ISBN-10:
0262550288
ISBN-13:
9780262550284
Pub. Date:
08/21/1997
Publisher:
MIT Press
The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America

The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262550284
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 08/21/1997
Series: Inside Technology
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 462
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.81(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Paul N. Edwards is Professor in the School of Information and the Department of History at the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America (1996) and a coeditor (with Clark Miller) of Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance (2001), both published by the MIT Press.

Wiebe E. Bijker is Professor at Maastricht University and the author of Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change (MIT Press) and other books.

Trevor Pinch is Goldwin Smith Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University and coeditor of The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology (anniversary edition, MIT Press).

What People are Saying About This

Michael Smith

What is the social role of the computer? Scholars have approached this question from a broad range of vantages—the history and sociology of technology, cultural studies of the Cold War, critical theory. What many readers have awaited is the kind of creative synthesis that integrates these very different approaches and points us toward a more expansive realm of inquiry. Paul Edwards has started us on that path. He offers great originality, unshackles erudition from jargon, and releases the insights of a variety of academic disciplines from the compartments that so often limit their interplay. Readers from many quarters will be grateful for the clarity and sweep of this exciting book.

Thomas P. Hughes

Paul Edwards, in this wide-ranging introduction to postmodern technology, boldly argues that computer metaphors, as well as computer tools, invasively shape our intellectual spaces: films like Bladerunner become, for him, extended computer metaphors; cognitive psychology depends on computer analogies; and the Gulf War takes on the characteristics of a virtual-reality video game.

Terry Winograd

In his brilliant interweaving of the history and culture of computing, Paul Edwards reveals a wealth of tantalizing links and interactions between computers as technology and computers as mythology. He shows how both the development and the understanding of a technology are deeply rooted in political and social concerns, and he offers a thought-provoking interpretation of our life with computers from a new perspective.

N. Katherine Hayles

The Closed World brilliantly re-envisions the role of computer in post-World War II American history and society by simultaneously situating them as metaphors, technological artifacts enabling the formation and pursuit of Cold War politics, and conceptual thinking machines. The many discourses The Closed World marshals and analyzes make it a richly provocative work that anyone interested in computers, cyborgs, or the Cold War must read.

Whole Earth Review - Howard Rheingold

The Closed World is astonishing. One of the most important books of the 20th century.

Endorsement

Paul Edwards, in this wide-ranging introduction to postmodern technology, boldly argues that computer metaphors, as well as computer tools, invasively shape our intellectual spaces: films like Bladerunner become, for him, extended computer metaphors; cognitive psychology depends on computer analogies; and the Gulf War takes on the characteristics of a virtual-reality video game.

Thomas P. Hughes, Visiting Professor, MIT and Mellon Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania

From the Publisher

What is the social role of the computer? Scholars have approached this question from a broad range of vantages—the history and sociology of technology, cultural studies of the Cold War, critical theory. What many readers have awaited is the kind of creative synthesis that integrates these very different approaches and points us toward a more expansive realm of inquiry. Paul Edwards has started us on that path. He offers great originality, unshackles erudition from jargon, and releases the insights of a variety of academic disciplines from the compartments that so often limit their interplay. Readers from many quarters will be grateful for the clarity and sweep of this exciting book.

Michael Smith, Professor of History, University of California, Davis

The Closed World brilliantly re-envisions the role of computer in post-World War II American history and society by simultaneously situating them as metaphors, technological artifacts enabling the formation and pursuit of Cold War politics, and conceptual thinking machines. The many discourses The Closed World marshals and analyzes make it a richly provocative work that anyone interested in computers, cyborgs, or the Cold War must read.

N. Katherine Hayles, Professor of English, University of California, Los Angeles

In his brilliant interweaving of the history and culture of computing, Paul Edwards reveals a wealth of tantalizing links and interactions between computers as technology and computers as mythology. He shows how both the development and the understanding of a technology are deeply rooted in political and social concerns, and he offers a thought-provoking interpretation of our life with computers from a new perspective.

Terry Winograd, Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University

Paul Edwards, in this wide-ranging introduction to postmodern technology, boldly argues that computer metaphors, as well as computer tools, invasively shape our intellectual spaces: films like Bladerunner become, for him, extended computer metaphors; cognitive psychology depends on computer analogies; and the Gulf War takes on the characteristics of a virtual-reality video game.

Thomas P. Hughes, Visiting Professor, MIT and Mellon Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania

The Nation - Grant Kester

A fascinating glimpse into the history of computing and a cogentreminder of the extent to which this history continues to inform ourvision of the future.

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