Domestic PC production in the Soviet Baltic States 1977-1992
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The thesis argues for the necessity and value of a two-way interaction between high-level abstractions and rich historical narratives mediated by middle-range theories. The basic assumptions of critical realism are used to derive a socio-technical metatheory which, in turn, structures the synthesis of specific substantive theories. The conceptual tools provided by the Multi-Level Perspective, Analytical Sociology and (Technological) Systems of Innovation frameworks guide the study of the cases. The empirical core of the thesis consists of detailed histories of the birth, development and decay of ten different personal computer production attempts in the Soviet Baltic states roughly between 1977 and 1992. In order to generalize from the historical narratives a novel analytical technique is developed and employed. The resulting middle-range theorization locates the mechanisms and patterns of the evolution of these cases on three different levels of aggregation: intra-case, inter-case and system-level. Finally, the study makes analytical contributions to the socio-technical metatheory and provides philosophical justifications based on actual research practice for retaining the realist position.