The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise

Front Cover
MIT Press, Aug 24, 2012 - Computers - 336 pages
0 Reviews
This is a book about the computer revolution of the mid-twentieth century and the people who made it possible. Unlike most histories of computing, it is not a book about machines, inventors, or entrepreneurs. Instead, it tells the story of the vast but largely anonymous legions of computer specialists--programmers, systems analysts, and other software developers--who transformed the electronic computer from a scientific curiosity into the defining technology of the modern era. As the systems that they built became increasingly powerful and ubiquitous, these specialists became the focus of a series of critiques of the social and organizational impact of electronic computing. To many of their contemporaries, it seemed the "computer boys" were taking over, not just in the corporate setting, but also in government, politics, and society in general. In The Computer Boys Take Over, Nathan Ensmenger traces the rise to power of the computer expert in modern American society. His rich and nuanced portrayal of the men and women (a surprising number of the "computer boys" were, in fact, female) who built their careers around the novel technology of electronic computing explores issues of power, identity, and expertise that have only become more significant in our increasingly computerized society.In his recasting of the drama of the computer revolution through the eyes of its principle revolutionaries, Ensmenger reminds us that the computerization of modern society was not an inevitable process driven by impersonal technological or economic imperatives, but was rather a creative, contentious, and above all, fundamentally human development.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction
1
Chapter 2 The Black Art of Programming
27
Chapter 3 Chess Players Music Lovers and Mathematicians
51
Chapter 4 Tower of Babel
83
Chapter 5 The Rise of Computer Science
111
Chapter 6 The Cosa Nostra of the Data Processing Industry
137
Chapter 7 The Professionalization of Programming
163
Chapter 8 Engineering a Solution
195
Chapter 9 Conclusions
223
Notes
245
Bibliography
287
Index
315
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information