Technique, Technology and their
relationship with the Body
(A sociological theory on a very strange couple).
Guido Frison
Rome, May 2011
3th, 2011
. A workshop
. A workshop
held held
by Prof.
by Prof.
Rome 3Roma
3 University.
A sociological contribution to the concept
A sociological
body in philosophy.
contribution to the philosophical concept of
body .
[email protected]
(1739-1811 )
General Index
(In-1) The
content of the lecture is split in four units :
In=Introduction; U1= A sociological model of technology; U2= A sociological model
of technique; L= literature .
In= Introduction
U2- Mauss : a sociological model of
U1- Beckmann: a sociological model of
A conceptual Map of the Unit 2A
A map of the scientific discussion of the couple
The set of concepts used in the present lecture
2.0- Mauss’s concept of technologie remains
sociological foundation
A conceptual map of the Unit 1
1.1.1-The Emergence of Technological Knowledge in the West
1.1.2- The features of Technologie
2.1- “Les techniques du corps” (1935) & 2.3 “Les techniques et la
technologie” (1948)
1.1.5-The complex nature of Technologie
1.2- Beckmann’s model of technological knowledge
1.3-Marx’s Technologie
2.2- Manuel d’Ethnographie (1947 ) & 2.4 The foundation of the
Institut d’Ethnologie
1.4-Taylor’s changes of the labour process and his technological
2.5-Durkheim’s Paradigm & technologie
1.5-Pre-technological knowledge in the medieval scribal era
without a
2.6-Mauss is the heir of the American School of technology
1.6-Embedded knowledge of production in non-literate cultures
2.7-Lemonnier’s analysis of technology
Summary : Three types of knowledge concerning production
→L= Literature on specific subjects
The Strange Couple: Technology & Technique
i) Beckmann founded in 1777 a discipline called
Technologie , describing a sociological model
for technological knowledge (Beckmann’s
Beckmann : Technology without technique
ii) Mauss wrote in 1935 a seminal work ( Les
techniques du corps) which built the basis for
defining an entirely sociological concept of
Mauss :Technique without technology
IOANNES BECKMANN, Professor oeconomiae in academia
Georgia Augusta, natus Hoyae d. 4. Jun 1739.
Techniques du
corps (1935).
May 10th 1872 –
February 1th 1950
(In-2) Beckmann & Mauss
Johann Beckmann
Marcel Mauss
Beckmann was a Linnaeus’pupil,
Cameralist, historian of technology,
botanist and founder of many disciplines.
Mauss was an anthropologist, founder of the
modern French school of Anthropology of
techniques (technologie culturelle). He and his
famous uncle Durkheim were both descendants of
a large hebrew family.
Beckmann’s Anleitung zur Technologie
(1777) laid the foundations of a new
science called Technologie, taught at the
Göttingen University.
The Manuel d’Ethnologie (1947) witnesses Mauss‘
interest on techniques of non-literate cultures,
which begins very early at the beginning of the
Reviewer of the “Physikalischökonomische Bibliothek” “ 1770-1806 (23
Reviewer of the “L’ Année Sociologique” for which
he wrote endless papers and a great number of
review articles.
Starting from 1766 Beckmann taught at
the Göttingen University various subjects
and within them the discipline of
Starting from 1901 Mauss taught ethnological
subjects at the École Pratique des Hautes Études ,
and successively at the l'Institut d'Ethnologie de la
Sorbonne and Collège de France . The instructions
for anthropological field work were a typical subject
of his lectures.
Beckmann was a vir doctissimus ; he
spoke various modern languages, learned
Latin and Greek so well that he was able
« …il avait tout lu, il avait tout retenu, il avait tout
assimilé et repensé d'une façon magistrale » [1978.
Laroche Marie-Charlotte. L'enseignement de Maurice Leenhardt. In: Journal
de la Société des océanistes. N°58-59, Tome 34, pp. 45-48; p.45].
Technique and Technology are two faces of the same coin
The terms
technique and
technology :
i) refer to two
different social
ii) have different
iii) have different
historical origins
Obverse (left): Caesar's head (wreathed); CAESAR DICT(ATOR) PERPETVO
We will see in the following slides that the
dichotomy technique/technology is mirrored by
other pairs, such as:
body technique/ instrumental technique ,
sociological category /naturalistic category ,
social sciences/sciences of the nature
mechanical machine /algorithmic machine.
