The Socio-Technical Alliance: Bringing New Tools to the Design of Policies Aimed to Promote Social Inclusion


  • This article is an output from a set of research projects, currently developing funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC-Ottawa, Canada), ANPCyT (PICT 2008-2115), and the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes.


In this article, we analyze the links between some cases of biodiesel production from waste cooking oil (WCO) and the passing of the Biofuels Act by the Argentinean parliament. The analysis is guided by a theoretical–methodological approach based on tools drawn from the social studies of technology field.

The employment of eatable crops in the biofuel industry sparked a global debate concerning the drawbacks. Critics argue that it deepens the capital-intensive monoculture agricultural production, driving away small farmers and peasants from their lands.

Far from these debates, in southern Buenos Aires Province, there were alternative biodiesel production experiences whose main objective was providing solutions to social and environmental problems. After the Biofuels Act was passed, the new scenario posed unprecedented challenges.

The socio-technical approach allowed operating a systemic interpretation of these processes, bringing new insights to explain the construction of sustainability—or impracticality—of technological policies aimed to promote social inclusion.