On Line and On Paper: Visual Representations, Visual Culture, and Computer Graphics in Design Engineering / Edition 1

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Overview

The role of representation in the production of technoscientific knowledge has become a subject of great interest in recent years. In this book, sociologist and art critic Kathryn Henderson offers a new perspective on this topic by exploring the impact of computer graphic systems on the visual culture of engineering design. Henderson shows how designers use drawings both to organize work and knowledge and to recruit and organize resources, political support, and power.
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What People Are Saying

Howard S. Becker
Henderson shows how drawing by hand is the way engineers communicate with each other and with others central to the manufacturing process. Her rich data and careful analysis illumine the problems that the shift to computer drafting have created for modern industry so make a major contribution to understanding contemporary technology.
Lucy Suchman
At a time when breathless rhetorics of the virtual abound, Kathryn Henderson provides us with a thoughtful investigation of the particularities of mixed practices across electronic and paper media. Skillfully locating her analysis in recent theorizing within science and technology studies, Henderson writes with a clarity that will make On Line and On Paper a resource not only for scholars of technoscience, new media technologies, and labor history but for engineering educators and reflective practitioners as well.
Tom Gieryn
Opening up the black box of 'design,' Henderson lays bare processes of visualization. How do engineers see the not-yet-made, and how do they communicate their visions with pixels and pencils? This book is invasive in the best sense of the word: It investigates how visual representations become something more than private cogitation, and how they are grounded in machine-mediated cultures and organizational agendas. A vital contribution to the budding sociology of machines.
Louis L. Bucciarelli
Henderson makes a solid contribution to a small but growing collection of fine-scaled studies of engineers at work, probing and revealing the richness of the craft. She convincingly argues for a deeper interpretation of the formal as well as informal visual image, showing how they act as 'conscription devices', around and upon which managers, subcontractors, engineers — all active participants in design — negotiate dimensions, parts lists, and their professional identities. Now that drafting is no longer a requirement, this might well serve the undergraduate engineer as preparation for professional practice.
Arie Rip
Kathryn Henderson captures the life-world of design and its vicissitudes in wonderful case studies.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262082693
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1998
  • Series: Inside Technology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 249
  • Product dimensions: 6.29 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 Coding and Claiming: Codification and the Rise of Engineering as a Profession 15
3 The Visual Culture of Engineers: Drawing, Seeing, and Standardizing Perception 25
4 The Yellow Brick Road to Production: Development of a Turbine Engine Package 59
5 The Political Career of a Prototype: Development of a Precision Medical Instrument 107
6 Computer Graphics in Design Engineering: How and Why Changes in Visual Culture Cause Restructuring 135
7 Mixed-Use Practices: Combining the Electronic World and the Paper World 167
8 The Aura of "High Tech" in a World of Messy Practice: Standardization, Mystification, and Glamour 185
9 The Power of Visual Representations: Mixed Practices, Multivisual Competencies, and Meta-indexicals 199
Notes 209
References 217
Index 229
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