Understanding the intersection of economic sociology and science and technology studies through the idea of materiality.
The United States ushered in a new era of small-scale broadcasting in 2000 when it began issuing low-power FM (LPFM) licenses for noncommercial radio stations around the country. Over the next decade, several hundred of these newly created low-wattage stations took to the airwaves. In Low Power to the People, Christina Dunbar-Hester describes the practices of an activist organization focused on LPFM during this era. Despite its origins as a pirate broadcasting collective, the group eventually shifted toward building and expanding regulatory access to new, licensed stations. These radio activists consciously cast radio as an alternative to digital utopianism, promoting an understanding of electronic media that emphasizes the local community rather than a global audience of Internet users.Dunbar-Hester focuses on how these radio activists impute emancipatory politics to the "old" medium of radio technology by promoting the idea that "microradio" broadcasting holds the potential to empower ordinary people at the local community level. The group's methods combine political advocacy with a rare commitment to hands-on technical work with radio hardware, although the activists' hands-on, inclusive ethos was hampered by persistent issues of race, class, and gender. Dunbar-Hester's study of activism around an "old" medium offers broader lessons about how political beliefs are expressed through engagement with specific technologies. It also offers insight into contemporary issues in media policy that is particularly timely as the FCC issues a new round of LPFM licenses.
“It is simply too much” is a common complaint of the modern age. This book looks at how people and institutions deal with overflow - of information, consumption or choices. The essays explore the ways in which notions of overflow – framed in terms of excess and abundance or their implicit opposites, scarcity and dearth – crop up in a number of contexts such as sociological and economic theory, management consulting, consumer studies, and the politics of everyday life. Chapters range from studies of overload at home, at work or in the world of cyber information; strategies of coping with overflow in institutions such as news agencies; and historical comparisons. When, where, how and for whom is overflow a problem or a blessing?
The essays in this volume study the creation, adaptation, and use of science and technology in Latin America. They challenge the view that scientific ideas and technology travel unchanged from the global North to the global South -- the view of technology as "imported magic." They describe not only alternate pathways for innovation, invention, and discovery but also how ideas and technologies circulate in Latin American contexts and transnationally. The contributors' explorations of these issues, and their examination of specific Latin American experiences with science and technology, offer a broader, more nuanced understanding of how science, technology, politics, and power interact in the past and present.The essays in this book use methods from history and the social sciences to investigate forms of local creation and use of technologies; the circulation of ideas, people, and artifacts in local and global networks; and hybrid technologies and forms of knowledge production. They address such topics as the work of female forensic geneticists in Colombia; the pioneering Argentinean use of fingerprinting technology in the late nineteenth century; the design, use, and meaning of the XO Laptops created and distributed by the One Laptop per Child Program; and the development of nuclear energy in Argentina, Mexico, and Chile.ContributorsPedro Ignacio Alonso, Morgan G. Ames, Javiera Barandiarán, João Biehl, Anita Say Chan, Amy Cox Hall, Henrique Cukierman, Ana Delgado, Rafael Dias, Adriana Díaz del Castillo H., Mariano Fressoli, Jonathan Hagood, Christina Holmes, Matthieu Hubert, Noela Invernizzi, Michael Lemon, Ivan da Costa Marques, Gisela Mateos, Eden Medina, María Fernanda Olarte Sierra, Hugo Palmarola, Tania Pérez-Bustos, Julia Rodriguez, Israel Rodríguez-Giralt, Edna Suárez Díaz, Hernán Thomas, Manuel Tironi, Dominique Vinck
Technological change is often seen as something that follows its own logic -- something we may welcome, or about which we may protest, but which we are unable to alter fundamentally. This reader challenges that assumption and its distinguished contributors demonstrate that technology is affected at a fundamental level by the social context in which it develops. General arguments are introduced about the relation of technology to society and different types of technology are examined: the technology of production: domestic and reproductive technology; and military technology. The book draws on authors from Karl Marx to Cynthia Cockburn to show that production technology is shaped by social relations in the workplace. It moves on to the technologies of the household and biological reproduction, which are topics that male-dominated social science has tended to ignore or trivialise -- though these are actually of crucial significance where powerful shaping factors are at work, normally unnoticed. The final section asks what shapes the most frightening technology of all -- the technology of weaponry, especially nuclear weapons. The editors argue that social scientists have devoted disproportionate attention to the effects of technology on society, and tended to ignore the more fundamental question of what shapes technology in the first place. They have drawn both on established work in the history and sociology of technology and on newer feminist perspectives t
Are ghosts real? Are there truly haunted places, only haunted people, or both? And how can we know? Taking neither a credulous nor a dismissive approach, this first-of-its-kind book solves those perplexing mysteries and more-even answering the question of why we care so very much. From the most ancient times, people have experienced apparent contact with spirits of the dead. Some have awakened to see a ghost at their bedside or encountered a spectral figure gliding through a medieval castle. Others have seemingly communicated with spirits, like the Old Testament's Witch of Endor, the spiritualists whose darkroom séances provoked scientific controversy in the last two centuries, or today's "psychic mediums," like John Edward or Sylvia Browne, who seem to reach the "Other Side" even under the glare of television lights. Currently, equipment-laden ghost hunters stalk their quarry in haunted places-from urban houses to country graveyards-recording "anomalies" they insist cannot be explained. Putting aside purely romantic tales, this book examines the actual evidence for such contact-from eyewitness accounts to mediumistic productions (such as diaphanous forms materializing in dim light), spirit photographs, ghost-detection phenomena, and even CSI-type trace evidence. Offering numerous exciting case studies, this book engages in serious investigation rather than breathless mystifying. Pseudoscience, folk legends, and outright hoaxes are challenged and exposed, while the historical, cultural, and scientific aspects of ghost experiences and haunting reports are carefully explored. The author-the world's only professional paranormal investigator-brings his skills as a stage magician, private detective, folklorist, and forensic science writer to bear on a topic that demands serious study.