Beckmann : Technology without technique
Mauss :Technique without technology
The relationship between technique and technology
The determination of this relationship is much harder than
celebrating the wedding of Renzo and Lucia. Many factors hamper
the actual understanding of these two concepts or terms and hide
their complex relationship. These are :
i) Before Beckmann , the term Technologie had a complicated set
of meanings and acquired a new modern meaning with Beckmann.
ii) Technologie originated within the Cameralism
movement, a German school of thought, and
developed in a historical period where the
concept of social science did not still exist .
iii) Beckmann’s Technologie entered into a crisis
due the crisis of the Cameralism and the rising of
the Nationalökonomie.
Beckmann : Technology without technique
Mauss :Technique without technology
The relationship between technique and technology
(In-5 )
iv) The decline
of Cameralism
by the rise of
a sui generis
centered on a
concept of
Technik, with
its respective
philosophy .
v) The absence of the pair
technique/technology in
the lexicon of the classical
and neoclassical school of
economics ( three
vi) The big number
of definitions of
the term
technology (at
minimum 41)
enounced after the
1777 Anleitung zur
Technologie (see
especially Beaune
vii) At the beginning of the 20th century
American Ethnology, which had originally
devoted great effort to describe the
techniques of non-literate people,
entered into a crisis and its evolutive –
diffusionist paradigm was substituted by
another paradigm centered on culture,
but not on techniques ( material culture).
See Silverman “The Boasian and the invention of Cultural Anthropology” in
Barth et ai 2005, pp 257-274.; Stocking 1974, 1996.
The relationship between technique
and technology
The modern technologist is like David Hilbert, the great
mathematician, when he considered the Euclidian geometry on
his Grundlagen der Geometrie.
Hilbert began his discussion by considering three systems of
things which he calls points, straight lines, and planes, and
sets up a system of axioms connecting these elements in their
mutual relations.
Similarly , the technologist considers, in an abstract way, any
set of body techniques , and tries to connect them in new
The anthropologist of the techniques and the
technologist are modern social actors who
look at the same phenomenon with a
scientific approach, respectively of
sociological and naturalistic type, but with
different aims.
A conceptual map of the Unit 1.
Technological, pre-technological & embedded knowledge.
Model of
Hoya an der Weser
1.1.1-The Emergence of Technological Knowledge in the
West . (U1-1)
Beckmann was a
Linnaeus’s pupil
( see for example the
two following works::
i) Linnei sistema
naturae in epitomen
redactum 1772.
ii) Lexicon Botanicum
The Linnaean
research program
(Natural History)
By using Police
ordinances, the
cameralist fulfilled
his functions on the
basis of a political
obligation. The
cameralist sought to
promote the
exploitation of
natural wealth and
the development of
productive arts, by
modifying the external
conditions of the
production process.
Beckmann was a
follower of
Johann Heinrich
Gottlob von Justi,
one of the leading
German cameralist s
of the 18th century.
Vollständige Abhandlung von
denen Manufakturen und Fabriken,
2 Bände, I (1758), II (1761)
Beckmann represents our starting point, because from his time on, the term
Technologie indicated both a specific sociological institution and an academic
autonomous discipline founded by Beckmann himself.
The features of Technologie
1.1.2-Technological knowledge is naturalistic
Introduction to
technology, or
to the
knowledge of
crafts, factories
above all those
which are in
connection with
Police and
In addition to
contributions [
are given] to
the history of
"Technology is the science which
teaches how to treat (Verarbeitung)
natural objects (Naturalien) or the
knowledge of crafts (Gewerbe). Instead
in the workshops, it is only shown [that]
one must follow the instructions and
the habits of the master in order to
produce the commodity, [on the
contrary] technology provides in
systematic order fundamental
introduction[s] in finding the means to
reach this final goal on the basis of true
principles and reliable experiences, and
how to explain and to utilize the
phenomena which take place during
the treatment" (J. Beckmann, Anleitung
zur Technologie, 2nd Ed. 1780:17).’s approach to production
Beckmann ‘ s idea
of production
mirrors the
cameralistic idea of
economics, which
begins from the
natural state of
materials and ends
with the trade of
the finished goods.
