Format: Trade Paperback
Dimensions: 336 pages, 9.25 × 5.98 × 0.04 in
Published: April 1, 1996
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0674043235
ISBN - 13: 9780674043237
Table of Contents
Prologue: Who Killed Aramis?
1. An Exciting Innovation
2. Is Aramis Feasible?
3. Shilly-Shallying in the Seventies
4. Interphase: Three Years of Grace
5. The 1984 Decision: Aramis Exists for Real
6. Aramis at the CET Stage: Will It Keep Its Promises?
7. Aramis Is Ready to Go (Away)
Epilogue: Aramis Unloved
From the Publisher
Bruno Latour has written a unique and wonderful tale of a
technological dream gone wrong. As the young engineer and professor
follow Aramis'' trail--conducting interviews, analyzing documents,
assessing the evidence--perspectives keep shifting: the truth is
revealed as multilayered, unascertainable, comprising an array of
possibilities worthy of Rashomon. The reader is eventually
led to see the project from the point of view of Aramis, and along
the way gains insight into the relationship between human beings
and their technological creations. This charming and profound book,
part novel and part sociological study, is Latour at his
About the Author
Bruno Latour is Professor at the Center for the Study of Innovation at the School of Mines, Paris.
From Our Editors
A guided-transportation system intended for Paris, Aramis represented a major advance in personal rapid transit: it combined the efficiency of a subway with the flexibility of an automobile. But in the end, its electronic couplings proved too complex and expensive, the political will failed, and the project died in 1987. The story of Aramis is told by several different parties, none of which take precedence over any other: a young engineer and his professor, who act as detective to ferret out the reasons for the project's failure; company executives and elected officials; a sociologist; and finally Aramis itself, who delivers a passionate plea: technological innovation has needs and desires, especially a desire to be born, but cannot live without the sustained commitment of those who have created it.
Immediately after the project ended, Bruno Latour was asked by the
RATP to investigate what went wrong. On the basis of a detailed
empirical study, he has written three books in one: a detective
novel, in which a sociology professor and a young engineer play the
parts of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson; a scholarly treatise
introducing the modern sociology of technology; and a reproduction
of original archival documents. As the book develops, we hear the
voice of technology itself, with Frankenstein''s "humachine" and
Aramis himself as spokespersons
Latour''s book does offer important
insights into the sociotechnical domain and engineering practices
that transcend the Aramis case. It also provides, mainly in the
form of methodological discussions, the groundwork for a theory of
technology and society. This important asset, of what I think is
Latour''s best book so far.