An excellent book: Digital Rubbish: A natural history of electronics
Jennifer Gabrys
U. Michigan Press, 2011
publisher’s website
full text
A few bits to whet appetites for more:

Electronic waste, chemical contamination, failure, breakdown, obsolescence, and information overload are conditions that emerge as wayward effects of electronic materiality…
…The natural history method allows for an inquiry into electronics that does not focus on either technological progression or great inventors but, rather, considers the ways in which electronic technologies fail and decay… By focusing on the outmoded, it is further possible to resuscitate the political and imaginary registers that are so often forgotten in histories that rely on the persistent theme of progress….
…Superfund sites and museums of the electronics industry, shipping yards and electronics recycling facilities, computing archives, and electronics superstores and repair shops inform the content, texture, and structure of this study, which takes up natural history as much as a method as a theoretical point of inquiry…
…The chip, as unearthed from manufacturing residues and dredged up in discarded devices, is embedded in complex material and cultural arrangements. By untangling this fossil, I do not arrive at a more discrete description of this technology but, rather, scratch the surface of a device that—despite its apparent simplicity and ubiquity—is exceptionally dense and entangled…

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