Beckmann’s point
of view is twofold,
because from one
side it is
naturalistic, and
from the other it
subsumes those of
the single
(manufacturer ,
artisan or farmer)
his Beyträge zur
Polizei- und
Cameralwissenschaft (1777-1791 )
and his third
edition of Justi’s
Abhandlung von den Manufacturen
und Fabriken mit
und Anmerkungen
von Johann
Beckmann, (1789)
Beckmann devoted to each
of these steps an essay or a
i) the process begins from
raw materials of the
agriculture and natural
resources handled in his
Grundsätze der teutschen
Landwirtschaft , 1769, then
(U1-3) Beckmann’s approach to production
ii) It passes across the
circle of production ( see
the Anleitung zur
Technologie , 1777) and
its correspondent
innovation process
(discussed in the Entwurf
einer allgemeinen
Technologie ,1806).
iii) After that, it becomes a
final good, which is
studied by a specific
science (Vorbereitung zur
Waarenkunde, 1795-1800
[waarenkunde= Science of
iv) Finally, the good is
traded (see the
Anleitung zur
Handelswissenschaft ,1789).
The features of Technologie social actor interested on Technologie (U1-5)
"It [Technologie] must not train any weaver, any beer-maker,
nor in general any craftsman (Handwerker) because to
practice their art they need great ability and dexterity which
[both] have to be acquired separately through boring
exercise, but are useless abilities for those to whom I am
referring" (Beckmann, Anleitung zur Technologie , 1780 ,
Vorrede of the 1st Ed).
Technologie is a
discipline, that
interests only the
subject who
exerts legitimate
Herrschaft and
gives directions
to the workers.
◄ social actor interested on Technologie (U1-6)
In the eighteenth century, Police Science
(Polizeiwissenschaft) was the Science of
Government ,or the “science of
happiness” as some scholars call it, that is
a very broad concept that encompassed
nearly all tasks of government.
Technologie is a discipline,
that interests only the
subject who exerts
legitimate Herrschaft and
gives directions to the
“The knowledge of crafts,
factories and manufactures is
indispensabie to anyone who
wants to dedicate himself to the
Police and Cameral sciences.”
Beckmann, Anleitung zur
Technologie , (1780 , Vorrede of
the 1st edition).
1.1.5.- Summary: the complex nature of Technologie & a modest
conclusion ((U1-7)
i) Technological knowledge is an etic knowledge; this
is a sociological fact.
ii) The field to which Technologie is applied
(production process) is again a social fact.
iii) The form of power relationship which
characterizes the Cameralist and the German
absolutist Wohlfahrtstaat is a legitime Herrschaft
iv) However , Technologie ‘s method is of naturalistic
A modest conclusion: the field of
Technologie is located at the interface
of sociological and naturalistic facts.
1.2-An ideal type (→): Beckmann’s Model consists of four parameters
1-The object of
1- The sociological object of Technologie is
something that can be defined as
industrial labour.
2- The social actor
interested in technological
2- The social actor interested in
technological knowledge is the one who
exerts a legitimate domination ((→)): over
the production process
3-The ideology of the social
actor interested in
technological knowledge.
3- The ideology of the social actor who
exerts a legitime Herrschaft over the
production process promotes changes of the
4- The epistemological
nature of technological
4-Technologie is a science or rather a
naturalistic view point which examines what
intervenes between the worker and his
means of labour.
The ideal type had already been published (Frison, G. “Second and third Part: “Beckmann and Marx. Technologie and Classical
Political Economy”, History and Technology, 1993b, 3:161), and generalized to take account of some authors who handled one or
both terms of the pair technique/technology (Marx, Mauss, Weber, Taylor, Schumpeter). The ideal type is appropriately modified
for the needs of the present article.
1.3.1-Marx ‘s Technologie
Marx is the only classical economist who was aware of the German concept of
Technologie and is the one author who uses it in an economic frame. Neither
A. Smith, nor Ricardo, nor J.S. Mill used this concept.
Technology is defined in terms of the social process of
modern industry: the principle " to resolve each process of
production as considered in itself into its constituent
elements and without any regard to their possible execution
by the hand of man, created the new science of technology"
(personal translation, Marx 1974-83, I:456, see also I:434).
