Memory Practices in the Sciences

Memory Practices in the Sciences

by Geoffrey C. Bowker
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0262025892

ISBN-13: 9780262025898

Pub. Date: 02/01/2006

Publisher: MIT Press

The way we record knowledge, and the web of technical, formal, and social practices that surrounds it, inevitably affects the knowledge that we record. The ways we hold knowledge about the past-in handwritten manuscripts, in printed books, in file folders, in databases-shape the kind of stories we tell about that past. In this lively and erudite look at the relation

Overview

The way we record knowledge, and the web of technical, formal, and social practices that surrounds it, inevitably affects the knowledge that we record. The ways we hold knowledge about the past-in handwritten manuscripts, in printed books, in file folders, in databases-shape the kind of stories we tell about that past. In this lively and erudite look at the relation of our information infrastructures to our information, Geoffrey Bowker examines how, over the past two hundred years, information technology has converged with the nature and production of scientific knowledge. His story weaves a path between the social and political work of creating an explicit, indexical memory for science-the making of infrastructures-and the variety of ways we continually reconfigure, lose, and regain the past.

At a time when memory is so cheap and its recording is so protean, Bowker reminds us of the centrality of what and how we choose to forget. In Memory Practices in the Sciences he looks at three "memory epochs" of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries and their particular reconstructions and reconfigurations of scientific knowledge. We use the tools of the present to look at the past, says Bowker; we project onto nature our modes of organizing our own affairs.

About the Author:
Geoffrey C. Bowker is Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262025898
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
02/01/2006
Series:
Inside Technology Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
273
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     1
Synchronization and Synchrony in the Archive: Geology and the 1830s     35
The Empty Archive: Cybernetics and the 1960s     75
Databasing the World: Biodiversity and the 2000s     107
The Mnemonic Deep: The Importance of an Unruly Past     137
The Local Knowledge of a Globalizing Ethnos     201
Conclusion     223
References     231
Inside Technology     255
Index     257

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