Catalogue


Engineering the Revolution [electronic resource] : arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763-1815 /
Ken Alder.
edition
University of Chicago Press paperback ed.
imprint
Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2010.
description
p. cm.
ISBN
0226012646 (alk. paper), 9780226012643 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
author
imprint
Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, 2010.
isbn
0226012646 (alk. paper)
9780226012643 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Originally published: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1997.
catalogue key
11572642
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Ken Alder is the Milton H. Wilson Professor of the Humanities and professor of history at Northwestern University. He is the author of The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error that Transformed the World and The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1997-10:
Using extensive primary and secondary sources, both cited in the text and heavily footnoted, Alder shows that despite their political success in France (1763-1815), enlightened engineers were unable to overcome the corporate opposition of artisans and merchants to the introduction of interchangeable parts in uniform production of cannons and guns. He emphasizes that debate over the design and fit of guns mirrored the debate over the structure of French society. Alder maintains that Marxist views are wrong as there was no industrial revolution, little socioeconomic structural change, and that one must not confuse revolutionary rhetoric with social reality. He cites the de Tocqueville view that the French Revolution made possible the ancien regime all over again through the continued control of the military industrial complex. Further, Tocqueville believed in the continuity of administrative organs over the revolutionary divide that Alder found in the technocratic engineering control of political organs before and after the revolution, the values of which were enshrined in the Ecole Polytechnique. In this sense, he maintains that the French Revolution was as much a revolution over technocratic values as over republican principles. The hierarchical technological values survived egalitarian revolution. Upper-division undergraduates and above. R. W. Mackey; emeritus, Ball State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
1997 Dexter Prize from the Society for the History of Technology
"Alder''s work is one of the first in the history of technology to offer a sophisticated historical treatment of skills. By arguing that skills are historically contingent, Alder''s contribution offers a valuable cultural study of the relationship between the rational knowledge of enlightened philosophers and engineers and the artisanal knowledge of skilled craftsmen."
"This is a fine work, grounded in research in French archives and a plethora of other sources. Alder has forcefully demonstrated the role of engineers in fostering social change in the eighteenth-century and revolutionary eras."Owen Connelly, American Historical Review
"This is a fine work, grounded in research in French archives and a plethora of other sources. Alder has forcefully demonstrated the role of engineers in fostering social change in the eighteenth-century and revolutionary eras."Owen Connelly,American Historical Review
"This is a fine work, grounded in research in French archives and a plethora of other sources. Alder has forcefully demonstrated the role of engineers in fostering social change in the eighteenth-centuury and revolutionary eras."
"This richly textured, heavily documented, and fluently written study centers on the attmept by French military engineers to apply engineering rationality--through the use of mass-produced interchangeable parts--to the reorganization of mass warfare. . . . Anyone interested in such topics as the social role of engineers, the politics of artifacts, and the military sources of social change will . . . benefit from a careful study of this remarkable book."
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This work documents the forging of a new relationship between technology and politics in Revolutionary France, and the inauguration of a distinctively modern form of the 'technological life'.
Main Description
By documenting how new gun technology was exploited by 18th century revolutionaries in France and also by Napoleon, Northwestern's Ken Alder clearly demonstrates how material artifacts have emerged as the negotiated outcome of political struggle. Photos. Illus.
Main Description
Engineering the Revolution documents the forging of a new relationship between technology and politics in Revolutionary France, and the inauguration of a distinctively modern form of the "technological life." Here, Ken Alder rewrites the history of the eighteenth century as the total history of one particular artifactthe gunby offering a novel and historical account of how material artifacts emerge as the outcome of political struggle. By expanding the "political" to include conflict over material objects, this volume rethinks the nature of engineering rationality, the origins of mass production, the rise of meritocracy, and our interpretation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
Main Description
Engineering the Revolutiondocuments the forging of a new relationship between technology and politics in Revolutionary France, and the inauguration of a distinctively modern form of the "technological life." Here, Ken Alder rewrites the history of the eighteenth century as the total history of one particular artifactthe gunby offering a novel and historical account of how material artifacts emerge as the outcome of political struggle. By expanding the "political" to include conflict over material objects, this volume rethinks the nature of engineering rationality, the origins of mass production, the rise of meritocracy, and our interpretation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
Main Description
Engineering the Revolution documents the forging of a new relationship between technology and politics in Revolutionary France, and the inauguration of a distinctively modern form of the "technological life." Ken Alder rewrites the history of the eighteenth century as the total history of one particular artifact-the gun-by offering a novel historical account of how material artifacts emerge as the outcome of political struggle. By expanding the "political" to include conflict over material objects, this volume rethinks the advent of engineering rationality, the origins of mass production, the rise of meritocracy, and our interpretation of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Book jacket.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introduction: A Revolution of Engineers?p. 3
Engineering Design: Capital into Coercion, 1763-1793
The Last Argument of the Kingp. 23
A Social Epistemology of Enlightenment Engineeringp. 56
Design and Deploymentp. 87
Engineering Production: Coercion into Capital, 1763-1793
The Tools of Practical Reasonp. 127
The Saint-Etienne Armory: Musket-Making and the End of the Ancien RĂ©gimep. 163
Inventing Interchangeability: Mechanical Ideals, Political Realitiesp. 221
Engineering Society: Technocracy and Revolution, 1794-1815
The Machine in the Revolutionp. 253
Terror, Technocracy, Thermidorp. 292
Technological Amnesia and the Entrepreneurial Orderp. 319
Conclusionp. 344
Abbreviationsp. 353
Notesp. 355
Bibliographyp. 421
Indexp. 457
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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