In his Economic Manuscript of 1861-63 (Marx 1976-82) Marx gives a different
and complementary concept of technology : "just as the investigation of the
use values of commodities as such [belongs] to the science of commodities, so
the investigation of the labour process in reality [belongs] to technology
(Marx, 1976-82, 3.1 :49 =Marx, 1985, Collected Works, vol. 30 :55; personal
1.3.2-Marx‘s Technologie
moves the
concept of
from the
field of
typical of
work, to
that of
The social actor interested
in technological
knowledge is the capitalist
who has an "undisputed
authority over labourers
within the labour-process“
(Marx 1974-83, I:336).
The capitalist is
represented essentially as
an innovator who
continuously tries to yield
surplus-value from the
production process.
The capitalist’s goal
is to change the
patterns of use of
and/or modify the
means of labour in
order to obtain a
surplus-value. The
valorisation process
is achieved by
means of the labour
N.B.: Production process = labour process + valorisation process.
Are the labour
process’ social
really split from
other social
facts in any kind
of society?
1.4.1-The changes of the labour process brought
by Taylor and the role of technology (U1-11)
Although Taylor never used the concept of technology,
Taylor’s Scientific Management (SM) marked both the
rebirth and the increase of the functions ascribed to
technology. Taylor combined
i) technological analysis of cutting metal machinery, and
studies on belting, steam hammers and other tool
machines with
ii) organization and time prescriptions (technical
The most striking innovation of Taylor’s approach consists
in the new procedures that workers were expected to
comply with. Although radically transformed, these
procedures still remain social facts in Mauss’s sense.
Braverman, H. Labor and Monopoly Capital , Monthly Review Press: New York- London, 1974.
The result of the
changes Taylor
made is that the
process is
replicated in
paper form
before and after
it takes place in
physical form
(Braverman, 1974
:125).T his
appears to be the
real cause of
1.4.2-The changes of the labour process brought by
Taylor and the role of technology (U1-12)
For Taylor, the manager
was expected to be
acquainted with
naturalistic productive
phenomena, as well as
with different methods,
which replicate the
production through
accounting and the
organization’s structure
controls: in such a way
he could prescribe the
norms that regulated
production and, in
particular, the use of
means of labour.
Such knowledge
was preliminarily
entrusted to the
manager, more
exactly to his
office, as a
knowledge, and
For a pre-technological
knowledge click on
1. 6- Embedded knowledge concerning production in nonliterate cultures (U1-13)
Technological and pretechnological knowledge do
not fit with non-literate
knowledge of production .
Some authors highlighted
how the chaînes opératoires
of some cultures were linked
to kinship relationships, or to
myths and religious acts (A.
Radcliffe-Brown, E. Will and L.
Dumont ).
It t may be legitimate to
suppose that knowledge of
techniques is imbedded in
other sociological systems.
Pierre Lemonnier 2004
“ est illusoire de distinguer a priori les techniques des autres
productions socioculturelles. Cinquante années de technologie
culturelle ont amplement démontré que, du fait de l’inscription
des représentations et des actions techniques dans toutes
sortes de systèmes de pensée et de pratiques, .. » (2004, Pierre
Lemonnier “Mythiques chaînes opératoires” Techniques &
Culture , 43-44;
The knowledge
of production
procedures is
transmitted via
oral directions
and by contact .
model permits to
distinguish three
main classes :
The description of the production
process takes the form of
prescriptive recipes: it is of prescientific type and is transmitted
via manuscripts.
See for example the knowledge of
pigments and dyes in the Middle
Summarythree types
knowledge concerning production is
inscribed in various kinds of social acts.
This is typical of cultures without literacy.
a) TECHNOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE : the description of the
production process is made with scientific procedures, and is
transmitted via printed matter See for example Beckmann,
Marx , and Taylor
A conceptual Map of the Unit 2.
The three main works by Mauss on
technique & technologie
2.0- Mauss’ technologie has no
sociological basis
2.1- “Les techniques du corps” (1935).
(This seminal work founds a sociological concept of technique)
Separation criterion of technique from magic and ritual
2.2 – Manuel d’ethnographie (1947).
