A Historical Sociology of Nuclear Missile Guidance
- Winner of the 1993 Ludwik Fleck Prize presented by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).
480 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: December 13, 1990
- Published: January 29, 1993
"Mackenzie has achieved a masterful synthesis of engrossing narrative, imaginative concepts, historical perspective, and social concern."
Donald MacKenzie follows one line of technology—strategic ballistic missile guidance through a succession of weapons systems to reveal the workings of a world that is neither awesome nor unstoppable. He uncovers the parameters, the pressures, and the politics that make up the complex social construction of an equally complex technology.
MacKenzie's study challenges conventional models of technical determinism of the race in sophisticated weaponry and replaces it with a carefully drawn model of the social formation of technical change. The detailed empirical examination and sociological framework set a new standard for the historical and social study of technology.
Everett Mendelsohn, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
Meticulous research and acute analysis are here combined in an exceptionally readable text. Inventing Accuracy is going to be a paradigm for studies in the history and sociology of technology for years to come.
Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Professor of History, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Inventing Accuracy is a brilliant achievement that will, if we are fortunate, change widespread misunderstandings about technological innovation. The strength of this book lies not only in its extremely clear and nuanced theoretical statements, but also in its rich historical narrative. This book should be of great interest to a diverse audience. It also provides a creative, if extremely demanding, model for future scholarship on technology and national security.
This is a great piece of sociology and a great book.... gripping, superbly researched, fair, sympathetic, and ultimately, hopeful.
American Journal of Sociology