Geoffrey C. Bowker

Geoffrey C. Bowker is Professor and Director of the Evoke Lab at the University of California, Irvine. He is the coauthor (with Susan Leigh Star) of Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences and the author of Memory Practices in the Sciences, both published by the MIT Press.

  • Boundary Objects and Beyond

    Boundary Objects and Beyond

    Working with Leigh Star

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

    The multifaceted work of the late Susan Leigh Star is explored through a selection of her writings and essays by friends and colleagues.

    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.

    Contributors Ellen 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

    • Hardcover $81.00
    • Paperback $40.00
  • Memory Practices in the Sciences

    Memory Practices in the Sciences

    Geoffrey C. Bowker

    How the way we hold knowledge about the past—in books, in file folders, in databases—affects the kind of stories we tell about the past.

    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.

    • Hardcover $34.95
    • Paperback $23.95
  • Sorting Things Out

    Sorting Things Out

    Classification and Its Consequences

    Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star

    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.

    • Hardcover $13.75
    • Paperback $32.00
  • Science on the Run

    Science on the Run

    Information Management and Industrial Geophysics at Schlumberger, 1920-1940

    Geoffrey C. Bowker

    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.

    This is the story of how one company created and codified a new science "on the run," away from the confines of the laboratory. By construing its service as scientific, Schlumberger was able to get the edge on the competition and construct an enviable niche for itself in a fast-growing industry.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. Bowker calls the heart of the story "The Two Measurements That Worked," and he renders it in the style of a myth. In so doing, he shows seamlessly how society becomes embedded even in that most basic and seemingly value-independent of scientific concepts: the measurement.Bowker describes the origins and peregrinations of Schlumberger, details the ways in which the science developed in the field was translated into a form that could be defended in a patent court, and analyzes the company's strategies within the broader context of industrial science.Inside Technology series

    • Hardcover $8.75

Contributor

  • Energy at the End of the World

    Energy at the End of the World

    An Orkney Islands Saga

    Laura Watts

    Making local energy futures, from marine energy to hydrogen fuel, at the edge of the world.

    The islands of Orkney, off the northern coast of Scotland, are closer to the Arctic Circle than to London. Surrounded by fierce seas and shrouded by clouds and mist, the islands seem to mark the edge of the known world. And yet they are a center for energy technology innovation, from marine energy to hydrogen fuel networks, attracting the interest of venture capitalists and local communities. In this book, Laura Watts tells a story of making energy futures at the edge of the world.

    Orkney, Watts tells us, has been making technology for six thousand years, from arrowheads and stone circles to wave and tide energy prototypes. Artifacts and traces of all the ages—Stone, Bronze, Iron, Viking, Silicon—are visible everywhere. The islanders turned to energy innovation when forced to contend with an energy infrastructure they had outgrown. Today, Orkney is home to the European Marine Energy Centre, established in 2003. There are about forty open-sea marine energy test facilities in the world, many of which draw on Orkney expertise. The islands generate more renewable energy than they use, are growing hydrogen fuel and electric car networks, and have hundreds of locally owned micro wind turbines and a decade-old smart grid. Mixing storytelling and ethnography, empiricism and lyricism, Watts tells an Orkney energy saga—an account of how the islands are creating their own low-carbon future in the face of the seemingly impossible. The Orkney Islands, Watts shows, are playing a long game, making energy futures for another six thousand years.

    • Hardcover $35.00
  • Design Unbound: Designing for Emergence in a White Water World, Volume 1: Designing for Emergence

    Design Unbound: Designing for Emergence in a White Water World, Volume 1: Designing for Emergence

    Ann M. Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely Brown

    Tools for navigating today's hyper-connected, rapidly changing, and radically contingent white water world.

    Design Unbound presents a new tool set for having agency in the twenty-first century, in what the authors characterize as a white water world—rapidly changing, hyperconnected, and radically contingent. These are the tools of a new kind of practice that is the offspring of complexity science, which gives us a new lens through which to view the world as entangled and emerging, and architecture, which is about designing contexts. In such a practice, design, unbound from its material thingness, is set free to design contexts as complex systems.

    In a world where causality is systemic, entangled, in flux, and often elusive, we cannot design for absolute outcomes. Instead, we need to design for emergence. Design Unbound not only makes this case through theory but also presents a set of tools to do so. With case studies that range from a new kind of university to organizational, and even societal, transformation, Design Unbound draws from a vast array of domains: architecture, science and technology, philosophy, cinema, music, literature and poetry, even the military. It is presented in five books, bound as two volumes. Different books within the larger system of books will resonate with different reading audiences, from architects to people reconceiving higher education to the public policy or defense and intelligence communities. The authors provide different entry points allowing readers to navigate their own pathways through the system of books.

    • Paperback $34.95
  • Design Unbound: Designing for Emergence in a White Water World, Volume 2

    Design Unbound: Designing for Emergence in a White Water World, Volume 2

    Ecologies of Change

    Ann M. Pendleton-Jullian and John Seely Brown

    Tools for navigating today's hyper-connected, rapidly changing, and radically contingent white water world.

