Chapter

Human and Machine

Stephen P. Rice

in Minding the Machine

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780520227811
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926578 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520227811.003.0006
Human and Machine

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This chapter examines how steam boiler explosions in America led to the making of the engineer. As a subject in the popular discourse on mechanization, steam boiler explosions offered another opportunity for members of the middle class to conceptualize the relation between mental and manual labor in terms that helped legitimate their social authority. For participants in the popular discourse on mechanization, the conception of the proper relation between human and machine extended by analogy to the proper relation between people who worked with their heads and those they employed, who worked with their hands.

Keywords: steam boiler explosions; engineers; America; popular discourse; mechanization; mental labor; manual labor; middle class; social authority

Chapter.  14023 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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