Friday, April 06, 2012

Some ongoing readings

On my desk at the moment I have some book that I slowly are trying to get through. The problem is as usual that they are good which makes the reading slower at the same time as rewarding.

These are the books I am reading right now:

Christoffer Alexander "Notes on the Synthesis of Form", (1964). 
This is a re-read. I read this book in 1983 and I was really inspired and excited. Now, after only have read a few pages, I am equally excited and realize that many of the ideas I think are my own are probably from this book.

Bruno Latour, "Reassembling the Social", (2005)
Together with some PhD students and some colleagues we are reading one chapter every other week. Then we meet for an hour to discuss that chapter. It takes time but it is really worth it. This is a challenging book in which Latour redefines sociology in a way that is consistent with his earlier work while highly critical of traditional sociology. Is is fascinating to read someone who takes on such a huge task and does it extremely well.

Peter-Paul Verbeek "Moralizing technology" (2011)
I am halfway through this interesting account of the relationship between technology and morality. Verbeek does a wonderful job in laying out the problem and also in providing some great insights. The book is surprisingly easy to read for such a complicated topic. I will hopefully write a review when I am done.

Ludwik Fleck "Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact" (1935).
I realized a while back that I had never read this influential book. It comes with an interesting Foreword by Thomas S. Kuhn who was inspired by Fleck when he wrote his seminal "The structure of scientific revolutions". Fleck develops the notions of "thought style" and "thought collective" in a way that is still more than relevant. I am reading this book in a less structured way, jumping back and forth, not good.

Andrew Feenberg & Norm Friesen (Eds) "(Re)Inventing the Internet" (2012)
I just got this book sent to me from Feenberg and have only started to read it. It is of course based on some of his earlier philosophical writings. The book presents a "critical theory of the internet". Of what I have read so far, it is a welcome analysis of internet which is more analytical than most writings on the topic.

OK, that is enough for now. I guess I have to finish these readings so I can move on to other books.


Gim, Hyewon said...

Hello. :D

I am so glad to see what you are reading, and also very glad to see the names of outstanding thinkers mentioned in this posting. (Almost crying like when I read Krippendorff's book, the semantic turn.)

Bruno Latour is my favorite these days as well. In fact, I am comparing ANT and AT to avoid mono-casual analysis of my perspective. Both theories have their own deep history so that it is not easy to do compare to me. (In other word, I am Unnecessarily bothering myself.) I saw that several Korean scholars also mentioned him and teach students his theory. Korean students seem to like him and his colleagues, since their views offer the unique analysis in terms of the semiotic relationship between humans and nonhumans. But I have not had a chance to read his book that you mention here, I will read it once I finish the comparison task.

I am looking forward to see Verbeek's other invaluable views of new technology artifacts. I like his theory of the post phenomenology, but my unconscious thinking often say that we need to have someone who can offer other views of new technology systems that have more advanced and different abilities in human society. Perhaps, we are captivated in big theories and distinguished authors that we love to use them to argue and prove legitimacy of a certain discourse like HCI. But this is also dangerous to us since we cannot escape from them. I read that a French writer criticizes that this way is American writing strategy. Well, I don't know. I am still young to judge.

I have not had a chance to read the book, "(Re)Inventing the Internet" yet. This seems to be brand new. I will try to catch the book as soon as possible.

Thank you so much!!!

Christian Briggs said...

Thanks for the list Erik. It looks as though my reading list just got longer. For those of your readers who have not read Fleck's book, i would highly recommend it. I have found his ideas very helpful. In fact, i tried using Fleck's five stages of resistance to new ideas i a quick exploration of the ongoing clash of though styles with regard to the intersection of digital technology and organizations:

I think the same could be done to examine the ways that ideas about design, complexity, etc. are changing as well.