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Trevor Pinch

Trevor Pinch is Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. He is the coeditor of How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (MIT Press, 2003) and the coauthor of Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer and other books.

Titles by This Editor

New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology

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.

Economic Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies

Although social scientists generally agree that technology plays a key role in the economy, economics and technology have yet to be brought together into a coherent framework that is both analytically interesting and empirically oriented. This book draws on the tools of science and technology studies and economic sociology to reconceptualize the intersection of economy and technology, suggesting materiality--the idea that social existence involves not only actors and social relations but also objects--as the theoretical point of convergence. The contributors take up general concerns, such as individual agency in a network economy and the materiality of the household in economic history, as well as specific financial technologies such as the stock ticker, the trading room, and the telephone. Forms of infrastructure--accounting, global configurations of trading and information technologies, and patent law--are examined. Case studies of the impact of the Internet and information technology on consumption (e-commerce), the reputation economy (the rise of online reviews of products), and organizational settings (outsourcing of an IT system) round off this collection of essays.

Contributors: Elizabeth Popp Berman, Daniel Beunza, Michel Callon, Karin Knorr Cetina, Shay David, Thomas F. Gieryn, Barbara Grimpe, David Hatherly, David Leung, Christian Licoppe, Donald MacKenzie, Philip Mirowski, Fabian Muniesa, Edward Nik-Khah, Trevor Pinch, Alex Preda, Nicholas J. Rowland, David Stark, Richard Swedberg

The Co-Construction of Users and Technology

Users have become an integral part of technology studies. The essays in this volume look at the creative capacity of users to shape technology in all phases, from design to implementation. Using a variety of theoretical approaches, including a feminist focus on users and use (in place of the traditional emphasis on men and machines), concepts from semiotics, and the cultural studies view of consumption as a cultural activity, these essays examine what users do with technology and, in turn, what technology does to users. The contributors consider how users consume, modify, domesticate, design, reconfigure, and resist technological development—and how users are defined and transformed by technology.

The essays in part I show that resistance to and non-use of a technology can be a crucial factor in the eventual modification and improvement of that technology; examples considered include the introduction of the telephone into rural America and the influence of non-users of the Internet. The essays in part II look at advocacy groups and the many kinds of users they represent, particularly in the context of health care and clinical testing. The essays in part III examine the role of users in different phases of the design, testing, and selling of technology. Included here is an enlightening account of one company's design process for men's and women's shavers, which resulted in a "Ladyshave" for users assumed to be technophobes.

Taken together, the essays in How Users Mattershow that any understanding of users must take into consideration the multiplicity of roles they play—and that the conventional distinction between users and producers is largely artificial.

New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology

The impact of technology on society is clear and unmistakable. The influence of society on technology is more subtle. The 13 essays in this book draw on a wide array of case studies from cooking stoves to missile systems, from 15th­century Portugal to today's AI labs - to outline an original research program based on a synthesis of ideas from the social studies of science and the history of technology. Together they affirm the need for a study of technology that gives equal weight to technical, social, economic, and political questions.