Conversations on the Human Traces of Science, Technology, and Sound
Conversations with a founder of the influential Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) approach in science and technology studies offer an introduction to the field.
Science and technology studies (STS) is a relatively young but influential field. Scholars from disciplines as diverse as urban studies, mobility studies, media studies, and body culture studies are engaging in a systematic dialogue with STS, seeking to enrich their own investigations. Within STS, the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) theory has proved to be one of the most influential in its neighboring fields. Yet the literature has grown so large so quickly, it is difficult to get an overview of SCOT. In this book, conversations with Trevor Pinch, a founder of SCOT, offer an introduction and genealogy for the field.
Pinch was there at the creation—as coauthor of the groundbreaking 1984 article that launched SCOT—and has remained active through subsequent developments. Engaging and conversational, Pinch charts SCOT's important milestones. The book describes how Pinch and Wiebe Bijker adapted the “empirical program of relativism,” developed by the Bath School to study the social construction of scientific facts, to apply to the social construction of artifacts. Entanglements addresses five issues in depth: relevant social groups, and SCOT's focus on groups of users; the intertwining of social representation and practices; the importance of tacit knowledge in SCOT's approach to the nonrepresentational; the controversy over nonhuman agency; and the political implications of SCOT.
Hardcover$35.00 S | £27.00 ISBN: 9780262035279 216 pp. | 6 in x 9 in
Pinch, skillfully interviewed by Simone Tosoni, tells us the inside story of how the sociologies of science and technology came to be the cutting edge fields they are now. Pinch was there, knows how it happened, and tells it like it was and is. Bravo!
Howard S. Becker
author of Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance and Art Worlds
Entanglements provides a splendid introduction to the bewildering complexity of the social construction of technology (SCOT) and its larger science and technology studies (STS) history. Pinch's recollections of 'eureka!' moments and his often amusing anecdotes reveal the important roles of mentorships, friendships, the influences of students, chance encounters, and intellectual disputes with other significant figures in generating his own innovative and influential projects. Simone Tosoni's contributions as a highly informed, intellectually involved, and vigorously curious interviewer are significant. This is an illuminating and enjoyable read for students new to these fields as well as for seasoned researchers and scholars from the many other fields that are increasingly interacting with SCOT and STS.
Distinguished Research Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
With Entanglements you are there! This is a book of a conversation between Simone Tosoni, a media theorist, and Trevor Pinch. It is a time-zoom through the birth of SSK, the sociology of scientific knowledge, SCOT, the social construction of technology, through the science wars and the Golem books on into sound studies. Trevor Pinch was a principal in all these contemporary movements and his descriptions bring you right into the fray of the times—you feel you are there. It is a romp: the stories include tales about other giants like Harry Collins, Bruno Latour, John Law, and many others. And beyond the social, the networks, one gets the personal. All of us interested in science and technology studies need this deep perspective.
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Stony Brook University
In the 1960s and '70s there was an academic revolution in our understanding of the nature of science. Here, Tosoni, working through the eyes of Trevor Pinch, recaptures the feeling of those times—uncanny! Pinch was in at the beginning of the 'sociology of scientific knowledge' and then cofounded the 'social construction of technology.' Fascinating stuff.
Distinguished Research Professor, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University