6.933J/ STS.420J Second Paper Assignment

Papers due Wednesday, October 10, 2001

In a well-written, carefully argued paper of 3-4 pages (~1000 words), answer one of the following two questions. To support your argument, use evidence that is as specific as possible (including quotations), and include footnotes to tell the reader where your evidence is from. Make sure to articulate a strong thesis. When drawing explicitly on MacKenzie or Latour, make citations of the text and indicate the page numbers.

1. From MacKenzie, we know that what seems a "natural trajectory" of a technology is actually the result of various kinds of human effort, social constraint, and contingency. What are the implications of this idea for engineers working "on the ground," on real projects. Answer with reference to a particular engineering project, or one you have been involved in.

2. Latour and Mackenzie have many similarities, but they also differ on certain points. Discuss some of the differences between the two authors, and the implications of those differences for our understanding of how engineers work in the real world. Use specific evidence from the texts.