This paper explores critical and constructivist theories of technology, and discusses the political and ideological nature of (bio)technology development. The importance of a conceptualization of technologies as value-laden ‘socio-technical ensembles’ is discussed, rather than as value-neutral objects, or tools. These conceptualizations are then used to sketch a continuum of development approaches which extends from their relation to a ‘transfer of technology approach’, to an ‘endogenous technology development approach’. This continuum inspires a rethinking of the possibilities to reconstruct biotechnologies and to tailor them to processes of endogenous development. In doing so, the value of participatory methodologies in coming to a contextualized biotechnology development is re-evaluated.