    Design Unbound presents a new tool set for having agency in the twenty-first century, in what the authors characterize as a white water world—rapidly changing, hyperconnected, and radically contingent. These are the tools of a new kind of practice that is the offspring of complexity science, which gives us a new lens through which to view the world as entangled and emerging, and architecture, which is about designing contexts. In such a practice, design, unbound from its material thingness, is set free to design contexts as complex systems.

    In a world where causality is systemic, entangled, in flux, and often elusive, we cannot design for absolute outcomes. Instead, we need to design for emergence. Design Unbound not only makes this case through theory but also presents a set of tools to do so. With case studies that range from a new kind of university to organizational, and even societal, transformation, Design Unbound draws from a vast array of domains: architecture, science and technology, philosophy, cinema, music, literature and poetry, even the military. It is presented in five books, bound as two volumes. Different books within the larger system of books will resonate with different reading audiences, from architects to people reconceiving higher education to the public policy or defense and intelligence communities. The authors provide different entry points allowing readers to navigate their own pathways through the system of books.

    • Paperback $34.95
  • Documenting Aftermath

    Documenting Aftermath

    Information Infrastructures in the Wake of Disasters

    Megan Finn

    An examination of how changing public information infrastructures shaped people's experience of earthquakes in Northern California in 1868, 1906, and 1989.

    When an earthquake happens in California today, residents may look to the United States Geological Survey for online maps that show the quake's epicenter, turn to Twitter for government bulletins and the latest news, check Facebook for updates from friends and family, and count on help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). One hundred and fifty years ago, however, FEMA and other government agencies did not exist, and information came by telegraph and newspaper. In Documenting Aftermath, Megan Finn explores changing public information infrastructures and how they shaped people's experience of disaster, examining postearthquake information and communication practices in three Northern California earthquakes: the 1868 Hayward Fault earthquake, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. She then analyzes the institutions, policies, and technologies that shape today's postdisaster information landscape.

    Finn argues that information orders—complex constellations of institutions, technologies, and practices—influence how we act in, experience, and document events. What Finn terms event epistemologies, constituted both by historical documents and by researchers who study them, explain how information orders facilitate particular possibilities for knowledge. After the 1868 earthquake, the Chamber of Commerce telegraphed reassurances to out-of-state investors while local newspapers ran sensational earthquake narratives; in 1906, families and institutions used innovative techniques for locating people; and in 1989, government institutions and the media developed a symbiotic relationship in information dissemination. Today, government disaster response plans and new media platforms imagine different sources of informational authority yet work together shaping disaster narratives.

    • Hardcover $39.00
  • Machineries of Oil

    Machineries of Oil

    An Infrastructural History of BP in Iran

    Katayoun Shafiee

    The emergence of the international oil corporation as a political actor in the twentieth century, seen in BP's infrastructure and information arrangements in Iran.

    In the early twentieth century, international oil corporations emerged as a new kind of political actor. The development of the world oil industry, argues Katayoun Shafiee, was one of the era's largest political projects of techno-economic development. In this book, Shafiee maps the machinery of oil operations in the Anglo-Iranian oil industry between 1901 and 1954, tracking the organizational work involved in moving oil through a variety of technical, legal, scientific, and administrative networks. She shows that, in a series of disagreements, the British-controlled Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC, which later became BP) relied on various forms of information management to transform political disputes into techno-economic calculation, guaranteeing the company complete control over profits, labor, and production regimes. She argues that the building of alliances and connections that constituted Anglo-Iranian oil's infrastructure reconfigured local politics of oil regions and examines how these arrangements in turn shaped the emergence of both nation-state and transnational oil corporation.

    Drawing on her extensive archival and field research in Iran, Shafiee investigates the surprising ways in which nature, technology, and politics came together in battles over mineral rights; standardizing petroleum expertise; formulas for calculating profits, production rates, and labor; the “Persianization” of employees; nationalism and oil nationalization; and the long-distance machinery of an international corporation. Her account shows that the politics of oil cannot be understood in isolation from its technical dimensions.

    • Hardcover $39.00
  • Waste Is Information

    Waste Is Information

    Infrastructure Legibility and Governance

    Dietmar Offenhuber

    The relationship between infrastructure governance and the ways we read and represent waste systems, examined through three waste tracking and participatory sensing projects.

    Waste is material information. Landfills are detailed records of everyday consumption and behavior; much of what we know about the distant past we know from discarded objects unearthed by archaeologists and interpreted by historians. And yet the systems and infrastructures that process our waste often remain opaque. In this book, Dietmar Offenhuber examines waste from the perspective of information, considering emerging practices and technologies for making waste systems legible and how the resulting datasets and visualizations shape infrastructure governance. He does so by looking at three waste tracking and participatory sensing projects in Seattle, São Paulo, and Boston.