It collects the lectures by Mauss given in a long period of
time beginning from 1926
2.3 “Les techniques et la technologie”
The determinants of the
concept of technique
2.4 – The foundation of the
Institut d’Ethnologie
2.5- Durkheim’s paradigm and
the role of the concepts of
morphologie sociale/
physiologie sociale.
2.6– Mauss may be considered
the heir of the American school
of technology
2.7- The analysis of techniques by Lemonnier
2.0 Mauss.
Technique without technologie
Preliminary remark: Mauss
defined a concept of
technique of sociological
type. Moreover he tried
to separate the technical
act from the magic and
ritual ones.
« La technologie ….prétend
à juste titre étudier toutes
les techniques, toute la vie
technique des hommes
depuis l’origine de
l’humanité jusqu’à nos
jours. »
M. Mauss » Les techniques
et la technologie », 1948
Mauss ‘interest on
technologie dates back to
the year 1900. In fact a
section, devoted to
technology, in the fourth However, some criticisms can be made to Mauss’ concept of
volume of the Année
technologie, because in our opinion technologie is much
Sociologique, was
more than a logos concerning techniques .
established. This occurred i)
According to Mauss, the discipline of technologie does
long before he defined the not need a sociological foundation because he thought that it
concept of technique in
was a logos concerning the description of techniques.
1935 ( Les techniques du This is likely due to the fact that Mauss found soon early at the
corps) or that of
beginning of his work a ready made ethnological tradition
technologie (in 1948 , Les
devoted to the description of techniques, which, although
techniques et la
labeled under different names, he called technologie .
2.0- Mauss:
ii) Technologie is what
today is called an etic
( → ) concept . It seems
unlikely that Mauss
asked himself this
question: why is
technology always an
etic concept, while
technique may be a
emic or an unaware
André LeroiGourhan (1911
– 1986) , a
iii) Mauss was
not aware
that German
about 150
iv) Leroi-Gourhan
made the
Maussian concept
of technique an
operative concept
(see chaînes
opératoire,( →)
2.1 & 2.3 -Les techniques du corps (1935) and “Les techniques et la
technologie” (1948) (U2-3)
With this paper Mauss introduced the new concept of body technique and at the same time laid
the foundation of a concept of technique , which is original in comparison to the German
discussion on Technik. Like all groundbreaking work,
the 1935 paper creates
many more problems than it solves.
« Les techniques du
corps » is a widely read
and discussed work
(Farnell 1999, Crossley
2007 ), because it
pointed towards a field
of investigation
previously overlooked, at
least by ethnologists.
A journal with the
meaningful title of Body
&Society has been
recently founded (1995).
Gesture is not only the
movement of the body, just as
language is much more than the
movement of air through the
As a starting point,
Mauss argues that the
error of the past has
been to think that there
is a technique only when
there is an instrument.
Bodily techniques are
effectively like
techniques ,but do not
use any instrument.
Bodily techniques are a
subset of techniques,
which may be handled
as social facts, that is as
social institutions .
2.1-Definition of bodily techniques (U2-4)
According to Mauss,
there is no natural
way in which men use
their bodies.
Beginning with a
number of concrete
examples , Mauss tried
to demonstrate
cultural and historical
influences on bodily
activities (digging,
swimming, walking,
marching) and
introduced the concept
of habitus.
“J’appelle technique un
acte traditionnel
efficace (et vous voyez
qu’en ceci il n‘est pas
diffèrent de l’acte
magique, religieux,
symbolique) . Il faut
qu’il soit traditionnel
et efficace. Il n’y a pas
de technique et pas de
transmission, s’il n’y a
pas de traditions. »
Mauss (1935 ).
Mauss, M., “Les techniques du corps”, Journal de Psychologie Normale et Pathologique, 1935, 32, pp 271-293.
To download an electronic version of the 1935 paper see the following Url:
2.1-The concept of habitus
“Le corps est le premier
et le plus naturel
instrument de l'homme.
Ou plus exactement,
sans parler d'instrument,
le premier et le plus
naturel objet technique,
et en même
temps moyen technique,
de l'homme, c'est son
Les techniques du corps
sont bien « les façons
dont les hommes, société
par société, d'une façon
traditionnelle, savent se
servir de leur corps »
(Mauss 1935).