Interdisciplinarity has become as important outside academia as within. Academics, policy makers, and the general public seek insights to help organize the vast amounts of knowledge being produced, both within research and at all levels of education. The second edition of The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity offers a thorough update of this major reference work, summarizing the latest advances within the field of inter- and transdisciplinarity. The collection is distinguished by its breadth of coverage, with chapters written by leading experts from multiple networks and organizations. The volume is edited by respected interdisciplinary scholars and supported by a prestigious advisory board to ensure the highest quality and breadth of coverage. The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity provides a synoptic overview of the current state of interdisciplinary research, education, administration and management, and of problem solving-knowledge that spans the disciplines and interdisciplinary fields. The volume negotiates the space between the academic community and society at large. Offering the most broad-based account of inter- and transdisciplinarity to date, its 47 chapters provide a snapshot of the state of knowledge integration as interdisciplinarity approaches its century mark. This second edition expands its coverage to discuss the emergence of new fields, the increase of interdisciplinary approaches within traditional disciplines and professions, new integrative approaches to education and training, the widening international presence of interdisciplinarity, its increased support in funding agencies and science-policy bodies, and the formation of several new international associations associated with interdisciplinarity. This reference book will be a valuable addition to academic libraries worldwide, important reading for members of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities engaged in interdisciplinary research and education, and helpful for administrators and policy makers seeking to improve the use of knowledge in society.
Dedicated to the controversial question of whether economics is performative - of whether, in some cases, economics actually produces the phenomena it analyzes, this book features case studies that intend to offer substance to the notion of the performativity of economics in an accessible, nontechnical way.
Science is secretly at work behind the scenes of major cities of the world and will continue to be so. Technological advances in fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, electronics, and nanotechnology are proving increasingly important to city life, and the urban world will turn to science to deliver solutions to the problems of the future; more than 50 percent of the world's population now lives in cities, and that proportion is growing fast. Can engineering provide the answer to a viable megacity future? Science and the City starts at your front door and guides you through the technology of everyday city life: how new approaches to building materials help to construct the tallest skyscrapers in Dubai, how New Yorkers use light to treat their drinking water, how Tokyo commuters' footsteps power gates in train stations. Uncovering the science and engineering that shapes our cities, Laurie Winkless reveals how technology will help us meet the challenges of a soaring world population--from an ever-increasing demand for power, water, and internet access, to simply how to get about in a megacity of tens of millions of people.
Hornborg argues that we are caught in a collective illusion about the nature of modern technology that prevents us from imagining solutions to our economic and environmental crises other than technocratic fixes. He demonstrates how the power of the machine generates increasingly asymmetrical exchanges and distribution of resources and risks between distant populations and ecosystems, and thus an increasingly polarized world order. The author challenges us to reconceptualize the machine-'industrial technomass'—as a species of power and a problem of culture. He shows how economic anthropology has the tools to deconstruct the concepts of production, money capital, and market exchange, and to analyze capital accumulation as a problem at the very interface of the natural and social sciences. Hornborg's work is essential for researchers in anthropology, human ecology, economics, political economy, world-systems theory, environmental justice, and science and technology studies.
Howard Rheingold has been called the First Citizen of the Internet. In this book he tours the "virtual community" of online networking. He describes a community that is as real and as much a mixed bag as any physical community -- one where people talk, argue, seek information, organize politically, fall in love, and dupe others. At the same time that he tells moving stories about people who have received online emotional support during devastating illnesses, he acknowledges a darker side to people's behavior in cyberspace. Indeed, contends Rheingold, people relate to each other online much the same as they do in physical communities.Originally published in 1993, The Virtual Community is more timely than ever. This edition contains a new chapter, in which the author revisits his ideas about online social communication now that so much more of the world's population is wired. It also contains an extended bibliography.