    Offenhuber expands the notion of urban legibility—the idea that the city can be read like a text—to introduce the concept of infrastructure legibility. He argues that infrastructure governance is enacted through representations of the infrastructural system, and that these representations stem from the different stakeholders' interests, which drive their efforts to make the system legible. The Trash Track project in Seattle used sensor technology to map discarded items through the waste and recycling systems; the Forager project looked at the informal organization processes of waste pickers working for Brazilian recycling cooperatives; and mobile systems designed by the city of Boston allowed residents to report such infrastructure failures as potholes and garbage spills. Through these case studies, Offenhuber outlines an emerging paradigm of infrastructure governance based on acomplex negotiation among users, technology, and the city.

    • Hardcover $34.00
  • Paid

    Paid

    Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff

    Bill Maurer and Lana Swartz

    Stories about objects left in the wake of transactions, from cryptocurrencies to leaf-imprinted banknotes to records kept with knotted string.

    Museums are full of the coins, notes, beads, shells, stones, and other objects people have exchanged for millennia. But what about the debris, the things that allow a transaction to take place and are left in its wake? How would a museum go about curating our scrawls on electronic keypads, the receipts wadded in our wallets, that vast information infrastructure that runs the card networks? This book is a catalog for a museum exhibition that never happened. It offers a series of short essays, paired with striking images, on these often ephemeral, invisible, or unnoticed transactional objects—money stuff.

    Although we've been told for years that we're heading toward total cashlessness, payment is increasingly dependent on things. Consider, for example, the dongle, a clever gizmo that processes card payments by turning information from a card's magnetic stripe into audio information that can be read by a smart phone's headphone jack. Or dogecoin, a meme of a smiling, bewildered dog's interior monologue that fueled a virtual currency similar to Bitcoin. Or go further back and contemplate the paper currency printed with leaves by Benjamin Franklin to foil counterfeiters, or khipu, Incan records kept in knotted string.

    Paid's authors describe these payment-adjacent objects so engagingly that for a moment, financial leftovers seem more interesting than finance. Paid encourages us to take a moment to look at the nuts and bolts of our everyday transactions by looking at the stuff that surrounds them.

    Contributors Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo, Maria Bezaitis, Finn Brunton, Lynn H. Gamble, David Graeber, Jane I. Guyer, Keith Hart, Sarah Jeong, Alexandra Lippman, Julien Mailland, Scott Mainwaring, Bill Maurer, Taylor C. Nelms, Rachel O'Dwyer, Michael Palm, Lisa Servon, David L. Stearns, Bruce Sterling, Lana Swartz, Whitney Anne Trettien, Gary Urton

    • Hardcover $27.95
    • Paperback $17.95
  • Knowledge for Sale

    Knowledge for Sale

    The Neoliberal Takeover of Higher Education

    Lawrence Busch

    How free-market fundamentalists have shifted the focus of higher education to competition, metrics, consumer demand, and return on investment, and why we should change this.

    A new philosophy of higher education has taken hold in institutions around the world. Its supporters disavow the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and argue that the only knowledge worth pursuing is that with more or less immediate market value. Every other kind of learning is downgraded, its budget cut. In Knowledge for Sale, Lawrence Busch challenges this market-driven approach.

    The rationale for the current thinking, Busch explains, comes from neoliberal economics, which calls for reorganizing society around the needs of the market. The market-influenced changes to higher education include shifting the cost of education from the state to the individual, turning education from a public good to a private good subject to consumer demand; redefining higher education as a search for the highest-paying job; and turning scholarly research into a competition based on metrics including number of citations and value of grants. Students, administrators, and scholars have begun to think of themselves as economic actors rather than seekers of knowledge.

    Arguing for active resistance to this takeover, Busch urges us to burst the neoliberal bubble, to imagine a future not dictated by the market, a future in which there is a more educated citizenry and in which the old dichotomies—market and state, nature and culture, and equality and liberty—break down. In this future, universities value learning and not training, scholarship grapples with society's most pressing problems rather than quick fixes for corporate interests, and democracy is enriched by its educated and engaged citizens.

    • Hardcover $24.95
  • The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Fourth Edition

    The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Fourth Edition

    Ulrike Felt, Rayvon Fouché, Clark A. Miller, and Laurel Smith-Doerr

    The fourth edition of an authoritative overview, with all new chapters that capture the state of the art in a rapidly growing field.

    Science and Technology Studies (STS) is a flourishing interdisciplinary field that examines the transformative power of science and technology to arrange and rearrange contemporary societies. The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies provides a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the field, reviewing current research and major theoretical and methodological approaches in a way that is accessible to both new and established scholars from a range of disciplines. This new edition, sponsored by the Society for Social Studies of Science, is the fourth in a series of volumes that have defined the field of STS. It features 36 chapters, each written for the fourth edition, that capture the state of the art in a rich and rapidly growing field. One especially notable development is the increasing integration of feminist, gender, and postcolonial studies into the body of STS knowledge.

    The book covers methods and participatory practices in STS research; mechanisms by which knowledge, people, and societies are coproduced; the design, construction, and use of material devices and infrastructures; the organization and governance of science; and STS and societal challenges including aging, agriculture, security, disasters, environmental justice, and climate change.

