Sorting Things Out

Classification and Its Consequences

Author: Geoffrey C. Bowker,Susan Leigh Star

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262261609

Category: Science

Page: 389

View: 1379

What do a seventeenth-century mortality table (whose causes of death include "fainted in a bath," "frighted," and "itch"); the identification of South Africans during apartheid as European, Asian, colored, or black; and the separation of machine- from hand-washables have in common? All are examples of classification -- the scaffolding of information infrastructures.In Sorting Things Out, Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star explore the role of categories and standards in shaping the modern world. In a clear and lively style, they investigate a variety of classification systems, including the International Classification of Diseases, the Nursing Interventions Classification, race classification under apartheid in South Africa, and the classification of viruses and of tuberculosis.The authors emphasize the role of invisibility in the process by which classification orders human interaction. They examine how categories are made and kept invisible, and how people can change this invisibility when necessary. They also explore systems of classification as part of the built information environment. Much as an urban historian would review highway permits and zoning decisions to tell a city's story, the authors review archives of classification design to understand how decisions have been made. Sorting Things Out has a moral agenda, for each standard and category valorizes some point of view and silences another. Standards and classifications produce advantage or suffering. Jobs are made and lost; some regions benefit at the expense of others. How these choices are made and how we think about that process are at the moral and political core of this work. The book is an important empirical source for understanding the building of information infrastructures.

Sorting Things Out: the Classification of Nursing Work 8 Organizational Forgetting, Nursing Knowledge, and Classification IV The Theory and Practice of Classifications 9 Categorical Work and Boundary Infrastructures: Enriching Theories of Classification 10 Why Classifications Matter

Author: Geoffrey C. Bowker,Susan Leigh Star

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780262522953

Category: Knowledge, Sociology of

Page: 377

View: 3473

What do a seventeenth-century mortality table (whose causes of death include "fainted in a bath," "frighted," and "itch"); the identification of South Africans during apartheid as European, Asian, colored, or black; and the separation of machine- from hand-washables have in common? All are examples of classification--the scaffolding of information infrastructures. In Sorting Things Out, Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star explore the role of categories and standards in shaping the modern world. In a clear and lively style, they investigate a variety of classification systems, including the International Classification of Diseases, the Nursing Interventions Classification, race classification under apartheid in South Africa, and the classification of viruses and of tuberculosis. The authors emphasize the role of invisibility in the process by which classification orders human interaction. They examine how categories are made and kept invisible, and how people can change this invisibility when necessary. They also explore systems of classification as part of the built information environment. Much as an urban historian would review highway permits and zoning decisions to tell a city's story, the authors review archives of classification design to understand how decisions have been made. Sorting Things Out has a moral agenda, for each standard and category valorizes some point of view and silences another. Standards and classifications produce advantage or suffering. Jobs are made and lost; some regions benefit at the expense of others. How these choices are made and how we think about that process are at the moral and political core of this work. The book is an important empirical source for understanding the building of information infrastructures.

Sorting Things Out

Classification and Its Consequences

Author: Geoffrey C. Bowker,Susan Leigh Star

Publisher: MIT Press (MA)

ISBN: 9780262024617

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 377

View: 8018

Classification systems and their role in shaping philosophy and social interactions are explored in this unique analysis of human infrastructures.

Memory Practices in the Sciences

Author: Geoffrey C. Bowker

Publisher: MIT Press (MA)

ISBN: 9780262524896

Category: Science

Page: 261

View: 8881

The way we record knowledge, and the web of technical, formal, and social practices that surrounds it, inevitably affects the knowledge that we record. The ways we hold knowledge about the past -- in handwritten manuscripts, in printed books, in file folders, in databases -- shape the kind of stories we tell about that past. In this lively and erudite look at the relation of our information infrastructures to our information, Geoffrey Bowker examines how, over the past two hundred years, information technology has converged with the nature and production of scientific knowledge. His story weaves a path between the social and political work of creating an explicit, indexical memory for science -- the making of infrastructures -- and the variety of ways we continually reconfigure, lose, and regain the past.At a time when memory is so cheap and its recording is so protean, Bowker reminds us of the centrality of what and how we choose to forget. In Memory Practices in the Sciences he looks at three "memory epochs" of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries and their particular reconstructions and reconfigurations of scientific knowledge. The nineteenth century's central science, geology, mapped both the social and the natural world into a single time package (despite apparent discontinuities), as, in a different way, did mid-twentieth-century cybernetics. Both, Bowker argues, packaged time in ways indexed by their information technologies to permit traffic between the social and natural worlds. Today's sciences of biodiversity, meanwhile, "database the world" in a way that excludes certain spaces, entities, and times. We use the tools of the present to look at the past, says Bowker; we project onto nature our modes of organizing our own affairs.

