Journal article

Professional lock-in: Structural engineers, architects and the disconnect between discourse and practice

A Chilvers, S Bell

Revue d'Anthropologie des Connaissances | CAIRN | Published : 2014


Recent challenges such as sustainable development and climate change suggest engineers to focus on societal issues. However, as this case study of structural design shows, professional arrangements within the construction field constrain engineers' efforts to pursue normative goals. Indeed, the sociotechnical networks to which they participate tend to dissociate them from the design process and persuade them to put aside their normative concerns. The persistence of these constraints points to 'professional lock-in' which may be just as pervasive and immutable as the 'technical lock-in' that has been identified as a key barrier in the transition to more sustainable sociotechnical systems.