    • Hardcover $75.00
  • System

    System

    The Shaping of Modern Knowledge

    Clifford Siskin

    The role that “system” has played in the shaping and reshaping of modern knowledge, from Galileo and Newton to our own “computational universe.”

    A system can describe what we see (the solar system), operate a computer (Windows 10), or be made on a page (the fourteen engineered lines of a sonnet). In this book, Clifford Siskin shows that system is best understood as a genre—a form that works physically in the world to mediate our efforts to understand it. Indeed, many Enlightenment authors published works they called “system” to compete with the essay and the treatise. Drawing on the history of system from Galileo's “message from the stars” and Newton's “system of the world” to today's “computational universe,” Siskin illuminates the role that the genre of system has played in the shaping and reshaping of modern knowledge.

    Previous engagements with systems have involved making them, using them, or imagining better ones. Siskin offers an innovative perspective by investigating system itself. He considers the past and present, moving from the “system of the world” to “a world full of systems.” He traces the turn to system in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and describes this primary form of Enlightenment as a mediator of political, cultural, and social modernity—pointing to the moment when people began to “blame the system” for working both too well (“you can't beat the system”) and not well enough (it always seems to “break down”). Throughout, his touchstones are: what system is and how it has changed; how it has mediated knowledge; and how it has worked in the world.

    • Hardcover $32.00
    • Paperback $22.00
  • Quantified

    Quantified

    Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life

    Dawn Nafus

    What is at stake socially, culturally, politically, and economically when we routinely use technology to gather information about our bodies and environments?

    Today anyone can purchase technology that can track, quantify, and measure the body and its environment. Wearable or portable sensors detect heart rates, glucose levels, steps taken, water quality, genomes, and microbiomes, and turn them into electronic data. Is this phenomenon empowering, or a new form of social control? Who volunteers to enumerate bodily experiences, and who is forced to do so? Who interprets the resulting data? How does all this affect the relationship between medical practice and self care, between scientific and lay knowledge? Quantified examines these and other issues that arise when biosensing technologies become part of everyday life.

    The book offers a range of perspectives, with views from the social sciences, cultural studies, journalism, industry, and the nonprofit world. The contributors consider data, personhood, and the urge to self-quantify; legal, commercial, and medical issues, including privacy, the outsourcing of medical advice, and self-tracking as a “paraclinical” practice; and technical concerns, including interoperability, sociotechnical calibration, alternative views of data, and new space for design.

    Contributors Marc Böhlen, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Sophie Day, Anna de Paula Hanika, Deborah Estrin, Brittany Fiore-Gartland, Dana Greenfield, Judith Gregory, Mette Kragh-Furbo, Celia Lury, Adrian Mackenzie, Rajiv Mehta, Maggie Mort, Dawn Nafus, Gina Neff, Helen Nissenbaum, Heather Patterson, Celia Roberts, Jamie Sherman, Alex Taylor, Gary Wolf

    • Hardcover $27.00
    • Paperback $27.00
  • Assembling Policy

    Assembling Policy

    Transantiago, Human Devices, and the Dream of a World-Class Society

    Sebastián Ureta

    An examination of how human beings are brought into the planning of complex infrastructure projects, through analysis of a controversial public transportation project.

    Policymakers are regularly confronted by complaints that ordinary people are left out of the planning and managing of complex infrastructure projects. In this book, Sebastián Ureta argues that humans, both individually and collectively, are always at the heart of infrastructure policy; the issue is how they are brought into it. Ureta develops his argument through the case of Transantiago, a massive public transportation project in the city of Santiago, proposed in 2000, launched in 2007, and in 2012 called “the worst public policy ever implemented in our country” by a Chilean government spokesman.

    Ureta examines Transantiago as a policy assemblage formed by an array of heterogeneous elements—including, crucially, “human devices,” or artifacts and practices through which humans were brought into infrastructure planning and implementation. Ureta traces the design and operation of Transantiago through four configurations: crisis, infrastructuration, disruption, and normalization. In the crisis phase, humans were enacted both as consumers and as participants in the transformation of Santiago into a “world-class” city, but during infrastructuration the “active citizen” went missing. The launch of Transantiago caused huge disruptions, in part because users challenged their role as mere consumers and instead enacted unexpected human devices. Resisting calls for radical reform, policymakers insisted on normalizing Transantiago, transforming it into a permanent failing system. Drawing on Chile's experience, Ureta argues that if we understand policy as a series of heterogeneous assemblages, infrastructure policymaking would be more inclusive, reflexive, and responsible.

    • Hardcover $39.00
  • Knowledge Machines

    Knowledge Machines

    Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities

    Eric T. Meyer and Ralph Schroeder

    An examination of the ways that digital and networked technologies have fundamentally changed research practices in disciplines from astronomy to literary analysis.

