Donald MacKenzie: Knowing Machines: Essays on Technical Change (1996)

2 January 2013, dusan

Ranging from broad inquiries into the roles of economics and sociology in the explanation of technological change to an argument for the possibility of “uninventing” nuclear weapons, this selection of Donald MacKenzie’s essays provides a solid introduction to the style and substance of the sociology of technology.

Two conceptual essays are followed by seven empirical essays focusing on the laser gyroscopes that are central to modern aircraft navigation technology, supercomputers (with a particular emphasis on their use in the design of nuclear weapons), the application of mathematical proof in the design of computer systems, computer-related accidental deaths, and the nature of the knowledge that is needed to design a nuclear bomb. Two of the articles won major prizes on their original journal publication. A substantial new introduction outlines the common themes underlying this body of work and places them in the context of recent debates in technology studies.

Publisher MIT Press, 1996
Inside Technology series
ISBN 0262133156, 9780262133159
338 pages

review (Brian Martin, Metascience)

google books


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