[SIGCIS-Members] Call for Ideas!

Andrew Russell arussell at arussell.org
Tue Aug 23 05:44:20 PDT 2016

Dag - 

Thanks for kicking off a fascinating thread!  

5 suggestions:

1. Anything by Thomas Parke Hughes.

2. For me, the work of Susan Leigh Star, much of it published with a variety of collaborators, is the conceptual bedrock of “infrastructure studies” (as distinct from Hughes’s work on technological systems). The book “Sorting Things Out” (by Star and Geof Bowker, MIT Press, 1999) collects many of these insights and concepts, including the canonical “definition of infrastructure,” Table 1.1 on page 35.

3. See also the work of Paul Edwards, who also publishes a lot with collaborators. One important overview is here: http://www.firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1904/1786 (part of a special issue on cyberinfrastructure).  See also the opening stretches of his book _A Vast Machine_, and a recent essay in New Media & Society “Infrastructure studies meet platform studies in the age of Google and Facebook,” available from http://pne.people.si.umich.edu/articles.html. 

4. One exemplary case study - built on documents and an astonishing number of oral history interviews is the book “Fastlane” by Tom Misa and Jeff Yost.

5. There’s a lot of compelling work on infrastructures coming out of anthropology - see for example https://culanth.org/curated_collections/11-infrastructure and https://culanth.org/fieldsights/725-the-infrastructure-toolbox.  The best of this work, in my view, moves from an exclusive focus on material things to ethnographic considerations of the people who make infrastructure work - this is the spin that Lee Vinsel and I are pursuing in our work on “maintainers.”

I wonder if I could convince you to assemble a list of onlist and offlist responses and send it back to the list when you’re done? 



> On Aug 22, 2016, at 4:20 PM, Dag Spicer <dspicer at computerhistory.org> wrote:
> Can anyone suggest some canonical and effective texts in Infrastructure Studies?
> Thanks!
> Dag
> --
> Dag Spicer
> Senior Curator
> Computer History Museum
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