    In Knowledge Machines, Eric Meyer and Ralph Schroeder argue that digital technologies have fundamentally changed research practices in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Meyer and Schroeder show that digital tools and data, used collectively and in distributed mode—which they term e-research—have transformed not just the consumption of knowledge but also the production of knowledge. Digital technologies for research are reshaping how knowledge advances in disciplines that range from physics to literary analysis.

    Meyer and Schroeder map the rise of digital research and offer case studies from many fields, including biomedicine, social science uses of the Web, astronomy, and large-scale textual analysis in the humanities. They consider such topics as the challenges of sharing research data and of big data approaches, disciplinary differences and new forms of interdisciplinary collaboration, the shifting boundaries between researchers and their publics, and the ways that digital tools promote openness in science.

    This book considers the transformations of research from a number of perspectives, drawing especially on the sociology of science and technology and social informatics. It shows that the use of digital tools and data is not just a technical issue; it affects research practices, collaboration models, publishing choices, and even the kinds of research and research questions scholars choose to pursue. Knowledge Machines examines the nature and implications of these transformations for scholarly research.

    • Hardcover $42.00
  • The Container Principle

    The Container Principle

    How a Box Changes the Way We Think

    Alexander Klose

    A cultural history of the shipping container as a crucible of globalization and a cultural paradigm.

    We live in a world organized around the container. Standardized twenty- and forty-foot shipping containers carry material goods across oceans and over land; provide shelter, office space, and storage capacity; inspire films, novels, metaphors, and paradigms. Today, TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit, the official measurement for shipping containers) has become something like a global currency. A container ship, sailing under the flag of one country but owned by a corporation headquartered in another, carrying auto parts from Japan, frozen fish from Vietnam, and rubber ducks from China, offers a vivid representation of the increasing, world-is-flat globalization of the international economy. In The Container Principle, Alexander Klose investigates the principle of the container and its effect on the way we live and think.

    Klose explores a series of “container situations” in their historical, political, and cultural contexts. He examines the container as a time capsule, sometimes breaking loose and washing up onshore to display an inventory of artifacts of our culture. He explains the “Matryoshka principle,” explores the history of land-water transport, and charts the three phases of container history. He examines the rise of logistics, the containerization of computing in the form of modularization and standardization, the architecture of container-like housing (citing both Le Corbusier and Malvina Reynolds's “Little Boxes”), and a range of artistic projects inspired by containers. Containerization, spreading from physical storage to organizational metaphors, Klose argues, signals a change in the fundamental order of thinking and things. It has become a principle.

    • Hardcover $30.95
  • Beyond the Big Ditch

    Beyond the Big Ditch

    Politics, Ecology, and Infrastructure at the Panama Canal

    Ashley Carse

    A historical and ethnographic study of the conflict between global transportation and rural development as the two intersect at the Panama Canal.

    In this innovative book, Ashley Carse traces the water that flows into and out from the Panama Canal to explain how global shipping is entangled with Panama's cultural and physical landscapes. By following container ships as they travel downstream along maritime routes and tracing rivers upstream across the populated watershed that feeds the canal, he explores the politics of environmental management around a waterway that links faraway ports and markets to nearby farms, forests, cities, and rural communities.

    Carse draws on a wide range of ethnographic and archival material to show the social and ecological implications of transportation across Panama. The Canal moves ships over an aquatic staircase of locks that demand an enormous amount of fresh water from the surrounding region. Each passing ship drains 52 million gallons out to sea—a volume comparable to the daily water use of half a million Panamanians.

    Infrastructures like the Panama Canal, Carse argues, do not simply conquer nature; they rework ecologies in ways that serve specific political and economic priorities. Interweaving histories that range from the depopulation of the U.S. Canal Zone a century ago to road construction conflicts and water hyacinth invasions in canal waters, the book illuminates the human and nonhuman actors that have come together at the margins of the famous trade route. 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal. Beyond the Big Ditch calls us to consider how infrastructures are materially embedded in place, producing environments with winners and losers.

    • Hardcover $37.00
    • Paperback $30.00
  • The Politics of Invisibility

    The Politics of Invisibility

    Public Knowledge about Radiation Health Effects after Chernobyl

    Olga Kuchinskaya

    Lessons from the massive Chernobyl nuclear accident about how we deal with modern hazards that are largely imperceptible.

    Before Fukushima, the most notorious large-scale nuclear accident the world had seen was Chernobyl in 1986. The fallout from Chernobyl covered vast areas in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Europe. Belarus, at the time a Soviet republic, suffered heavily: nearly a quarter of its territory was covered with long-lasting radionuclides. Yet the damage from the massive fallout was largely imperceptible; contaminated communities looked exactly like noncontaminated ones. It could be known only through constructed representations of it. In The Politics of Invisibility, Olga Kuchinskaya explores how we know what we know about Chernobyl, describing how the consequences of a nuclear accident were made invisible. Her analysis sheds valuable light on how we deal with other modern hazards—toxins or global warming—that are largely imperceptible to the human senses.

