An Anthropologist Among the Programmers
Although there has been a fair amount of popular writing on contemporary programming culture, there are very few rigorous and sustained academic studies of programming practice. Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist at McGill University, researches and writes about hacker culture and communities, and her new book Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking is out and available for purchase. She was recently profiled in Wired.
I am a little biased, because Biella is a friend, but her work is absolutely fabulous. She also has done an excellent job communicating her scholarly work to the general public, and has been widely covered in the media.