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Someone wrote this with a straight face - Nathan — LiveJournal
June 30th, 2009
09:29 pm
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Someone wrote this with a straight face
Found this afternoon on the back cover of a book at Mcintyre & Moore's annex:
This is a story of how work gets done. It is also a study of of how field service technicians talk about their work and how that talk is instrumental in their success. In his innovative ethnography, Julian E. Orr studies the people who repair photocopiers and shares vignettes from their daily lives. He characterizes their work as a continuous highly skilled improvisation within a triangular relationship of technician, customer, and machine.

The work technicans do encompasses elements not contained in the official description of the job yet vital to its success. Orr's analysis of the way repair people talk about their work reveals that talk is, in fact, a crucial dimension of their practics. Diagnosis happens through a narrative process, the creation of a coherent description of the troubled machine. The description becomes the basis for technicians' discourse about their experience, and the circulation of stories among the technicians is the principal means by which they stay informed of the developing subtleties of machine behavior. Orr demonstrates that technical knowledge is a socially distributed resource stored and diffused primarily through an oral culture.

Based on participant observation with copier repair technicians in the field and strengthened by Orr's own years as a technician, this book explodes numerous myths about technicians and suggests how technical work differs from other kinds of employment.

Talking About Machines: Ethnography of a Modern Job.
Even for $0.53, I couldn't bring myself to buy it.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:July 1st, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
This description makes me think "dissertation that needed publication for tenure."
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Date:July 1st, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
the creation of a coherent description of the troubled machine

I wish more of my co-workers had that skill.

While the writing there is painful, I could see there being something interesting to say in that space.
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Date:July 1st, 2009 02:32 am (UTC)
University press?
Date:July 4th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)

business comp

Very nice!
I sent this one to my Business composition class with the instructions to translate it into plain English. I wonder if they can....
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