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Standards: Recipes for Reality (Infrastructures)

Busch, Lawrence

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ISBN 10: 0262525054 / ISBN 13: 9780262525053
Published by The MIT Press
New Condition: New Soft cover
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2013. Reprint. Paperback. Series: Infrastructures. Num Pages: 402 pages, 14 figures, 18 tables. BIC Classification: PDDM. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational. Dimension: 146 x 221 x 19. Weight in Grams: 510. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780262525053

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Standards: Recipes for Reality (...

Publisher: The MIT Press

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:New

About this title


An investigation into standards, the invisible infrastructures of our technical, moral, social, and physical worlds.

Standards are the means by which we construct realities. There are established standards for professional accreditation, the environment, consumer products, animal welfare, the acceptable stress for highway bridges, healthcare, education -- for almost everything. We are surrounded by a vast array of standards, many of which we take for granted but each of which has been and continues to be the subject of intense negotiation. In this book, Lawrence Busch investigates standards as "recipes for reality." Standards, he argues, shape not only the physical world around us but also our social lives and even our selves.

Busch shows how standards are intimately connected to power -- that they often serve to empower some and disempower others. He outlines the history of formal standards and describes how modern science came to be associated with the moral-technical project of standardization of both people and things. Busch suggests guidelines for developing fair, equitable, and effective standards. Taking a uniquely integrated and comprehensive view of the subject, Busch shows how standards for people and things are inextricably linked, how standards are always layered (even if often addressed serially), and how standards are simultaneously technical, social, moral, legal, and ontological devices.

From the Author:

About 15 years ago I was wandering around in a canola field in Saskatchewan trying to make sense out of this crop only introduced to Canada during the second World War.  Wherever I went, people told me of their need to meet standards -- for seed, for grain, for meal, for margarine, for cooking oil -- indeed, for virtually every aspect of the plant.  It became apparent after a while that without the standards, canola as we know it would simply not exist!  Thus began a lengthy intellectual odyssey that became this book.  What I discovered was that hidden behind virtually every technical gadget -- from cell phones to classroom chairs -- and every profession -- from medicine to auto repair --  were myriad standards, without which our modern world could not exist.  The result of that odyssey is this book.

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