Strange weather : culture, science, and technology in the age of limits / Andrew Ross.

by Ross, Andrew, 1956- [author.]Looking glass.

Series: Haymarket series: Publisher: London : Verso, 1991.Description: 275 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780860915676.Subject(s): Technology -- Social aspectsLooking glass | Social changeLooking glass | Social problemsLooking glass | Science -- PhilosophyLooking glass | Science -- Social aspectsLooking glass | Technology -- PhilosophyLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical references (pages 251-267) and index.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Who speaks for science in a technologically dominated society? In his latest work of cultural criticism Andrew Ross contends that this question yields no simple or easy answer. In our present technoculture a wide variety of people, both inside and outside the scientific community, have become increasingly vocal in exercising their right to speak about, on behalf of, and often against, science and technology.

Arguing that science can only ever be understood as a social artifact, Strange Weather is a manifesto which calls on cultural critics to abandon their technophobia and contribute to the debates which shape our future. Each chapter focuses on an idea, a practice or community that has established an influential presence in our culture: New Age, computer hacking, cyberpunk, futurology, and global warming.

In a book brimming over with intelligence--both human and electronic--Ross examines the state of scientific countercultures in an age when the development of advanced information technologies coexists uneasily with ecological warnings about the perils of unchecked growth. Intended as a contribution to a "green" cultural criticism, Strange Weather is a provocative investigation of the ways in which science is shaping the popular imagination of today, and delimiting the possibilities of tomorrow.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 251-267) and index.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

The essays collected here continue Ross's middle-level discussion begun in his No Respect: Intellectuals & Popular Culture ( LJ 5/15/89). In each book Ross seeks a common language between intellectual leaders and common people. An English professor and cultural critic, he discusses in case studies several scientific countercultures: the New Age, hackers, cyberpunk fiction, futurists, global warming, and weather forecasting. He urges these communities to refine their analysis of hard science and technology in order to achieve more influence on the social and environmental outcomes of future sci-tech projects. Although the book assumes wide reading in these areas, examples are selected to support the author's position but not the richness of the community. For example, science is equated with factual knowledge. The debate generated by such writers as Bruno Latour in his Science in Action (Harvard Univ. Pr., 1987) is neglected here. A conclusion, glossary, and bibliography would enhance accessibility. An optional purchase for large public and academic libraries.-- Christopher R. Jocius, Illinois Mathematics & Science Acad., Aurora (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Ross ( No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture ) delves into the ways in which technocratic elites (military, corporate, scientific) have set the agenda for public opinion and examines the challenges to those elites posed by popular and alternative cultures. He explores groups--such as New Agers and cyberpunk SF purveyors and fans--who have marginalized themselves by choice and by their potential resistance to a techno-fascist future. In elegant prose and carefully worked out thought, Ross shows these groups to be communities of shared interests that encourage participation by all, the mechanisms of ``a more radically democratic future.'' He is not blind, however, to the their limitations, expressing forcefully his objections to the sour dystopias of the cyberpunks and the failure of much eco-futurology to recognize the complexity of the human presence on earth, eliding differences of race, class and gender. The book's other theme, perhaps its most important one, is that science and technology, like economics and politics, are the products of social formations. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Ross looks at the way technology and science function in what might be called "scientific countercultures." These groups include persons in the New Age movement, computer hackers, cyberpunk science-fiction devotees, futurists, and those concerned with global warming. He observes that although they are all in some way negatively critical of the dominant culture's appeal to scientific standards of truth and reason, they nevertheless judge their alternative visions in light of these same standards. Ross argues that the organization of society should not be left completely to the judgments of technological experts and scientists. A democratic, socially concerned citizenry must make it their business to envision, in logically consistent if not rigorously scientific world views, the role of technology in the future. Such persons need to relate to society's dominant sense of what is rational in the way a computer hacker relates to computing systems: a hacker penetrates the system and instills something of his or her own view into the organization of that system. Recommended for upper-level undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and the more discerning general reader.-C. Koch, Oberlin College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Andrew Ross is Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in American Studies at New York University. His books include No Respect, Strange Weather, The Chicago Gangster Theory of Life ; the editor of Universal Abandon? ; and the co-editor of Microphone Fiends .