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The Inner History of Devices First Edition Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0262201766
ISBN-10: 0262201763
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Providing a number of perspectives on how everyday technology "inhabits the inner life and becomes charged with personal meaning," this collection from author, editor and MIT professor Turkle (Evocative Objects, The Second Self) reconsiders "sanctioned ways of understanding" average devices. Divided into personal, clinical and field experiences, the collection opens with blogger and MIT grad Alicia Kestrell Verlager describing how she came to accept a prosthetic eye-and the considerable computer equipment that came with it-as an extension of her body. In contrast, cultural anthropologist Aslihan Sanal looks at the invasive experience of dialysis and kidney transplant for two patients. Child psychiatrist John Hamilton uses the online behavior of his adolescent patients to probe their identity issues, and PhD candidate Anita Say Chan looks at online addiction through the contributor network at tech-geek news site slashdot.org. Perhaps most fascinating is anthropologist Anne Pollack's look at 11 patients with internal cardiac defibrillators, pacemaker-like implants that work as in-chest "emergency rooms," restarting a heart in cardiac arrest. Though entries are brief, they should absorb more serious-minded science buffs, and thorough notes provide further sources to explore.
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Review

"Sherry Turkle and the contributors use memoirs, psychoanalysis, and ethnography to illuminate our attachments, our grief, our compulsions, our use of things to explore life and death, to shape new selves. Their insights make this book important reading not only for professionals but for everybody who wonders where innovation is taking us."--Edward Tenner, author of Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity and Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences



"What a remarkable book--like a magic toolbox out of this volume come objects with stories: cellphones, dialysis machines, defibrillators, websites, and much more. Using fieldwork, clinical work, and memory work, Sherry Turkle and her terrific contributors make the material world a place of living meanings that tell a great deal about who we are--and who we are becoming. Even more: this is a sophisticated book that is great fun to read."--Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University

(Peter Galison)

"What a remarkable book -- as if it were a magic toolbox, out of this volume come objects with stories: cell phones, dialysis machines, defibrillators, websites, and much more. Using fieldwork, clinical work, and memory work, Sherry Turkle and her terrific contributors make the material world a place of living meanings that tell a great deal about who we are and who we are becoming. Even more: this is a sophisticated book that is great fun to read." -- Peter Galison , Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; First Edition edition (August 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262201763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262201766
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,704,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sherry Turkle studies the relationship between people and technology - how does technology change our ways of seeing ourselves and the world. There is all that technology does for us, but there is all that technology does to us as people. How does it affect how our children grow up? How we relate to each other?

Her 2011 Alone Together, argues that we are at a point of decision and opportunity. Technology now invites us to lose ourselves in always-in mobile connections and even in relationships with inanimate creatures that offer to "stand in" for the real. In the face of all this, technology offers us the occasion to reconsider our human values, and reaffirm what they are.

Alone Together is the third book in a trilogy on our evolving relationships to digital technology. The first two were The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (Simon and Schuster, 1984; Touchstone paper, 1985; second revised edition, MIT Press, 2005) and Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (Simon and Schuster, November 1995; Touchstone paper, 1997).

One of Turkle's lifelong passions is our relationships with objects (not just computers). This has been the focus of a series of books on people's close connections to the "objects of their lives," all published by the MIT Press: Evocative Ojects: Things We Think With (2007), Falling For Science: Objects in Mind (2008), The Inner History of Devices (2008), and Simulation and Its Discontents (2009). Turkle is also the author of Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud's French Revolution (Basic Books, 1978; MIT Press paper, 1981; second revised edition, Guilford Press, 1992).

Turkle's most recent work, to be published by Penguin Press in October 2016 is Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. It argues that there is an assault on empathy that is affecting our personal and work lives and that conversation, the most human and humanizing thing we do, is the talking cure. It analyzes a contemporary flight from conversation and charts the way back to using face-to-face communication to find each other and find ourselves.

Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. She received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist.

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Hage on April 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book Review submitted by: Stephen J. Hage, SteveH9697@aol.com

This is a book that invites you to reexamine not only what you think of every day devices and things like cell phones, personal computers, computer games and implanted defibrillators; it asks you reexamine how you think about them and why.

The approach is interesting in that uses ethnography, memoir and clinical cases in the form of essays written by individuals who've interacted with and, in some cases treated people who established relationships with devices most of us would never consider and not be able to see, even if we were to interact with those described in the essays.

One I found particularly thought provoking is entitled: The Internal Cardiac Defibrillator

An internal cardiac defibrillator is a device implanted in your chest and connected by wires to your heart. It constantly monitors your heartbeat and if your heart goes into cardiac fibrillation, which is life threatening, the device shocks you, much the same as depicted in scenes on medical shows like ER. But, instead of a doctor or EMT placing paddles on your chest, yelling "Clear" and pushing the button to shock you it happens automatically, inside your chest. The ICD shocks you and, when it does, the experience is as painful and traumatic as when it's done with paddles.

It's impossible to understand what it means to have an ICD implanted in your chest without talking to people who do have one. Here's an example:

"I died and then..." "This is the peculiar grammar of stories told by people with ICDs. The internal firing of the ICD is painful and brings one back from death, a repeated boundary crossing that writes a new narrative of life and death.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gilsinclair on April 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, well structured and written, guides us through the history of the devices that summarise and reflect the evolution of humankind since the first artefact was invented. Objects today are communicating among each other to form the Internet of Things, which deeply transforms our relationship to objects and to society. To read absolutely!
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