« J'ai donc eu pendant de nombreuses
années cette notion de la nature sociale
de l' « habitus ». Je vous prie de
remarquer que je dis en bon latin,
compris en France, «habitus». Le
mot traduit, infiniment mieux qu'
«habitude », l' « exis », l' « acquis » et
la « faculté » d'Aristote (qui était un
psychologue). Il ne désigne pas ces
habitudes métaphysiques, cette
« mémoire» mystérieuse, sujets de
volumes ou de courtes et fameuses
thèses. Ces «habitudes» varient non pas
simplement avec les individus et leurs
imitations, elles varient surtout avec les
sociétés, les éducations, les
convenances et les modes, les
prestiges. Il faut y voir des techniques
et l'ouvrage de la raison pratique
collective et individuelle, là où on ne
voit d'ordinaire que l'âme et ses facultés
de répétition. « (Mauss 1935)
2.3-The 1948 definition of technique (U2-6)
The 1948 paper was
Mauss’ last work. This
paper is not much
original with reference
to his former works.
However, the concept
of technique is defined
in a way , which fits well
with his former
concept of bodily
techniques (Mauss
«on appelle technique,
un groupe de
d’actes, généralement
et en majorité manuels,
organisés et
concourant à obtenir un
but connu comme
physique ou chimique
ou organique”. Mauss
The idea that techniques were instrumental by definition was a well known idea.
Mauss firstly conceived bodily techniques as a a sub-set of instrumental
techniques ( the instrument is the body itself).
Secondly, Mauss assigned to the concept of technique the same sociological
features typical of bodily techniques
2.1.1-Five criticisms to the 1935 paper
The 1935 paper is not a standard Maussian work and has been severely criticised
1)-This paper is the transcription of an
oral speech given in 1934
« Le texte publié par Marcel Mauss est, on le
sait, la retranscription écrite d’une
conférence donnée à la Société Française de
Psychologie . Il porte la marque explicite de
l’oralité…. Marcel Mauss choisit d’ouvrir sa
conférence en revendiquant l’originalité
personnelle de son discours, tenu à la
première personne , son caractère
ésotérique et, en proposant un long «récit de
découverte» scientifique , débouchant sur
l’anecdote de la « révélation » des
techniques du corps,,,, » Leveratto 2006. )
Mauss’ biography by Fournier underlines
that the transition from oral to written
expression was becoming more and more
difficult for Mauss in the 1930s ( 1994,
2)The separation of
technique by other
effective traditional
acts is difficult or
impossible from an
emic point of view (
→ ).
1999, B. Farnell “Moving Bodies , Acting selves” Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 28, pp: 341.-73.
2006, Jean-Marc Leveratto »Lire Mauss. L’authentification des « techniques du corps » et ses enjeux épistémologiques” Le Portique, 17 ,
2007, Nick Crossley “Researching embodiment by way of ‘body techniques’ The Sociological Review, pp 80-94.
2.1.2-Five criticisms to the Mauss 1935 paper
are wrongly
i) a source is
in a nonorthodox
ii) the word
«onioni» ( a
Maoris way
of female
walking) is
4- The concept of body
technique is not well
épistémologique de la
notion de techniques du
corps – qui peut désigner
selon les cas des actions
physiques dirigées et
contrôlées consciemment,
des automatismes corporels,
des moyens de
communication non-verbale,
etc…..C’est en ce sens que
Marcel Mauss ne propose
pas qu’une description
scientifique de la notion de
technique du corps mais fait
ressentir à ses auditeurs et à
ses lecteurs sa réalité
sensible et sa valeur
affective.» Leveratto 2006
5- The concept of body
technique does not
“[The paper] forced to
bear the weight of being
the most complete
expression of his interest
in techniques, the piece
just does not stand up.
It turns out to be
conceptually confused,
unrealizable as a project,
and not even
sociological in any
systematic sense – a
dead end, in other
which has deservedly led
to no further work in this
line.” (Hart 2008).
2008, Keith Hart
Review Mauss,
Marcel (ed.
technology and
« Journal of
the Royal
Institute , 14,
2.1-Summary : body techniques & the concept of technique
1-« -la juste compréhension ethnologique de la notion [ de techniques du corps]] suppose
une modification radicale du concept de technique « à la fois en extension et en
compréhension » (Leveratto 2006, Sèris 1994)
2-The historical separation of techniques & body techniques from ritual and magic is still
waiting for a sociological theory.
