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Hardcover | $75.00 Short | £51.95 | ISBN: 9780262162524 | 416 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 18 b&w illus., 4 tables| October 2008
Paperback | $32.00 Text | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780262662079 | 416 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 18 b&w illus., 4 tables| October 2008

Essential Info

Living in a Material World

Economic Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies


Although social scientists generally agree that technology plays a major role in the economy, economics and technology have yet to be brought together in a coherent framework that is both analytically interesting and empirically oriented. This book draws on the tools of science and technology studies and economic sociology to reconceptualize the intersection of economy and technology, suggesting materiality—the idea that social existence involves not only actors and social relations but also objects—as the theoretical point of convergence.

The contributors take up general concerns (including individual agency in a network economy and the materiality of the household in economic history) and specific financial technologies (the stock ticker, the trading room, the telephone). Forms of infrastructure—accounting, global configurations of trading and information technologies, patent law—are examined. Case studies of the effect of the Internet and information technology on consumption (e-commerce), the reputation economy (the rise of online reviews of products), and organizational settings (outsourcing of an IT system) complete this collection of essays.

Contributors: Elizabeth Popp Berman, Daniel Beunza, Michel Callon, Karin Knorr Cetina, Shay David, Thomas F. Gieryn, Barbara Grimpe, David Hatherly, David Leung, Christian Licoppe, Donald MacKenzie, Philip Mirowski, Fabian Muniesa, Edward Nik-Khah, Trevor Pinch, Alex Preda, Nicholas J. Rowland, David Stark, Richard Swedberg.

The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.

About the Editors

Trevor Pinch is Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. He is the coeditor of How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (MIT Press, 2003) and the coauthor of Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer and other books.

Richard Swedberg is Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. He is the author of Max Weber and the Idea of Economic Sociology, Principles of Economic Sociology, and other books.


"This volume from leading scholars in economic sociology and science and technology studies offers a new way of linking economics to science and technology studies via materiality. By putting materiality, especially technology, back into the economy, the authors take both fields in a new direction. We gain path-breaking insights into the distributed agency at work in markets, infrastructure, and the uses of technology."
Richard Rottenburg, Martin Luther University

"This book is a well-timed effort to investigate the crucial relationship between technology and economy by joining the forces of science and technology studies and economic sociology. It improves our understanding of the diverse ways in which the world is material, while breaking new ground to conceptualize the relationship between technology and economy. The book convincingly demonstrates how this relationship is much more complex and interactive than the established idea that economy shapes technology, while new technologies offer economic options through innovation."
Knut H. S