically the popular notion that elites are uniquely and individually responsible for what may be significant game-changing innovations.

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