Standards and Their Stories

How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life

Author: Martha Lampland,Susan Leigh Star

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 9780801474613

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 244

View: 1506

Standardization is one of the defining aspects of modern life, its presence so pervasive that it is usually taken for granted. However cumbersome, onerous, or simply puzzling certain standards may be, their fundamental purpose in streamlining procedures, regulating behaviors, and predicting results is rarely questioned. Indeed, the invisibility of infrastructure and the imperative of standardizing processes signify their absolute necessity. Increasingly, however, social scientists are beginning to examine the origins and effects of the standards that underpin the technology and practices of everyday life.Standards and Their Stories explores how we interact with the network of standards that shape our lives in ways both obvious and invisible. The main chapters analyze standardization in biomedical research, government bureaucracies, the insurance industry, labor markets, and computer technology, providing detailed accounts of the invention of "standard humans" for medical testing and life insurance actuarial tables, the imposition of chronological age as a biographical determinant, the accepted means of determining labor productivity, the creation of international standards for the preservation and access of metadata, and the global consequences of "ASCII imperialism" and the use of English as the lingua franca of the Internet.Accompanying these in-depth critiques are a series of examples that depict an almost infinite variety of standards, from the controversies surrounding the European Union's supposed regulation of banana curvature to the minimum health requirements for immigrants at Ellis Island, conflicting (and ever-increasing) food portion sizes, and the impact of standardized punishment metrics like "Three Strikes" laws. The volume begins with a pioneering essay from Susan Leigh Star and Martha Lampland on the nature of standards in everyday life that brings together strands from the several fields represented in the book. In an appendix, the editors provide a guide for teaching courses in this emerging interdisciplinary field, which they term "infrastructure studies," making Standards and Their Stories ideal for scholars, students, and those curious about why coffins are becoming wider, for instance, or why the Financial Accounting Standards Board refused to classify September 11 as an "extraordinary" event.

Boundary Objects and Beyond

Working with Leigh Star

Author: Geoffrey C. Bowker,Stefan Timmermans,Adele E. Clarke,Ellen Balka

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262331020

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 560

View: 4883

Susan Leigh Star (1954--2010) was one of the most influential science studies scholars of the last several decades. In her work, Star highlighted the messy practices of discovering science, asking hard questions about the marginalizing as well as the liberating powers of science and technology. In the landmark work Sorting Things Out, Star and Geoffrey Bowker revealed the social and ethical histories that are deeply embedded in classification systems. Star's most celebrated concept was the notion of boundary objects: representational forms -- things or theories -- that can be shared between different communities, with each holding its own understanding of the representation. Unfortunately, Leigh was unable to complete a work on the poetics of infrastructure that further developed the full range of her work. This volume collects articles by Star that set out some of her thinking on boundary objects, marginality, and infrastructure, together with essays by friends and colleagues from a range of disciplines -- from philosophy of science to organization science -- that testify to the wide-ranging influence of Star's work.ContributorsEllen Balka, Eevi E. Beck, Dick Boland, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Janet Ceja Alcalá, Adele E. Clarke, Les Gasser, James R. Griesemer, Gail Hornstein, John Leslie King, Cheris Kramarae, Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, Karen Ruhleder, Kjeld Schmidt, Brian Cantwell Smith, Susan Leigh Star, Anselm L. Strauss, Jane Summerton, Stefan Timmermans, Helen Verran, Nina Wakeford, Jutta Weber

Ecologies of Knowledge

Work and Politics in Science and Technology

Author: Susan Leigh Star

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 9780791425657

Category: Social Science

Page: 421

View: 5343

This collection of articles provides a comprehensive overview of personal and public issues related to social change and how they shape scientific and technical knowledge.

Science on the Run

Information Management and Industrial Geophysics at Schlumberger, 1920-1940

Author: Geoffrey C. Bowker

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262023672

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 191

View: 576

In this engaging account, Geoffrey Bowker reveals how Schlumberger devised a method of testing potential oil fields, produced a rhetoric, and secured a position that allowed it to manipulate the definition of what a technology is.

