tech 101

What are your favorite introductions, overviews, and paradigmatic case studies in the sociology of technology? I’m working with a student who is about to start research on a project at the intersection of organizations, medical sociology, and technology, and because the student is already well-versed in the orgs & tech literature (think Tushman and Anderson), I’m trying to provide a short reading list to get the student situated in the more STS (Science, Technology, & Society) part of the sociology of technology literature. As I started to make my list (with a bit of help from Twitter), I realized that most of my references were more than 15 years old and I thought that I must be missing some good new work. So, dear reader, I was wondering if you had any recommendations for more recent review essays, theory pieces, or iconic case studies?

My current list (which emphasizes the intersections likely to be of interest to the particular student) is below the fold, and I welcome any suggestions!

Brief Bibliography on STS Approaches to Technology
  • Pinch & Bjiker 1984 “The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts”
  • Akrich 1992 “The de-scription of technical objects”
  • Latour 1992 “Where Are the Missing Masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts”
  • Bowker & Star 1999 Sorting Things Out
  • Laet & Mol 2000 “The Zimbabwe Bush Pump Mechanics of a Fluid Technology”
  • Mol 2000 “What Diagnostic Devices Do: The Case of Blood Sugar Measurement”
  • Gieryn 2002 “What Do Buildings Do?”
  • Klein & Kleinman 2002 “The Social Construction of Technology: Structural Considerations”
  • Oudshoorn & Pinch 2003 How Users Matter
  • Timmermans & Epstein 2010 “A World of Standards but not a Standard World: Toward a Sociology of Standards and Standardization”

Author: Dan Hirschman

I am a sociologist interested in the use of numbers in organizations, markets, and policy. For more info, see here.

One thought on “tech 101”

  1. These are all energy related, but your student might still find them interesting:

    Jones, Christopher F. 2014. Routes of Power. Harvard University Press.
    Miller, Clark A, Jennifer Richter, and Jason O’Leary. 2015. Socio-energy systems design: a policy framework for energy transitions. Energy Research & Social Science 6:29-40.
    Mitchell, Timothy. 2011. Carbon democracy: Political power in the age of oil. Verso Books.
    Needham, Andrew. 2014. Power lines: Phoenix and the making of the modern Southwest. Princeton University Press.


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