Q&A with Diane Vaughan, Author of Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning is an historical ethnography of the life course of the air traffic control system from system emergence through 2017. Based on archival research and fieldwork in four air traffic control facilities, the book focuses on how historical institutional conditions, assemblages of social actors, and events in the system’s external environment – political, economic, technical, cultural – impact the air traffic organization, changing it, and how in turn those changes affect not only the social, technological, and material arrangements of the workplace, but also controllers’ interpretive work, cultural understandings, and work practices. Far from a top down model, the analysis shows how controllers respond to these events, implementing repairs in response to the liabilities of technological and organizational innovation. It expands what we know about knowledge production, boundaries and boundary work, culture and cognition, expertise, and the changing nature of technical work over time. Continue reading Q&A with Diane Vaughan, Author of Dead Reckoning