This study of computing in an economically transforming city in the north of England looks at how new information technologies effect and are affected by a historically vibrant working-class culture. Stressing the complex interplay between technology and culture, especially notions about work and labor, the authors examine how this dynamic is manifest in computer-related jobs, in social relationships, and in the reproduction of local culture. They analyze the structure of computing in Sheffield, placing it in the contexts of national state policy, world political economy, and the regional labor market, and they explore the processes of computing in relation to the reproduction of gendering, the rise of "labor freedom," and local attempts to influence the course of computerization. The experiences of the people in Sheffield and South Yorkshire have much to teach us about what technology does and what we can do to control it. Computing Myths, Class Realities will be of interest not only to anthropologists and sociologists but to all scholars interested in the social correlates of computing.
Introduction -- Studying Computerization -- Why Study Computerization? -- Studying Computing Ethnographically in South Yorkshire -- The Methods Used to Study Computing in Sheffield -- Describing Computerization -- Computerization of Work -- Computing and Jobs -- Computerization and the Reproduction of Symbols -- Analyzing Computing Structurally -- Theorizing Computerization -- The National State and Computerization -- Sheffield Computerization and the World Political Economy -- Computerization and the Region -- Making Computerization -- Culture-Centered Computing and Local Policy -- Computing and Gender -- Class, Culture, Computing, and Politics