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Gender and Technology in the Making Paperback – Oct. 1 1993


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`It really is quite fascinating to see how Cynthia Cockburn and Susan Ormrod have produced such an interesting and multi-layered text from a study concerned with the apparently unremarkable and seemingly politically neutral microwave oven.... The authors have produced a work which will come to be seen as one of the most significant of the field in that they not only interweave the theories and practices of feminism with organizational, technological and cultural studies but also reflect upon and redefine our understanding of gender and technology relations.... The fast moving narrative, enhanced by useful diagrams, provides a comprehensive account of the complex network of participating organizations, individuals and groups involved, highlighting their interrelations and indicating the wide-ranging effects of the microwave oven as it becomes embedded as both a social product and a social process.... One of the most compelling features of this book is the inclusion of black and white photographs taken by Cynthia Cockburn of people involved with various aspects of the microwave oven, ranging from engineers, food technologists, assembly line workers, shop assistants, packers and transport workers to prospective customers and families at home actually using the oven. These photographs are interspersed throughout the book and function as a parallel narrative to the text. But more than this, they serve as a powerful and haunting evocation of the women, men and children whose lives have been touched by the impact of new technology; their silent imagery a powerful reminder of the world outside academia's ivory tower. Perhaps it is this original and thoughtful combination of text and image which lifts this book above many other similar studies, offering the reader not just an absorbing theoretical analysis but also closely observed instances of people's everyday lives.' - New Technology, Work and Employment `This is an important book, a further landmark in the research on gender and technology pioneered by Cynthia Cockburn. Rich empirical detail recounts the fascinating journey of the microwave, made more vivid by photographs that capture a sense of the awe and involvement of people working with the artefact. Theoretical understanding of the mutual shaping of the relations of gender and technology is moved on several notches, providing a major contribution to the analysis of gender as involved in all social process' - Work, Employment and Society `Cockburn and Ormrod draw out with clarity and enthusiasm the distinctive roles of men and women whose job it is to develop domestic microwave technology.... This is a valuable contribution to the literature in this field, addressing simultaneously gender issues both within the workplace and within the domestic setting' - Organization `This is a valuable account of the interrelationship of gender and contemporary material culture, cast within an essentially sociological analysis.... the resonances of gender are at times beautifully captured here. While the use of photographic images provides an additional dimension, Cockburn's prose alone is often a powerful vehicle for the charting of difference and its material representation' - British Journal of Sociology

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