The Machine in Me: An Anthropologist Sits Among Computer Engineers

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Gary Lee Downey investigates the body/machine interface in his remarkable ethnography of computer engineers. Drawing on interviews, observations and personal interaction with engineers, he documents the everyday power of technology's dominant image in our society, a

force widely regarded as monolithically progressive.

The Machine in Me will lead the reader to understand how deeply connected we are to The Machine and how beneficial it would be for us to really understand ourselves and machines as partially configured of the other--we

as part machine, machines as part human. In this way, we can begin to see both the power and limitations of technology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415920216
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 7/7/1998
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Lee Downey is Director of the Center for Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Tech.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Images Count 1
The Doctrine of Competitiveness 6
The Cultural Boundary between Humans and Machines 10
CAD/CAM and Competitiveness 13
Intervening through Technology Studies 18
Another Try 26
2 We Put You in Control: The Trade Show 32
Congruence 33
It's All in the Machine 37
Where Control Doesn't Fit 49
3 Does Productivity Fit? 58
Tar Baby 60
Productivity as Burden and Strategy 63
Living with the Machine 65
Boxed in by Productivity 71
Return of the Dominant Image 74
4 Seducing Money 82
Quick Bucks 83
1983: A Glorious Future 86
1987: From System to Commodities 94
1990: Living for the Quarterly Report 100
5 Adapting a Nation around Automation 107
Hybrid Humans 109
Tweaking Boundaries 117
Negotiating Inside the Code 121
Resistance from Industry 128
6 Beyond Control and Submission 134
Who Is the Slave? 135
Was This Iteration? 139
Authorized Personnel 141
Passions Inside 145
Configurations of Agency 150
Mapping Positions 153
7 Locating Me Inside It: Coding 159
First Transcriptions 161
Putting Objects into the Machine 172
Engines of Analysis 178
8 Locating It Inside Me: Confusion 186
"I Want Control" 187
"I Just Want a Tool" 192
Systematic Confusion 199
9 The Making of Experts 210
Birth History 212
Becoming Hardware and Software 214
Ownership 222
Experts in Science? 226
More Than One Dimension 232
10 On the Replacement of Humans with Machines: A Different Humanism 237
What Might Have Emerged in Industry? 240
What Might Have Emerged in Education? 245
What Might Have Emerged in Research? 248
Notes 252
References 262
Index 275
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