Ecologies of Knowledge

Work and Politics in Science and Technology

Edited by Susan Leigh Star

Subjects: Social Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Science, Technology, and Society
Paperback : 9780791425664, 434 pages, July 1995
Hardcover : 9780791425657, 434 pages, July 1995

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Table of contents



Susan Leigh Star

Part 1: Politics and Problems

1. Science, Social Problems, and Progressive Thought:Essays on the Tyranny of Science

Jennifer Croissant and Sal Restivo

2. The Politics of Formal Representations: Wizards, Gurus, and Organizational Complexity

Susan Leigh Star

3. Computerization Movements and the Mobilizaiton of Support for Computerization

Rob Kling and C. Suzanne Iacono

4. Representation, Cognition, and Self: What Hope for an Integration of Psychology and Sociology?

Steve Woolgar

Part 2: Materials and Spaces

5. Research Materials and Reproductive Science in the United States, 1910–1940

Adele E. Clarke

6. Laboratory Space and the Technological Complex: An Investigation of Topical Contextures

Michael Lynch

7. Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together: The Sociology of a Door-Closer

Jim Johnson, a. k.a. Bruno Latour

Part 3: Workplace Ecologies

8. Engineering and Sociology in a Military Aircraft Project: A Network Analysis of Technological Change

John Law and Michel Callon

9. Ecologies of Action: Recombining Genes, Molecularizing Cancer, and Transforming Biology

Joan H. Fujimura




This collection of articles provides a comprehensive overview of personal and public issues related to social change and how they shape scientific and technical knowledge.


Ecologies of Knowledge provides a comprehensive overview of issues relating to work, politics, and the latest perspectives on the role of materials, feminism, "nonhumans," and work practices as shaping scientific and technical knowledge. In addition to theoretical contributions, the authors cover biotechnology, computing, representations and space, aerospace engineering, and a variety of ethical perspectives and controversies in these domains.

Susan Leigh Star is Associate Professor of Sociology and faculty affiliate in Women's Studies and Computer Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Affiliate Research Scientist at the Institute for Research on Learning, Palo Alto. She is the author of Regions of the Mind: Brain Research and the Quest for Scientific Certainty, and editor of The Cultures of Computing.


"This collection illustrates the robustness of theoretical concerns in the field in their applicability to the diverse subject matter of science studies, well represented here in the inclusion of studies in biological and physical sciences along with technology. Assembled as a set within the context of Star's introductory comments, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

"The authors are concerned with the inter-relatedness of the techniques of techno-science and human life and culture, not simply with the impact of science and technology on society. They elucidate HOW the everyday practices of work and its technical aspects, including in varying degrees: bureaucracy, funding organizations, materials supply, particular movements and bandwagons, and politics, including the politics of representation, collectively construct scientific theories and technological artifacts and their applications. "--Henderson, Texas A&M University