Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences

Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences

by Geoffrey C. Bowker, Susan Leigh Star
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0262024616

ISBN-13: 9780262024617

Pub. Date: 10/22/1999

Publisher: MIT Press

What do a seventeenth-century mortality table (whose causes of death include "fainted in a bath," "frighted," and "itch"); the identification of South Africans during apartheid as European, Asian, colored, or black; and the separation of machine- from hand-washables have in common? All are examples of classification -- the scaffolding of information infrastructures

Overview

What do a seventeenth-century mortality table (whose causes of death include "fainted in a bath," "frighted," and "itch"); the identification of South Africans during apartheid as European, Asian, colored, or black; and the separation of machine- from hand-washables have in common? All are examples of classification -- the scaffolding of information infrastructures.

In Sorting Things Out, Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star explore the role of categories and standards in shaping the modern world. In a clear and lively style, they investigate a variety of classification systems, including the International Classification of Diseases, the Nursing Interventions Classification, race classification under apartheid in South Africa, and the classification of viruses and of tuberculosis. Sorting Things Out has a moral agenda, for each standard and category valorizes some point of view and silences another. Standards and classifications produce advantage or suffering. Jobs are made and lost; some regions benefit at the expense of others. How these choices are made and how we think about that process are at the moral and political core of this work. The book is an important empirical source for understanding the building of information infrastructures.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262024617
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
10/22/1999
Series:
Inside Technology
Pages:
389
Sales rank:
336,193
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.85(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: To Classify Is Human

1 Some Tricks of the Trade in Analyzing Classification
I Classification and LargeScale Infrastructures
2 The Kindness of Strangers: Kinds and Politics in
Classification Systems
3 The ICD as Information Infrastructure
4 Classification, Coding, and Coordination
II Classification and Biography, or System and Suffering
5 Of Tuberculosis and Trajectories
6 The Case of Race Classification and Reclassification under
Apartheid
III Classification and Work Practice
7 What Difference a Name Makesthe Classification of Nursing
Work
8 Organizational Forgetting, Nursing Knowledge, and
Classification
IV The Theory and Practice of Classifications
9 Categorical Work and Boundary Infrastructures: Enriching
Theories of Classification
10 Why Classifications Matter

Notes
References
Name IndeX
Subject IndeX

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