Hackerspaces: Making The Maker Movement by Sarah R. Davies

The Blurb On The Back:

A new industrial revolution.  The age of making.  From bits to atoms.  Many people are excited by the possibilities offered by new fabrication technologies like 3D printers, and the ways in which they are being used in hacker and makerspaces.  But why is the power of hacking and making an idea whose time has come?

Hackerspaces: Making The Maker Movement takes the rise of the maker movement as its starting point.  Hacker and makerspaces, Fab Labs, and DIY bio spaces are emerging all over the world.  Based on a study of hacker and makerspaces across the US, this book explores cultures of hacking and making in the context of wider social changes, arguing that excitement about the maker movement is not just about the availability of new technologies, but the kind of citizens we are expected to be. 

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Narcocapitalism by Laurent de Sutter

The Blurb On The Back:

What do the invention of anaesthetics in the middle of the nineteenth century, the Nazis’ use of cocaine, and the development of Prozac have in common?  The answer is that they’re all products of the same logic that defines out contemporary era: ‘the age of anaesthesia’.  Laurent de Sutter shows how large aspects of our lives are now characterised by the management of our emotions through drugs, ranging from the everyday use of sleeping pills to hard narcotics.  Chemistry has become so much a part of us that we can’t even see how much it has changed us.

In this era, being a subject doesn’t simply mean being subjected to powers that decide our lives: it means that our very emotions have been outsourced to chemical stimulation.  Yet we don’t understand why the drugs that we take are unable to free us from fatigue and depression, and from the absence of desire that now characterises our psycho-political condition.  We have forgotten what it means to be excited because our only excitement has become drug-induced.  We have to abandon the narcotic stimulation that we’ve come to rely on and find a way back to the collective excitement that is narcocapitalism’s greatest fear. 

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The Pharmaceutical Studies Reader edited by Sergio Sismondo and Jeremy A. Greene

The Blurb On The Back:

The Pharmaceutical Studies Reader is an engaging examination of this new and growing field, bringing together provocative, multidisciplinary articles to look at the interplay of medical science, clinical practice, consumerism, and the healthcare marketplace.  Ranging far beyond the simple discussion of patients, symptoms, and pills, this reader offers important insights into contemporary cultures of health and illness and the social life of pharmaceuticals.

Drawing on anthropological, historical, and sociological research, it delves into the production, circulation, and consumption of pharmaceuticals.  The coverage here is broad and compelling with discussion of topics such as the advent of oral contraceptives, taxonomies of disease, the evolution of prescribing habits, the ethical dimension of pharmaceuticals, clinical trials, and drug production in the age of globalisation.  Placing a strong focus on context, this collection exposes readers to a variety of approaches, ideas, and frameworks and provides them with an appreciation and understanding of the complex roles pharmaceuticals play in society today.  

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Is Science Racist? by Jonathan Marks

The Blurb On The Back:

Every arena of science has its own flash-point issues – chemistry and poison gas, physics and the atom bomb – and genetics has had a troubled history with race.  As Jonathan Marks reveals, this dangerous relationship rumbles on to this day, still leaving plenty of leeway for a belief in the basic natural inequality of races.

The eugenic science of the early twentieth century and the commodified genomic science of today are unified by the mistaken belief that human races are naturalistic categories.  Yet their boundaries are founded neither in biology nor in genetics and, not being a formal scientific concept, race is largely not accessible to the scientist.  As Marks argues, race can only be grasped through the humanities: historically, experientially, politically.

This wise, witty essay explores the persistence and legacy of scientific racism, which misappropriates the authority of science and undermines it by converting it into a social weapon. 

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