I212. Information in Society
Instructor: Prof. Nancy Van House
Time: M 1-4
Location: 107 South Hall
CCN: 42775 (3 units)

This page last updated 4/12/07

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Jan. 22

Intro to the course

Jan. 29 

Langdon Winner, Do A rtifacts Have Politics?

Paul Dourish, Where the Action Is, ch. 3: Social Computing. Available in read-only version via UCB library at http://uclibs.org/PID/17642.%20

Winner's most-remembered example never happened:

Woolgar, S. & Cooper, G. (1999). Do Artefacts Have Ambivalence?: Moses' Bridges, Winner's Bridges and Other Urban Legends in S&TS. Social Studies of Science, 29, 433-449. 

Joerges, B. (1999). Do Politics Have Artefacts? Social Studies of Science, 29, 411-431.

Joerges, B. (1999). Scams Cannot Be Busted: Reply To Woolgar & Cooper. Social Studies of Science, 29, 450-457.

Feb. 5

This week we'll focus on understanding what SCOT is; this topic will continue into next week.

Bijker, W. E. (2004) Technology, Social Construction of. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. (requires campus IP address or proxy)

Pinch, T. J. & Bijker, W. E. (1987). The social construction of facts and artifacts: Or how the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. In W.E.Bijker, T. P. Hughes, & T. J. Pinch (Eds.), The social construction of technological systems : new directions in the sociology and history of technology (pp. 17-50). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Pinch, T. (1996). The social construction of technology: a review. In R.Fox (Ed.), Technological change (pp. 17-35). Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.

Ronald Kline; Trevor Pinch. Users as Agents of Technological Change: The Social Construction of the Automobile in the Rural United States Technology and Culture, Vol. 37, No. 4. (Oct., 1996), pp. 763-795. (requires campus IP address or proxy)


Bijker, W. E. (1995). King of the road: the social construction of the safety bicycle. In Of bicycles, bakelites, and bulbs: Toward a theory of sociotechnical change (pp. 19-100). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (longest version of the bicycle story)

Rosen, P. (1993). The social construction of mountain bikes: technology and postmodernity in the cycle industry. Social Studies of Science, 23, 479-513. (requires campus IP address or proxy)

Trevor J. Pinch; Wiebe E. Bijker. The Social Construction of Facts and Artefacts: Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other ; Social Studies of Science ,Vol. 14, No. 3 (Aug., 1984), pp. 399-441(longer version of the chapter of the same name, above)

Feb. 12 SCOT, Cont. Students will present their own SCOT analyses.  
Feb. 19 Campus holiday  
Feb. 26

Actor-Network Theory

Law, J. (1992). Notes on the theory of the actor-network: Ordering, strategy, and heterogenity. http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/sociology/papers/law-notes-on-ant.pdf

Latour, Bruno (Jim Johnson). (1995). Mixing humans and nonhumans together: The sociology of door-closer. In S.L.Star (Ed.), Ecologies of knowledge: work and politics in science and technology (pp. 257-277). SUNY Press. Online in Social Problems, Vol. 35, No. 3, Special Issue: The Sociology of Science and Technology, Jun., 1988 (Other articles in this issue are also valuable)

Latour, Reassembling the Social: an Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford, 2005. "Introduction." (The rest of the book is highly recommended. Table of contents. Note the idiosyncratic punctuation of the term ANT.)

 Law's Actor-Network Resources is useful but out of date -- last updated 2004.
Mar 5

ANT, cont.: Classic examples of ANT in action:

Callon, M. Some elements of a sociology of translation: domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay. In Law J. (ed.). Power, Action, and Belief: a New Sociology of Knowledge? Routledge and Kegan Paul: London, 1986.

Law, J. (1992). On the Methods of Long-Distance Control: Vessels, Navigation, and the Portuguese Route to India. http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/sociology/papers/law-methods-of-long-distance-control.pdf

Mar 12 ANT presentations  
 Mar 19 
Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star (1999), Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences, MIT Press. Selections. Available in read-only version via UCB library at: http://cognet.mit.edu/library/books/book.tcl?isbn=0262024616

Bowker, G. C. Memory practices in the sciences. MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass, 2005. Introduction, Conclusion, and selections. Introduction is downloadable.
Useful for thinking about databases and ontologies, apart from any subject domain.
Mar 26  Spring Break  
Apr 2


Suchman, L. Agencies in technology design: feminist reconfigurations. In Schiebinger L. (ed.). Gendered Innovations in Science and Engineering. Stanford University Press: 2007.

Suchman, L., Trigg, R. H., and Blomberg, J. Working artefacts: ethnomethods of the prototype. British Journal of Sociology 53, 2 (2002) 163-179. Online via campus.

Suchman, L. A. Located accountabilities in technology production. Department of Sociology, Lancaster University.[link fixed 3/20]

The relationships between designers and social scientists, and among all the participants in the process, including users. Conceptions of the design process.
Apr 9

Activity Theory

Kaptelinin, Victor, and Bonnie A. Nardi. Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design, MIT Press, Intro , chs. 1-4 (coutside my office).

Apr 16

Distributed Cognition Links fixed 3/12 4 pm

James Hollan, Edwin Hutchins, and David Kirsh.Distributed cognition: toward a new foundation for human-computer interaction research. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Volume 7, Issue 2 (June 2000) (ACM Dig Lib - accessible from UC IP addresses)

Hutchins, E & Klausen, T. (1996). Distributed cognition in an airline cockpit. In Y. Engeström and D. Middleton,(Eds.) Cognition and communication at work. New York: Cambridge University

Kaptelinin, Victor, and Bonnie A. Nardi. Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design, MIT Press, ch. 9 (coutside my office).

Apr 23

Note: we'll start class at 2 pm due to an iSchool candidate talk 12:30-2.

Apr 30 CHI San Jose  
May 7

Last Class


Gender and Technology

Wajcman, J. (2004). TechnoFeminism. Cambridge: Polity.

Lohan, M. (2000). Constructive Tensions in Feminist Technology Studies. Social Studies of Science, 30, 895-916.


Gaule, N. and Haraway, D. Gane, N. (2006). When we have never been human, what is to be done?: Interview with Donna Haraway. Theory, Culture & Society 23, 7-8 (2006) 135-158.

Haraway, D. J. A cyborg manifesto: Science, technology, and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century. In: Simians, Cyborgs, and Women : The Reinvention of Nature. Routledge: New York, 1991.

Haraway, D. Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist Studies 14, 3 (2003) 575-600.online via campus.

Probably best to read Gaule first. In interview Haraway references Bowker & Star, so read them first. Ditto Latour.



To get an idea of likely topics and readings, see the syllabus from the last offering, two years ago.

Likely additions/changes this year: