"Mackenzie has achieved a masterful synthesis of engrossing narrative, imaginative concepts, historical perspective, and social concern. "
Donald MacKenzie follows one line of technologystrategic ballistic missile guidance through a succession of weapons systems to reveal the workings of a world that is neither awesome nor unstoppable. He uncovers the parameters, the pressures, and the politics that make up the complex social construction of an equally complex technology.
About the Author
Donald MacKenzie is Professor of Sociology (Personal Chair) at the University of Edinburgh. His books include Inventing Accuracy (1990), Knowing Machines (1996), and Mechanizing Proof (2001), all published by the MIT Press. Portions of An Engine, not a Camera won the Viviana A. Zelizer Prize in economic sociology from the American Sociological Association.
What People are Saying About This
MacKenzie's study challenges conventional models of technical determinism of the race in sophisticated weaponry and replaces it with a carefully drawn model of the social formation of technical change. The detailed empirical examination and sociological framework set a new standard for the historical and social study of technology.
"Inventing Accuracy is a brilliant achievement that will, if we are fortunate, change widespread misunderstandings about technological innovation. The strength of this book lies not only in its extremely clear and nuanced theoretical statements, but also in its rich historical narrative. This book should be of great interest to a diverse audience. It also provides a creative, if extremely demanding,model for future scholarship on technology and national security. Lynn Eden,Survival
"This is a great piece of sociology and a great book.... gripping,superbly researched, fair, sympathetic, and ultimately, hopeful." Steven Shapin,American Journal of Sociology
Meticulous research and acute analysis are here combined in an exceptionally readable text. Inventing Accuracy is going to be a paradigm for studies in the history and sociology of technology for years to come.Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Professor of History, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Meticulous research and acute analysis are here combined in an exceptionally readable text. Inventing Accuracy is going to be a paradigm for studies in the history and sociology of technology for years to come.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an exhaustive account of the development of nuclear missile guidance technology in the US and the USSR. It is mostly dry, and (unless this is your area of interest) exceedingly detailed. However, the last couple of chapters are worth plowing through the details: MacKenzie explains, with solid data, how "the social" and "the technical" are part of the same web, how facts are constructed in science; and how institutions and the people that conform them navigate through political and technological issues.