Phaedra Daipha

Jul 9, 2016

Masters of Uncertainty

Weather Forecasters and the Quest for Ground Truth

The University of Chicago Press 2015

purchase at bookshop.org Phaedra Daipha's thoughtful new book uses a careful sociological study of a particular community of weather forecasters to develop a sociology of decision making. Based on fieldwork conducted over five years at a local office of the National Weather Service, Masters of Uncertainty: Weather Forecasters and the Quest for Ground Truth (University of Chicago Press, 2015) develops a theory of decision making as a habitual, practical, social activity shaped by particular contexts of action. In addition to working closely with (and contributing substantively to) pragmatist philosophy and theoretical STS, Masters of Uncertainty also offers a thick and fascinating description of the practices and local environments of a community of artisan-practitioners charged with creating a kind of object--a weather forecast--that many of us consume regularly. After developing a sociological theory of decision making within the context of this case study, Daipha concludes the book by testing the theory in two other fields: finance and medicine. This is a compelling and clearly-written account that will be of interest to sociologists, STS scholars, and general readers alike!

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