    Kuchinskaya describes the production of invisibility of Chernobyl's consequences in Belarus—practices that limit public attention to radiation and make its health effects impossible to observe. Just as mitigating radiological contamination requires infrastructural solutions, she argues, the production and propagation of invisibility also involves infrastructural efforts, from redefining the scope and nature of the accident's consequences to reshaping research and protection practices.

    Kuchinskaya finds vast fluctuations in recognition, tracing varyingly successful efforts to conceal or reveal Chernobyl's consequences at different levels—among affected populations, scientists, government, media, and international organizations. The production of invisibility, she argues, is a function of power relations.

    • Hardcover $35.00
  • Subversion, Conversion, Development

    Subversion, Conversion, Development

    Cross-Cultural Knowledge Exchange and the Politics of Design

    James Leach and Lee Wilson

    Explorations of design, use, and reuse of information technology in diverse historical and cultural contexts.

    This book explores alternative cultural encounters with and around information technologies. These encounters are alternative because they counter dominant, Western-oriented notions of media consumption; they include media practices as forms of cultural resistance and subversion, “DIY cultures,” and other nonmainstream models of technology production. The contributors—leading thinkers in science and technology studies, anthropology, and software design—pay special attention to the specific inflections that different cultures and communities give to the value of knowledge. The richly detailed accounts presented here challenge the dominant view of knowledge as a neutral good—information available for representation and encoding but separated from all social relations.

    The chapters examine specific cases in which the forms of knowledge and cross-cultural encounters are shaping technology use and development. They consider design, use, and reuse of technological tools, including databases, GPS devices, books, and computers, in locations that range from Australia and New Guinea to Germany and the United States.

    Contributors Poline Bala, Alan Blackwell, Wade Chambers, Michael Christie, Hildegard Diemberger, Stephen Hugh-Jones, James Leach, Jerome Lewis, Dawn Nafus, Gregers Petersen, Marilyn Strathern, David Turnbull, Helen Verran, Laura Watts, Lee Wilson

    • Hardcover $64.00
    • Paperback $32.00
  • Media Technologies

    Media Technologies

    Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society

    Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot

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

    In recent years, scholarship around media technologies has finally shed the assumption that these technologies are separate from and powerfully determining of social life, looking at them instead as produced by and embedded in distinct social, cultural, and political practices. Communication and media scholars have increasingly taken theoretical perspectives originating in science and technology studies (STS), while some STS scholars interested in information technologies have linked their research to media studies inquiries into the symbolic dimensions of these tools. In this volume, scholars from both fields come together to advance this view of media technologies as complex sociomaterial phenomena.

    The contributors first address the relationship between materiality and mediation, considering such topics as the lived realities of network infrastructure. The contributors then highlight media technologies as always in motion, held together through the minute, unobserved work of many, including efforts to keep these technologies alive.

    Contributors Pablo J. Boczkowski, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Finn Brunton, Gabriella Coleman, Gregory J. Downey, Kirsten A. Foot, Tarleton Gillespie, Steven J. Jackson, Christopher M. Kelty, Leah A. Lievrouw, Sonia Livingstone, Ignacio Siles, Jonathan Sterne, Lucy Suchman, Fred Turner

    • Paperback $36.00
  • Monitoring Movements in Development Aid

    Monitoring Movements in Development Aid

    Recursive Partnerships and Infrastructures

    Casper Bruun Jensen and Brit Ross Winthereik

    An examination of emerging information infrastructures that are intended to increase accountability and effectiveness in partnerships for development aid.

    In Monitoring Movements in Development Aid, Casper Jensen and Brit Winthereik consider the processes, social practices, and infrastructures that are emerging to monitor development aid, discussing both empirical phenomena and their methodological and analytical challenges. Jensen and Winthereik focus on efforts by aid organizations to make better use of information technology; they analyze a range of development aid information infrastructures created to increase accountability and effectiveness. They find that constructing these infrastructures is not simply a matter of designing and implementing technology but entails forging new platforms for action that are simultaneously imaginative and practical, conceptual and technical.

    After presenting an analytical platform that draws on science and technology studies and the anthropology of development, Jensen and Winthereik present an ethnography- based analysis of the mutually defining relationship between aid partnerships and infrastructures; the crucial role of users (both actual and envisioned) in aid information infrastructures; efforts to make aid information dynamic and accessible; existing monitoring activities of an environmental NGO; and national-level performance audits, which encompass concerns of both external control and organizational learning.

    Jensen and Winthereik argue that central to the emerging movement to monitor development aid is the blurring of means and ends: aid information infrastructures are both technological platforms for knowledge about aid and forms of aid and empowerment in their own right.

    • Hardcover $7.75
  • Cosmopolitan Commons

    Cosmopolitan Commons

    Sharing Resources and Risks across Borders

    Nil Disco and Eda Kranakis

    A new approach in commons theory to understand the interactions of technology, society, and nature, supported by case studies of new transnational European commons.

