ERP systems and waves of STS beyond STS

The post about ERP systems, the much cited Pollock & Williams book, and the third wave of STS got me thinking. The ‘agora’ concept surely is interesting but I was wondering whether older concepts like the ‘assemblage’ address similar phenomena, albeit without the distinct (progressive?) political undertones. Without coming to any conclusion this made me check out the Pollock & Williams book for respective references as I was looking for links to studies about ERP and management information systems I remembered from the accounting literature.
I found, essentially, nothing. Accounting is mentioned, of course (how could a book about SAP fail to do so), but it is generally not addressed in any length. The research about information systems by accounting scholars appears to be ignored altogether. A good example of such research is, by the way, this.
This made me remember papers like the one by Peter Miller and Ted O’Leary about “The Factory as Laboratory” (Pp. 120-150 in M. Power (ed.), Accounting and Science: Natural Inquiry and Commercial Reason. Cambridge University Press 1996) – and I was asking myself: May there be a more general problem of scholars within STS failing to recognize contributions which have been published beyond their range of special journals, book series, and their community of authors? There have been waves of STS beyond STS, and social studies of infrastructure may provide an opportunity for drawing these studies together. Nicholas has already been referring to organization theory a couple of times. Building a nexus between STS and accounting scholarship may another way of making connections, particularly with respect to analyzing information systems and putting respective findings into a broder interdisciplinary perspective.
While I’m at it, another brand new paper addressing mangement information systems in higher education is here, and it is very congenial to the interest of this blog.

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About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

One thought on “ERP systems and waves of STS beyond STS

  1. Thanks for posting about this new ERP paper by Wagner and friends. I have read a bunch of her work. In fact, her entire dissertation used to be on her personal page when she was at Cornell’s hospitality school.

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