Building the Trident Network: A Study of the Enrollment of People, Knowledge, and Machines

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Overview

In Building the Trident Network, Maggie Mort approaches the United Kingdom's Trident submarine and missile system as a sociotechnical network. Drawing on the sociology of scientific and technical knowledge and on actor-network theory, Mort recounts how the Trident program was stabilized in the United Kingdom and brought into "successful" production. She uncovers the nature of this success by retelling unofficial histories of Trident, of production roads not taken, and of potential technological "distractions." The production of Trident, she shows, was not inevitable but contingent and problematic.

Using material from interviews and local texts, Mort explores the emergence of a counternetwork in the form of a workers' campaign for alternative technologies. She develops concepts of "disenrollment" and "absent intermediaries," in which redundant workers and marginalized technologies serve to discipline and reinforce the dominant network as production shrinks. She also examines the maintenance of the barrier between the technical and the social/political in this context. The management of uncertainties within the Trident production program emerges as critical to its successful completion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An important and timely contribution to the sociology of science and technology."
Patrick Carroll American Journal of Sociology

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262133975
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2001
  • Series: Inside Technology
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Maggie Mort is Reader in the Sociology of Science, Technology, and Medicine in the Department of Sociology and Division of Medicine at Lancaster University in the UK.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
I Simplifying Production
1 Large-Scale Technologies: Ambivalence and Coercion 17
2 From Diversity to "Core Business" 33
II Reinforcing the Network
3 Technological Roads Not Taken: The Constant Speed Generator Drive 53
4 Constructing a Core Workforce 79
III Alternatives
5 Winning the "Technical Arguments" 111
6 Building a Counter-Network 129
IV Closures
7 Human Redundancy: An Exercise in Disenrollment 161
8 Softening the Facts 175
App Employment Data from Lazard Brothers Sale Documents, as Reproduced in Oceans of Work 185
Notes 187
Bibliography 205
Index 213
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