Social Science

Donald Mackenzie's Knowing Machines: Essays on Technical Change (Inside PDF

By Donald Mackenzie

ISBN-10: 0262133156

ISBN-13: 9780262133159

Starting from huge inquiries into the jobs of economics and sociology within the rationalization of technological switch to a controversy for the potential of "uninventing" nuclear guns, this option of Donald MacKenzie's essays presents a high-quality creation to the fashion and the substance of the sociology of technology.

The essays are tied jointly via their explorations of connections (primarily between know-how, society, and data) and by way of their normal specialize in sleek "high" expertise. in addition they percentage an emphasis at the complexity of technological formation and fixation and at the position of trust (especially self-validating trust) in technological change.

Two of the articles received significant prizes on their unique magazine booklet, and all yet one date from 1991 or later. a considerable new creation outlines the typical subject matters underlying this physique of labor and locations it within the context of contemporary debates in know-how stories. conceptual essays are by means of seven empirical essays concentrating on the laser gyroscopes which are crucial to fashionable airplane navigation expertise, supercomputers (with a specific emphasis on their use within the layout of nuclear weapons), the applying of mathematical evidence within the layout of desktops, computer-related unintended deaths, and the character of the data that's had to layout a nuclear bomb.

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Additional info for Knowing Machines: Essays on Technical Change (Inside Technology)

Sample text

The manufacturing worker, unable to perform or even understand the process of production as a whole, loses the intellectual command over production that the handicraft worker possessed. "What is lost by the specialized workers is concentrated in the capital which con- Marx and the Machine 33 fronts them. " The alienation of the collective nature of work has advanced one stage further, and the division of head and hand that typifies modern capitalism has begun to open up decisively. Marx quotes from a book written in 1824 a lament that the radical science movement of the 1960s and the 1970s would easily recognize: T h e man of knowledge and die productive laborer come to be widely divided from each other, and knowledge, instead of remaining the handmaid of labor in the hand of die laborer to increase his productive powers .

In some places I suspect, though I am not certain, diat I am calling for the bringing of coals to Newcastle. If any of this is true, I would be most grateful for both pardon and enlightenment. Unless we take the risk of revealing our ignorance, interdisciplinary bridges will not be built. In studies of technology, the gap between economic and sociological explanations is pervasive. Economic analyses are often based upon assumptions sociologists regard as absurd, while sociological writing often almost ignores the dimension of cost and profit in its subject matter.

4 Intrafirm processes are not, of course, ultimately insulated from what goes on outside the firm. That outside is a "selection environment" favoring certain routines over others. Nelson and Winter, especially, draw an explicit parallel with evolutionary biology, seeing routines as akin to genes, being selected for or against by their environment. This 52 Chapter 3 environment is not just "the market"; it includes other institutional structures as well. " One particular firm may be able to alter its environment only slightly (although some firms patently alter it more than slightly), but the behavior of the ensemble of firms is in large part what constitutes the environment.

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Knowing Machines: Essays on Technical Change (Inside Technology) by Donald Mackenzie


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