Article ID: CBB229770135

Public Technology: Nuclear Energy in Europe (2018)


[Historiographic essay] The concept of ‘public science’ has been fruitfully used to indicate the intricate interrelatedness of science and society. In studies of knowledge and its publics, however, technology has been routinely subsumed under science and the distinctive nature of technical knowledge neglected. We are aiming in this article at conceptualizing the public nature of technologies. First, we start with surveying the literature on public science. Second, we scrutinize various conceptual approaches to better understand the social and cultural factors embedded in technologies. In so doing, we reflect upon the twentieth-century history of technologies as public things. Third, we focus on nuclear energy in Europe as an exemplary case of a large-scale technology which has been shaped as part of public culture. We suggest that the specificities of the nuclear as a publicly shaped societal entity can be understood as an example of the wider category we propose to call ‘public technologies’.

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Authors & Contributors
Meyer, Jan-Henrik
Kaijser, Arne
Markku Lehtonen
Rubio-Varas, Maria del Mar
Brown, Kate
Cardoso de Matos, Ana
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Technikgeschichte: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Technik und Industrie
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
Blätter für Technikgeschichte
University of West Virginia Press
Oxford University Press
Edições Colibri
University of Washington
MIT Press
Berghahn Books
Technology and society
Nuclear power; atomic energy
Exhibitions and fairs
Cross-national comparison
Public understanding of technology
Franco, Francisco
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
United States
Soviet Union
Great Britain
Chicago World's Fair

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