by J.A. English-Lueck
Available from Stanford University Press
Winner of the American Anthropological Association's Diana Forsythe Prize.
Silicon Valley, the paramount producer of the
information revolution, has become the icon for a lifestyle saturated
with digital devices. Most books on the region focus on Silicon
Valley’s entrepreneurial reputation, but this book is the result of
an anthropological expedition into the everyday lives of people living
in, and connected to Silicon Valley. These people use technology
to create cultural realities and transform their cultural identities
into tools. A specialized high-tech economy has drawn people to the
region, and created an unparalleled concentration of “techies.”
Technology permeates everyday life and the very metaphors of community.
The economy has also drawn people from all over the world, creating
a complex cultural mix, ranging from Cambodian culinary entrepreneurs
to Midwestern process engineers. The region is not only a bellwether
of technological research and production, but a laboratory for the
creation of a complex society. Within schools, workplaces and
homes identities emerge, engage, erode, transform and are recreated
to coalesce into a larger community of communities. The two strands
of technological saturation and identity complexity intertwine to
produce many different choices. These choices play out in how
technology is used, work is done, community is made and family is
lived. People juggle these choices, often informed by the same
pragmatic instrumental reasoning that characterizes high-tech workplaces.
The 21st century lifestyle of Silicon Valley—saturated by information
technologies, struggling to manifest civic life from deeply diverse
identity communities—illustrates the social and cultural dilemmas
of the near future.
© 2002 by the Board of Trustees of the
Leland Stanford Junior University
Requests for review copies should be directed to
Stanford University Press Publicists, Mary Kate Maco or David Jackson.