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Software Theory

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction / 2. From Technical Tools to Originary Technicity: The Concept of Technology in Western Philosophy / 3. Language, Writing and Code: Towards a Deconstructive Reading of Software / 4. Software as Material Inscription: The Beginnings of Software Engineering / 5. From the Cathedral to the Bazaar: Software as the Unexpected / 6. Writing the Printed Circuit: For a Genealogy of Code / 7. Conclusion: The Unforeseen Consequeneses of Technology / Bibliography / Index

About the Author

Federica Frabetti is senior lecturer in communication, media and culture at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has a diverse professional and academic background in the humanities and ICT and has published numerous articles on the cultural study of technology, digital media and software studies, cultural theory, and gender and queer theory.


This book represents a landmark in the field of techno-cultural studies. Frabetti's deconstructive reading of software and code reveals their key role within the scriptorium of contemporary culture. This is a highly original contribution to understanding the writing/machine relationship and will give pause for thought amongst all those who suppose that the technics of inscription can be studied independently of the question of language itself. -- Dave Boothroyd, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, Lincoln School of Film and Media, University of Lincoln, author of Ethical Subjects in Contemporary Culture Putting philosophers (Derrida, Stiegler) in dialogue with engineers (Fred Brooks, Eric S. Raymond), Software Theory offers computer scientists and cultural theorists new ways to read, write, and think software. To study software, Frabetti suggests, is to risk being ensnared in a strange loop: culture explains technology; technology explains culture. But Frabetti considers software as nothing more or less than an advanced form of writing, and thereby advances a much-needed politics of transparency, revealing the precarity of this bedrock of contemporary society. -- Scott Dexter, Professor of Computer and Information Science at Brooklyn College Software Theory is the definitive cultural analysis of software qua software, vividly troubling the critical tendency to regard it strictly in terms of functionality, design, or use. Frabetti writes out of a deep knowledge of both continental philosophy and software engineering that is nothing short of awe inspiring. An invaluable contribution to "Software Studies" that will at the same time shake up the central paradigms of the field. -- Rita Raley, University of California, Santa Barbara

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