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Organising alignment: a case of bridge-building.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2000
JournalOrganization
Journal number2
Volume7
Number of pages17
Pages311-327
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The project of building a bridge is a canonical example of what John Law (1987) has termed `heterogeneous engineering', involving the arrangement of human and nonhuman elements into a stable artifact. This paper reports ethnographic research on the work of civil engineers engaged in designing a bridge scheduled for completion by the year 2004. My emphasis is on a view of bridge-building as persuasive performances that both rely upon and reflexively constitute the elements to be aligned. The work of designing a bridge, on this view, is as much a matter of story-telling as of analysis, calculation, and work with concrete and steel.