    With the advent of modernity, the sharing of resources and infrastructures rapidly expanded beyond local communities into regional, national, and even transnational space—nowhere as visibly as in Europe, with its small-scale political divisions. This volume views these shared resource spaces as the seedbeds of a new generation of technology-rich bureaucratic and transnational commons. Drawing on the theory of cosmopolitanism, which seeks to model the dynamics of an increasingly interdependent world, and on the tradition of commons scholarship inspired by the late Elinor Ostrom, the book develops a new theory of “cosmopolitan commons” that provides a framework for merging the study of technology with such issues as risk, moral order, and sustainability at levels beyond the nation-state.

    After laying out the theoretical framework, the book presents case studies that explore the empirical nuances: airspace as transport commons, radio broadcasting, hydropower, weather forecasting and genetic diversity as information commons, transboundary air pollution, and two “capstone” studies of interlinked, temporally layered commons: one on overlapping commons within the North Sea for freight, fishing, and fossil fuels; and one on commons for transport, salmon fishing, and clean water in the Rhine.

    Contributors Håkon With Andersen, Nil Disco, Paul N. Edwards, Arne Kaijser, Eda Kranakis, Kristiina Korjonen-Kuusipuro, Tiago Saraiva, Nina Wormbs

    • Hardcover $12.75
    • Paperback $9.75
  • Spam

    Spam

    A Shadow History of the Internet

    Finn Brunton

    What spam is, how it works, and how it has shaped online communities and the Internet itself.

    The vast majority of all email sent every day is spam, a variety of idiosyncratically spelled requests to provide account information, invitations to spend money on dubious products, and pleas to send cash overseas. Most of it is caught by filters before ever reaching an in-box. Where does it come from? As Finn Brunton explains in Spam, it is produced and shaped by many different populations around the world: programmers, con artists, bots and their botmasters, pharmaceutical merchants, marketers, identity thieves, crooked bankers and their victims, cops, lawyers, network security professionals, vigilantes, and hackers. Every time we go online, we participate in the system of spam, with choices, refusals, and purchases the consequences of which we may not understand.

    This is a book about what spam is, how it works, and what it means. Brunton provides a cultural history that stretches from pranks on early computer networks to the construction of a global criminal infrastructure. The history of spam, Brunton shows us, is a shadow history of the Internet itself, with spam emerging as the mirror image of the online communities it targets. Brunton traces spam through three epochs: the 1970s to 1995, and the early, noncommercial computer networks that became the Internet; 1995 to 2003, with the dot-com boom, the rise of spam's entrepreneurs, and the first efforts at regulating spam; and 2003 to the present, with the war of algorithms—spam versus anti-spam. Spam shows us how technologies, from email to search engines, are transformed by unintended consequences and adaptations, and how online communities develop and invent governance for themselves.

    • Hardcover $32.00
    • Paperback $17.95
  • "Raw Data" Is an Oxymoron

    "Raw Data" Is an Oxymoron

    Lisa Gitelman

    Episodes in the history of data, from early modern math problems to today's inescapable “dataveillance,” that demonstrate the dependence of data on culture.

    We live in the era of Big Data, with storage and transmission capacity measured not just in terabytes but in petabytes (where peta- denotes a quadrillion, or a thousand trillion). Data collection is constant and even insidious, with every click and every “like” stored somewhere for something. This book reminds us that data is anything but “raw,” that we shouldn't think of data as a natural resource but as a cultural one that needs to be generated, protected, and interpreted. The book's essays describe eight episodes in the history of data from the predigital to the digital. Together they address such issues as the ways that different kinds of data and different domains of inquiry are mutually defining; how data are variously “cooked” in the processes of their collection and use; and conflicts over what can—or can't—be “reduced” to data. Contributors discuss the intellectual history of data as a concept; describe early financial modeling and some unusual sources for astronomical data; discover the prehistory of the database in newspaper clippings and index cards; and consider contemporary “dataveillance” of our online habits as well as the complexity of scientific data curation.

    Essay Authors Geoffrey C. Bowker, Kevin R. Brine, Ellen Gruber Garvey, Lisa Gitelman, Steven J. Jackson, Virginia Jackson, Markus Krajewski, Mary Poovey, Rita Raley, David Ribes, Daniel Rosenberg, Matthew Stanley, Travis D. Williams

    • Paperback $36.00
  • Standards

    Standards

    Recipes for Reality

    Lawrence Busch

    An investigation into standards, the invisible infrastructures of our technical, moral, social, and physical worlds.

    Standards are the means by which we construct realities. There are established standards for professional accreditation, the environment, consumer products, animal welfare, the acceptable stress for highway bridges, healthcare, education—for almost everything. We are surrounded by a vast array of standards, many of which we take for granted but each of which has been and continues to be the subject of intense negotiation. In this book, Lawrence Busch investigates standards as “recipes for reality.” Standards, he argues, shape not only the physical world around us but also our social lives and even our selves.

    Busch shows how standards are intimately connected to power—that they often serve to empower some and disempower others. He outlines the history of formal standards and describes how modern science came to be associated with the moral-technical project of standardization of both people and things. Busch suggests guidelines for developing fair, equitable, and effective standards. Taking a uniquely integrated and comprehensive view of the subject, Busch shows how standards for people and things are inextricably linked, how standards are always layered (even if often addressed serially), and how standards are simultaneously technical, social, moral, legal, and ontological devices.

