[Air-L] Coding Places: Software Practice in a South American City (MIT Press, 2012)

Scott MacLeod helianth at gmail.com
Wed Oct 31 08:50:21 PDT 2012

Congratulations, Yuri, on publishing your book, and with the MIT Press!

I'll look into it even for a talk I'm giving at UC Berkeley this
Friday, entitled -
"Naked, Virtual Harbin: An Anthropology of Erotisme and the Touristic
Imaginaire." It's in the anthropology department at 5 pm and all are
welcome - http://tourismstudies.org/Colloquia_2012-2013.htm. The
building of a virtual world Harbin Hot Springs for ethnographic as
ethnographic field site to come ... coding for place.

Nice to have shared coffee at Cafe Strada at Berkeley two-ish years
ago with you and Luisa and talked about Creative Commons licensed, MIT
OCW-centric, World University and School in Russia, Brazil
(http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Nation_States), Russian and
Portugese (http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Languages).

All the best,

http://scottmacleod.com/HarbinHotSpringsEthnography (page under construction)

On Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 7:40 AM, Yuri Takhteyev <yuri at cs.stanford.edu> wrote:
> This new book, published this month by the MIT Press, may be of
> interest to the AoIR community as it looks ethnographically at the use
> of the internet in the context of modern high tech work in Brazil.
> Please see the announcement below. If anyone has any questions about
> the book, I would be happy to answer!
>   - yuri
> Coding Places: Software Practice in a South American City
> Yuri Takhteyev
> The MIT Press, 2012
> http://codingplaces.net/
> Software development would seem to be a quintessential example of
> today’s Internet-enabled “knowledge work”—a global profession not
> bound by the constraints of geography. In “Coding Places,” Yuri
> Takhteyev looks at the work of software developers who inhabit two
> contexts: a geographical area—in this case, greater Rio de
> Janeiro—and a “world of practice,” a global system of activities
> linked by shared meanings and joint practice. The work of the
> Brazilian developers, Takhteyev discovers, reveals a paradox of the
> world of software: it is both diffuse and sharply centralized. The
> world of software revolves around a handful of places—in particular,
> the San Francisco Bay area—that exercise substantial control over
> both the material and cultural elements of software
> production. Takhteyev shows how in this context Brazilian software
> developers work to find their place in the world of software and to
> bring its benefits to their city.
> Takhteyev’s study closely examines Lua, an open source programming
> language developed in Rio but used in such internationally popular
> products as World of Warcraft and Angry Birds. He shows that Lua had
> to be separated from its local origins on the periphery in order to
> achieve success abroad. The developers, Portuguese speakers, used
> English in much of their work on Lua. By bringing to light the work
> that peripheral practitioners must do to give software its seeming
> universality, Takhteyev offers a revealing perspective on the
> not-so-flat world of globalization.
> Endorsements:
> “By examining software development in the ‘wrong place’ of Rio de
> Janeiro, Yuri Takhteyev shows us with vivid accounts and clear
> narrative how individuals who work far from the geographic hubs of
> their field create local connections and shape local environments
> even as they embrace global culture and pursue global dreams for
> themselves and their locations. The concept of a ‘wrong place’
> proves an immediately beguiling and completely original approach for
> understanding work in the global setting; Takhteyev’s choice of Rio,
> in particular, is nothing short of brilliant.”
> - Diane Bailey, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin
> “Coding Places opens the black box of ‘globalization’ to show us the
> pieces involved in that process—people, technical objects,
> government agencies, universities, businesses—in intimate detail:
> how they work, what they need to survive, what they furnish to
> others, the network of their connections, conflicts, and
> accommodations. We see the whole machine in operation: how the many
> possible inputs generate a variety of outputs, technically and
> organizationally. And we learn a way of thinking that we can apply
> to the arts, science, or business, to any kind of activity with
> worldwide extension and ramifications. It does all this with a depth
> of vision and a clarity in telling the story seldom found in the
> social sciences.”
> - Howard S. Becker, author of “Outsiders” and “Art Worlds”
> “Software development is no longer limited geographically but is
> expanding to different regions of the world. Yuri Takhteyev has
> produced an insightful work that provides a critical account of
> software developers and their role in the global knowledge
> economy. This is a fascinating story of knowledge workers in a
> region that has the potential to become the next Silicon Valley.”
> - Alladi Venkatesh, Professor and Associate Director, Center for
> Research on Information Technology, University of California, Irvine
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