This article explores testing as research site in the sociology of technology. A fully generalizable analysis is offered of testing in terms of a notion of projection. Prospective, current, and retrospective testing are identified The article is illustrated with examples of testing a clinical budgeting system in the United Kingdom National Health Service and the testing of the O-rings on the space shuttle Challenger. Lastly, the theme of "testing the user" is developed Some comments are offered on the pervasiveness of (...) testing in society at large. (shrink)
Contributors; Preface; Introduction; Part I. Instruments in Experiments: 1. Scientific instruments: models of brass and aids to discovery; 2. Glass works: Newton’s prisms and the uses of experiment; 3. A viol of water or a wedge of glass; Part II. Experiment and Argument: 4. Galileo’s experimental discourse; 5. Fresnel, Poisson and the white spot: the role of successful predictions in the acceptance of scientific theories; 6. The rhetoric of experiment; Part III. Representing and Realising: 7. ’Magnetic curves’ and the magnetic (...) field: experimentation and representation in the history of a theory; 8. Artificial clouds, real particles; 9. Living in the material world; 10. Justification and experimentation; Part IV. The Constituency of Experiment: 11. Extraordinary experiment: electricity and the creation of life in Victorian England; 12. Why did Britain join CERN?; Part V. Hallmarks of Experiment: 13. From Kwajalein to Armageddon? Testing and the social construction of missile accuracy; 14. The epistemology of experiment; Select bibliography; Name index; Subject index. (shrink)
A B S T R A C T Detailed examination of audio recordings of business-to-business `field-sales' encounters are used to report one way in which salespeople elicit verbal expressions of affiliation from their prospective customers — by reciprocating second assessments which affiliate with, trade off and build on prospects' own assessments. This article outlines the prototypical features of these junctures of assessment-affiliation and describes how salespeople can mobilize such assessments to build extended sequences of `rapport' that take the form of (...) adjacent and mutual expressions of substantive verbal affiliation. Consideration is also given to explicating both the interactional basis of these sequences as well as the socially obligating influence such affiliation and rapport can have on sales outcomes. (shrink)
In this brief commentary, I suggest Selinger and Whyte are essentially correct in their criticism of the Nudge approach advocated by Thaler and Sunstein. I use some examples from road behavior and traffic planning to amplify the criticism that the simple behavioral economics approach fails to take account of the embedding of humans and technology in the wider social and cultural context.
In this paper I put in dialogue two areas of scholarship: Technology Studies and Sound Studies. Within Technology Studies I discuss the influential social construction of technology approach and illustrate it with the history of the moog electronic music synthesizer, the first commercial music synthesizer. I stress the role of standardization of keyboards and the key role played by users in the development of this technology. I examine certain iconic sounds that the moog synthesizer produces and discuss the stabilization of (...) sound. It is argued that just as technologies can be traced as stabilizing over time, sounds also can be traced with certain sounds stabilizing and being taken up by users whilst other sounds fail to stabilize. The technology required to produce a sound, performance practice, and wider cultural concerns such as the naming of sounds are crucial ingredients in the stabilization of sound. (shrink)