    • Hardcover $35.00
    • Paperback $30.00
  • World Wide Research

    World Wide Research

    Reshaping the Sciences and Humanities

    William H. Dutton and Paul W. Jeffreys

    Experts examine ways in which the use of increasingly powerful and versatile digital information and communication technologies are transforming research activities across all disciplines.

    Advances in information and communication technology are transforming the way scholarly research is conducted across all disciplines. The use of increasingly powerful and versatile computer-based and networked systems promises to change research activity as profoundly as the mobile phone, the Internet, and email have changed everyday life. This book offers a comprehensive and accessible view of the use of these new approaches—called “e-Research”—and their ethical, legal, and institutional implications. The contributors, leading scholars from a range of disciplines, focus on how e-Research is reshaping not only how research is done but also, and more important, its outcomes. By anchoring their discussion in specific examples and case studies, they identify and analyze a promising set of practical developments and results associated with e-Research innovations. The contributors, who include Geoffrey Bowker, Christine Borgman, Paul Edwards, Tim Berners-Lee, and Hal Abelson, explain why and how e-Research activity can reconfigure access to networks of information, expertise, and experience, changing what researchers observe, with whom they collaborate, how they share information, what methods they use to report their findings, and what knowledge is required to do this. They discuss both the means of e-Research (new research-centered computational networks) and its purpose (to improve the quality of world-wide research).

    • Hardcover $14.75
    • Paperback $8.75
  • A Vast Machine

    A Vast Machine

    Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming

    Paul N. Edwards

    The science behind global warming, and its history: how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere, to measure it, to trace its past, and to model its future.

    Global warming skeptics often fall back on the argument that the scientific case for global warming is all model predictions, nothing but simulation; they warn us that we need to wait for real data, “sound science.” In A Vast Machine Paul Edwards has news for these skeptics: without models, there are no data. Today, no collection of signals or observations—even from satellites, which can “see” the whole planet with a single instrument—becomes global in time and space without passing through a series of data models. Everything we know about the world's climate we know through models. Edwards offers an engaging and innovative history of how scientists learned to understand the atmosphere—to measure it, trace its past, and model its future.

    • Hardcover $33.00
    • Paperback $30.95
  • Scientific Collaboration on the Internet

    Scientific Collaboration on the Internet

    Gary M. Olson, Ann Zimmerman, and Nathan Bos

    The challenges and rewards of scientific collaboration enabled by information and communication technology, from theoretical approaches to in-depth case studies.

    Modern science is increasingly collaborative, as signaled by rising numbers of coauthored papers, papers with international coauthors, and multi-investigator grants. Historically, scientific collaborations were carried out by scientists in the same physical location—the Manhattan Project of the 1940s, for example, involved thousands of scientists gathered on a remote plateau in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Today, information and communication technologies allow cooperation among scientists from far-flung institutions and different disciplines. Scientific Collaboration on the Internet provides both broad and in-depth views of how new technology is enabling novel kinds of science and engineering collaboration. The book offers commentary from notable experts in the field along with case studies of large-scale collaborative projects, past and ongoing. The projects described range from the development of a national virtual observatory for astronomical research to a National Institutes of Health funding program for major multi-laboratory medical research; from the deployment of a cyberinfrastructure to connect experts in earthquake engineering to partnerships between developed and developing countries in AIDS research. The chapter authors speak frankly about the problems these projects encountered as well as the successes they achieved. The book strikes a useful balance between presenting the real stories of collaborations and developing a scientific approach to conceiving, designing, implementing, and evaluating such projects. It points to a future of scientific collaborations that build successfully on aspects from multiple disciplines.

    Contributors Mark S. Ackerman, Paul Avery, Matthew Bietz, Jeremy P. Birnholtz, Nathan Bos, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Randal Butler, David Conz, Eric Cook, Dan Cooney, Jonathon Cummings, Erik Dahl, Mark Ellisman, Ixchel Faniel, Thomas A. Finholt, Ian Foster, Jeffrey S. Grethe, Edward J. Hackett, Robert J. Hanisch, Libby Hemphill, Tony Hey, Erik C. Hofer, Mark James, Carl Kessleman, Sara Kiesler, Timothy L. Killeen, Airong Luo, Kelly L. Maglaughlin, Doru Marcusiu, Shawn McKee, William K. Michener, James D. Myers, Marsha Naidoo, Michael Nentwich, Gary M. Olson, Judith S. Olson, James Onken, Andrew Parker, John N. Parker, Mary Puetz, David Ribes, Kathleen Ricker, Diana Rhoten, Michael E. Rogers, Titus Schleyer, Diane H. Sonnenwald, B. F. Spencer, Jr., Stephanie D. Teasley, Anne Trefethen, Robert B. Waide, Mary C. Whitton, William Wulf, Jason Yerkie, Ann Zimmerman

    • Hardcover $10.75