The Science Studies Reader

Author: Mario Biagioli

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 9780415918688

Category: Science

Page: 590

View: 2676

A landmark anthology of writing in the burgeoning new field of science studies, this collection features contributions by some of the most prominent scientific thinkers, speaking to the nature of science and knowledge across time, genders, and cultures.

Social History of Knowledge

From Gutenberg to Diderot

Author: Peter Burke

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0745676863

Category: History

Page: 648

View: 5929

In this book Peter Burke adopts a socio-cultural approach to examine the changes in the organization of knowledge in Europe from the invention of printing to the publication of the French Encyclopédie. The book opens with an assessment of different sociologies of knowledge from Mannheim to Foucault and beyond, and goes on to discuss intellectuals as a social group and the social institutions (especially universities and academies) which encouraged or discouraged intellectual innovation. Then, in a series of separate chapters, Burke explores the geography, anthropology, politics and economics of knowledge, focusing on the role of cities, academies, states and markets in the process of gathering, classifying, spreading and sometimes concealing information. The final chapters deal with knowledge from the point of view of the individual reader, listener, viewer or consumer, including the problem of the reliability of knowledge discussed so vigorously in the seventeenth century. One of the most original features of this book is its discussion of knowledges in the plural. It centres on printed knowledge, especially academic knowledge, but it treats the history of the knowledge 'explosion' which followed the invention of printing and the discovery of the world beyond Europe as a process of exchange or negotiation between different knowledges, such as male and female, theoretical and practical, high-status and low-status, and European and non-European. Although written primarily as a contribution to social or socio-cultural history, this book will also be of interest to historians of science, sociologists, anthropologists, geographers and others in another age of information explosion.

Accounting as Social and Institutional Practice

Author: Anthony G. Hopwood,Peter Miller

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521469654

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 324

View: 3218

Examines how and why accounting is so important to contemporary social and economic life.

Representation in Scientific Practice Revisited

Author: Catelijne Coopmans,Janet Vertesi,Michael E. Lynch

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262525380

Category: Science

Page: 366

View: 6275

Representation in Scientific Practice, published by the MIT Press in 1990, helped coalesce a long-standing interest in scientific visualization among historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science and remains a touchstone for current investigations in science and technology studies. This volume revisits the topic, taking into account both the changing conceptual landscape of STS and the emergence of new imaging technologies in scientific practice. It offers cutting-edge research on a broad array of fields that study information as well as short reflections on the evolution of the field by leading scholars, including some of the contributors to the 1990 volume. The essays consider the ways in which viewing experiences are crafted in the digital era; the embodied nature of work with digital technologies; the constitutive role of materials and technologies -- from chalkboards to brain scans -- in the production of new scientific knowledge; the metaphors and images mobilized by communities of practice; and the status and significance of scientific imagery in professional and popular culture. ContributorsMorana Alac, Michael Barany, Anne Beaulieu, Annamaria Carusi, Catelijne Coopmans, Lorraine Daston, Sarah de Rijcke, Joseph Dumit, Emma Frow, Yann Giraud, Aud Sissel Hoel, Martin Kemp, Bruno Latour, John Law, Michael Lynch, Donald MacKenzie, Cyrus Mody, Natasha Myers, Rachel Prentice, Arie Rip, Martin Ruivenkamp, Lucy Suchman, Janet Vertesi, Steve Woolgar

Legislators and Interpreters

On Modernity, Post-Modernity and Intellectuals

Author: Zygmunt Bauman

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0745673198

Category: Social Science

Page: 224

View: 3673

The book discusses the role of intellectuals in the modern world. Bauman connects this with current analyses of modernity and post-modernity. The theme of the book is that the tasks of intellectuals change from being 'legislators' to 'interpreters' with the transition from modernity to post-modernity. The book discusses the role of intellectuals in the modern world. Bauman connects this with current analyses of modernity and post-modernity. The theme of the book is that the tasks of intellectuals change from being 'legislators' to 'interpreters' with the transition from modernity to post-modernity.

Methodologies for the Rhetoric of Health & Medicine

Author: Lisa Meloncon

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISBN: 1315303744

Category:

Page: N.A

View: 3307

This volume charts new methodological territories for rhetorical studies and the emerging field of the rhetoric of health and medicine. In offering an expanded, behind-the-scenes view of rhetorical methodologies, it advances the larger goal of differentiating the rhetoric of health and medicine as a distinct but pragmatically diverse area of study, while providing rhetoricians and allied scholars new ways to approach and explain their research. Collectively, the volume's 16 chapters: Develop, through extended examples of research, creative theories and methodologies for studying and engaging medicine's high-stakes practices. Provide thick descriptions of and heuristics for methodological invention and adaptation that meet the needs of needs of new and established researchers. Discuss approaches to researching health and medical rhetorics across a range of contexts (e.g., historical, transnational, socio-cultural, institutional) and about a range of ethical issues (e.g., agency, social justice, responsiveness).

The Social Construction of Technological Systems

New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology

Author: Wiebe E. Bijker,Thomas P. Hughes,Trevor Pinch,Deborah G. Douglas

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262300877

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 472

View: 2228

This pioneering book, first published in 1987, launched the new field of social studies of technology. It introduced a method of inquiry--social construction of technology, or SCOT--that became a key part of the wider discipline of science and technology studies. The book helped the MIT Press shape its STS list and inspired the Inside Technology series. The thirteen essays in the book tell stories about such varied technologies as thirteenth-century galleys, eighteenth-century cooking stoves, and twentieth-century missile systems. Taken together, they affirm the fruitfulness of an approach to the study of technology that gives equal weight to technical, social, economic, and political questions, and they demonstrate the illuminating effects of the integration of empirics and theory. The approaches in this volume--collectively called SCOT (after the volume's title) have since broadened their scope, and twenty-five years after the publication of this book, it is difficult to think of a technology that has not been studied from a SCOT perspective and impossible to think of a technology that cannot be studied that way.

Laws of the Markets

Author: Michel Callon

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

ISBN: 9780631206088

Category: Social Science

Page: 288

View: 2764

With the collapse of the planned economies of Eastern Europe, the market is extending its reach and at the same time claiming its universal applicability.

Imagined Democracies

Necessary Political Fictions

Author: Yaron Ezrahi

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139577069

Category: Political Science

Page: N.A

View: 4394

This book proposes a revisionist approach to democratic politics. Yaron Ezrahi focuses on the creative unconscious collective imagination that generates ever-changing visions of legitimate power and authority, which compete for enactment and institutionalization in the political arena. If, in the past, political authority was grounded in fictions such as the divine right of kings, the laws of nature, historical determinism and scientism, today the space of democratic politics is filled with multiple alternative social imaginaries of the desirable political order. Exposure to electronic mass media has made contemporary democratic publics more aware that credible popular fictions have greater impact on shaping our political realities than do rational social choices or moral arguments. The pressing political question in contemporary democracy is, therefore, how to select and enact political fictions that promote peace and how to found the political order on checks and balances between alternative political imaginaries of freedom and justice.

Innocent Experiments

Childhood and the Culture of Popular Science in the United States

Author: Rebecca Onion

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 1469629488

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 7087

From the 1950s to the digital age, Americans have pushed their children to live science-minded lives, cementing scientific discovery and youthful curiosity as inseparable ideals. In this multifaceted work, historian Rebecca Onion examines the rise of informal children's science education in the twentieth century, from the proliferation of home chemistry sets after World War I to the century-long boom in child-centered science museums. Onion looks at how the United States has increasingly focused its energies over the last century into producing young scientists outside of the classroom. She shows that although Americans profess to believe that success in the sciences is synonymous with good citizenship, this idea is deeply complicated in an era when scientific data is hotly contested and many Americans have a conflicted view of science itself. These contradictions, Onion explains, can be understood by examining the histories of popular science and the development of ideas about American childhood. She shows how the idealized concept of "science" has moved through the public consciousness and how the drive to make child scientists has deeply influenced American culture.

Toward a History of Epistemic Things

Synthesizing Proteins in the Test Tube

Author: Hans-Jörg Rheinberger

Publisher: LIT Verlag Münster

ISBN: 9780804727860

Category: Science

Page: 325

View: 8559

Arguing for the primacy of the material arrangements of the laboratory in the dynamics of modern molecular biology, the author develops a new epistemology of experimentation in which research is treated as a process for producing epistemic things.

Media Technologies

Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society

Author: Tarleton Gillespie,Pablo J. Boczkowski,Kirsten A. Foot

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262525372

Category: Computers

Page: 325

View: 8683

Scholars from communication and media studies join those from science and technology studies to examine media technologies as complex, sociomaterial phenomena.