Maintenance & Repair in Science and Technology Studies

Jérôme Denis, Alessandro Mongili, David Pontille


Abstract: Notably taking root in the first laboratory ethnography studies and in the interactionist sociology of work, several studies have recently provided an in-depth account of maintenance and repair work in very different sites (workplaces, urban settings, homes). They have provided great insights to not only reconsider largely invisible operations, but also to pursue the discussion of issues such as innovation, ordering processes and materiality in Science and Technology Studies. In this introduction, we focus on two topics of discussion. First, we show how maintenance and repair studies expand our understanding of sociomaterial work and object agency. Second, we highlight reasons for exploring maintenance and repair practices to challenge and decenter innovation studies.

Keywords: maintenance & repair; vulnerability; innovation; materiality; modes of ordering.

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