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The Government Machine: A Revolutionary History of the Computer
In The Government Machine, Jon Agar traces the mechanization of government work in the United Kingdom from the nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. He argues that this transformation has been tied to the rise of "expert movements," groups whose authority has rested on their expertise. The deployment of machines was an attempt to gain control over state action -- ...more
Hardcover, 564 pages
Published September 26th 2003 by MIT Press
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There's much here to like. I was drawn to Agar's plainspoken yet scholarly precision, his tendency to historicize details of theoretical value, and his investigation of metaphor's relationship with material. Is the government a machine; is the civil service a machine? These have been asserted often through history, and Agar follows up on their relevance and veracity. A good read, albeit with limitations.
Jon Agar is Professor in Science and Technology Studies at University College London. Agar earned his BA in mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 1990 and a Ph.D. in the History of Science from the University fo Kent in 1994. From 1994 to 2001 he directed the UK National Archive for the History of Computing.
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