"What a f-ing system! Send 'em all to the same place and then expect us to stop 'em hitting": Making Technology Work in Air Traffic Control
Richard Harper, Hughes
Despite the long prominence of technology in social life, especially since the industrial revolution and most
saliently celebrated, for social theory in Marx's disquisitions on 'homo faber', the social study of technology has
not been similarly prominent, until recently that is, with the development of social constructionist views on
technology drawing heavily upon similar perspectives on the sociology of science. While there has been no
shortage of macro characterisations of the shifts and changes technology has wrought in work and play, health
and wealth, life and death, in social and political division, there has been relatively little detailed study of how
technological artefacts are understood and used as sociocultural objects within the world of living actors. Much
of social science's interest in technology has rarely been an interest in technology itself but much more
concerned with how it has affected work, leisure, socioeconomic change, the media, demographics, and so on,
rather than with what we would want to call the sociality of technology, that is, a concern to explicate how
technology as a set of culture artefacts comes to be incorporated as features of socially organised activities.
Technology in Working Order: Studies of Work, Interaction, and Technology, Graham Button (ed), Routledge, London, 1993, pp 127-144.