Interest in Production: On the Configuration of Technology-Bearing Labors for Epistemic IT

Interest in Production: On the Configuration of Technology-Bearing Labors for Epistemic IT

Katie Vann (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Netherlands) and Geoffrey C. Bowker (Santa Clara University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-717-1.ch004
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Abstract

The chapter locates the organization of the technology-bearing labor process as an important object of STS/ e-science research. Prospective e-science texts, so central to the pursuit of innovative technologies, construct images of specific technical product outcomes that could justify future investment; such products in turn imply specific labor contributions. To study the production of IT for epistemic practice is to go beyond an inquiry of IT use and design practices, and to consider decisions that get made about how the skill, commitment, performance and product demand of scientists could be coordinated and stabilized. In bringing these considerations to the fore, the chapter presents findings from a study about a particular e-science infrastructure production project—the U.S. National Computational Science Alliance—at the turn of the 21st century. The chapter illustrates the organizational dynamics in this case that were bound up with the garnering of interest and commitment of scientists who were funded to build interdisciplinary computational media.

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