Gary Downey

Gary Downey is Alumni Distinguished Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Tech.

  • Making and Doing

    Activating STS through Knowledge Expression and Travel

    Gary Downey and Teun Zuiderent-Jerak

    How ten making and doing projects expand STS scholarship through a focus on knowledge expression and knowledge travel in addition to knowledge production.

    Forthcoming from the MIT Press

    The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding from Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing.

    • Paperback $50.00

Contributor

  • Extracting Accountability

    Engineers and Corporate Social Responsibility

    Jessica M. Smith

    How engineers in the mining and oil and gas industries attempt to reconcile competing domains of public accountability.

    The growing movement toward corporate social responsibility (CSR) urges corporations to promote the well-being of people and the planet rather than the sole pursuit of profit. In Extracting Accountability, Jessica Smith investigates how the public accountability of corporations emerges from the everyday practices of the engineers who work for them. Focusing on engineers who view social responsibility as central to their profession, she finds the corporate context of their work prompts them to attempt to reconcile competing domains of accountability—to formal guidelines, standards, and policies; to professional ideals; to the public; and to themselves. Their efforts are complicated by the distributed agency they experience as corporate actors: they are not always authors of their actions and frequently act through others.

    Drawing on extensive interviews, archival research, and fieldwork, Smith traces the ways that engineers in the mining and oil and gas industries accounted for their actions to multiple publics—from critics of their industry to their own friends and families. She shows how the social license to operate and an underlying pragmatism lead engineers to ask how resource production can be done responsibly rather than whether it should be done at all. She analyzes the liminality of engineering consultants, who experienced greater professional autonomy but often felt hamstrung when positioned as outsiders. Finally, she explores how critical participation in engineering education can nurture new accountabilities and chart more sustainable resource futures.

    • Paperback $75.00
  • 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
  • Girls Coming to Tech!

    Girls Coming to Tech!

    A History of American Engineering Education for Women

    Amy Sue Bix

    How women coped with both formal barriers and informal opposition to their entry into the traditionally masculine field of engineering in American higher education.

    Engineering education in the United States was long regarded as masculine territory. For decades, women who studied or worked in engineering were popularly perceived as oddities, outcasts, unfeminine (or inappropriately feminine in a male world). In Girls Coming to Tech!, Amy Bix tells the story of how women gained entrance to the traditionally male field of engineering in American higher education.

    As Bix explains, a few women breached the gender-reinforced boundaries of engineering education before World War II. During World War II, government, employers, and colleges actively recruited women to train as engineering aides, channeling them directly into defense work. These wartime training programs set the stage for more engineering schools to open their doors to women. Bix offers three detailed case studies of postwar engineering coeducation. Georgia Tech admitted women in 1952 to avoid a court case, over objections by traditionalists. In 1968, Caltech male students argued that nerds needed a civilizing female presence. At MIT, which had admitted women since the 1870s but treated them as a minor afterthought, feminist-era activists pushed the school to welcome more women and take their talent seriously.

    In the 1950s, women made up less than one percent of students in American engineering programs; in 2010 and 2011, women earned 18.4% of bachelor's degrees, 22.6% of master's degrees, and 21.8% of doctorates in engineering. Bix's account shows why these gains were hard won.

    • Hardcover $40.00
  • Engineers for Change

    Engineers for Change

    Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America

    Matthew Wisnioski

    An account of conflicts within engineering in the 1960s that helped shape our dominant contemporary understanding of technological change as the driver of history.

    In the late 1960s an eclectic group of engineers joined the antiwar and civil rights activists of the time in agitating for change. The engineers were fighting to remake their profession, challenging their fellow engineers to embrace a more humane vision of technology. In Engineers for Change, Matthew Wisnioski offers an account of this conflict within engineering, linking it to deep-seated assumptions about technology and American life.

    The postwar period in America saw a near-utopian belief in technology's beneficence. Beginning in the mid-1960s, however, society—influenced by the antitechnology writings of such thinkers as Jacques Ellul and Lewis Mumford—began to view technology in a more negative light. Engineers themselves were seen as conformist organization men propping up the military-industrial complex. A dissident minority of engineers offered critiques of their profession that appropriated concepts from technology's critics. These dissidents were criticized in turn by conservatives who regarded them as countercultural Luddites. And yet, as Wisnioski shows, the radical minority spurred the professional elite to promote a new understanding of technology as a rapidly accelerating force that our institutions are ill-equipped to handle. The negative consequences of technology spring from its very nature—and not from engineering's failures. “Sociotechnologists” were recruited to help society adjust to its technology. Wisnioski argues that in responding to the challenges posed by critics within their profession, engineers in the 1960s helped shape our dominant contemporary understanding of technological change as the driver of history.

    • Hardcover $9.75
    • Paperback $25.00