A revealing and surprising look at how classification systems can shape both worldviews and social interactions. 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.
Fully revised and updated, the second edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, first published in 2001, offers a source of social and behavioral sciences reference material that is broader and deeper than any other. Available in both print and online editions, it comprises over 3,900 articles, commissioned by 71 Section Editors, and includes 90,000 bibliographic references as well as comprehensive name and subject indexes. Provides authoritative, foundational, interdisciplinary knowledge across the wide range of behavioral and social sciences fields Discusses history, current trends and future directions Topics are cross-referenced with related topics and each article highlights further reading
Stem cell research has sparked controversy and heated debate since the first human stem cell line was derived in 1998. Too frequently these debates devolve to simple judgments—good or bad, life-saving medicine or bioethical nightmare, symbol of human ingenuity or our fall from grace—ignoring the people affected. With this book, Ruha Benjamin moves the terms of debate to focus on the shifting relationship between science and society, on the people who benefit—or don't—from regenerative medicine and what this says about our democratic commitments to an equitable society. People's Science uncovers the tension between scientific innovation and social equality, taking the reader inside California's 2004 stem cell initiative, the first of many state referenda on scientific research, to consider the lives it has affected. Benjamin reveals the promise and peril of public participation in science, illuminating issues of race, disability, gender, and socio-economic class that serve to define certain groups as more or less deserving in their political aims and biomedical hopes. Under the shadow of the free market and in a nation still at odds with universal healthcare, the socially marginalized are often eagerly embraced as test-subjects, yet often are unable to afford new medicines and treatment regimes as patients. Ultimately, Ruha Benjamin argues that without more deliberate consideration about how scientific initiatives can and should reflect a wider array of social concerns, stem cell research— from African Americans' struggle with sickle cell treatment to the recruitment of women as tissue donors—still risks excluding many. Even as regenerative medicine is described as a participatory science for the people, Benjamin asks us to consider if "the people" ultimately reflects our democratic ideals.
This book is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist's assessment of options for switching to sustainable energy provision to avert potentially disastrous consequences of climate change.
While most people are familiar with The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, few know that during the last decade of his life Max Weber (1864-1920) also tried to develop a new way of analyzing economic phenomena, which he termed "economic sociology." Indeed, this effort occupies the central place in Weber's thought during the years just before his death. Richard Swedberg here offers a critical presentation and the first major study of this fascinating part of Weber's work. This book shows how Weber laid a solid theoretical foundation for economic sociology and developed a series of new and highly evocative concepts. He not only investigated economic phenomena but also linked them clearly with political, legal, and religious phenomena. Swedberg also demonstrates that Weber's approach to economic sociology addresses a major problem that has haunted economic analysis since the nineteenth century: how to effectively unite an interest-driven type of analysis (popular with economists) with a social one (of course preferred by sociologists). Exploring Weber's views of the economy and how he viewed its relationship to politics, law, and religion, Swedberg furthermore discusses similarities and differences between Weber's economic sociology and present-day thinking on the same topic. In addition, the author shows how economic sociology has recently gained greater credibility as economists and sociologists have begun to collaborate in studying problems of organizations, political structures, social problems, and economic culture more generally. Swedberg's book will be sure to further this new cooperation.
Even as US spending on healthcare skyrockets, impoverished Americans continue to fall ill and die of preventable conditions. Although the majority of health outcomes are shaped by non-medical factors, public and private healthcare reform efforts have largely ignored the complex local circumstances that make it difficult for struggling men, women, and children to live healthier lives. In Dying and Living in the Neighborhood, Dr. Prabhjot Singh argues that we must look beyond the walls of the hospital and into the neighborhoods where patients live and die to address the troubling rise in chronic disease. Building on his training as a physician in Harlem, Dr. Singh draws from research in sociology and economics to look at how our healthcare systems are designed and how the development of technologies like the Internet enable us to rethink strategies for assembling healthier neighborhoods. In part I, Singh presents the story of Ray, a patient whose death illuminated how he had lived, his neighborhood context, and the forces that accelerated his decline. In part II, Singh introduces nationally recognized pioneers who are acting on the local level to build critical components of a neighborhood-based health system. In the process, he encounters a movement of people and organizations with similar visions of a porous, neighborhood-embedded healthcare system. Finally, in part III he explores how civic technologies may help forge a new set of relationships among healthcare, public health, and community development. Every rising public health leader, frontline clinician, and policymaker in the country should read this book to better understand how they can contribute to a more integrated and supportive healthcare system.