3-According to
Mauss, the
phenomenon of
technique is
basically a social
fact and in this
sense it does not
involve any
relationships with
the idea of
4-Les techniques du corps sont donc
arbitraires ; autrement dit, elles sont
«particulières à chaque société, au point
d'en être signe» (Schlanger 1991)
1991 Nathan Schlanger, « Le fait technique total La raison pratique et les raisons de la pratique dans l'œuvre de Marcel Mauss » Terrain, 16 .
1994 Jean-Pierre Séris, La Technique, Paris, PUF, 1994, .
2.2-Manuel d’Ethnographie (1947) (U-10)
Mauss lectured
“ethnographic field
directions” since the
beginning of his
lectures at the École
Pratiques des
Hautes Études in
the year 1903-04 (
Œuvres III, 354) ,
and successively in a
more systematic
way at the Institut
d’Ethnologie from
1926 to 1939, soon
after its
foundation (1925)*
The Manuel
published in 1947,
was made from notes
taken during Mauss’
lectures by Denise
Paulme. The different
notes taken by his
students do not
converge on the
effective content.
However, the Manuel
likely presents a
picture of the nature
of Mauss’ course, and
gives indication of its
scope. Its recent
translation into
English has been
criticised (Atkinson
The recipients of
his lectures were
scholars who
successively field
but also
administrators or
colonists, who
training (for an
account of the
previous French
and British
directions until
1920 see Urry
2008 ,Paul Atkinson, Manual of
Ethnography – Edited by Marcel
Mauss, The Sociological Review
Volume 56, Issue 4, pages 699–
2004, Emmanuelle Sibeud ”
Marcel Mauss :« Projet de
présentation d’un bureau
d’ethnologie » (1913) » Revue
d'Histoire des Sciences
Humaines, 10, pp. 105-115.
1972, James Urry “Notes and
Queries on Anthropology" and
the Development of Field
Methods in British
Anthropology, 1870-1920 “,
Proceedings of the Royal
Anthropological Institute of
Great Britain and Ireland, pp.
*A former
Maussian project
(dated 1913) for
the establishment
of a Bureau of
Ethnology failed (
Sibaud 2004).
2.4-The foundation of the Institut
d’Ethnologie (1925) (U2-11)
The aims of the lectures referred to « les méthodes de la recherche
et de la description ethnographiques - les institutions des indigènes,
en particulier, leurs langues, leurs religions, leurs coutumes, leurs
techniques - leur histoire et leur archéologie - leurs caractères
anthropologiques » (Marcel ,2004).
Paris, Musée d’ Ethnologie au Trocadéro
Mauss conceived ethnography as a descriptive science, and his
course dealt both with what to observe and how to observe it. Mauss
required the observer to be objective, and strangely, to fulfill an
impossible duty, that is to record everything.
The normative side of the directions is accompanied by a lack of any
explicit anthropological theory in the Manuel d’ Ethnologie.
2004, Jean-Christophe Marcel,
“Mauss au travail autour de
1925” L'Année sociologique,
54, 1, pp. 37-61.
Section four of the Manuel is devoted to technology is important since it represents about
one fifth of the entire book.
At the beginning of section four, Mauss acknowledged that it is difficult to separate technical
from aesthetical facts and technical facts from magic (for an introduction to this subject see → )
Mauss ‘ ideas of machine and of history of technology may be argued s
see →
2.5 –Durkheim’s Paradigm & technologie (U2-12)
Why was Mauss interested in techniques ? Three different determinants are observable: i)
Mauss’ lectures on anthropology ; ii) Durkheim’s paradigm; iii) The American school of
technology ( Powell & Mason)
Durkheim’s “Morphologie et physiologie Sociale” is the conceptual basis on which the
concept of technique lies.
Social morphology ( Andrews 1993) and social physiology are two concepts introduced by
Durkheim after a long re-working (Durkheim 1900); these were accepted by Mauss , still
starting from his 1901 paper (Fauconnet & Mauss).
The category social morphology has to do with social structure -the composition of the
group, its internal organization, and its distribution in space- (today it could be called
social ecology or social demography). Social physiology refers to the social facts that
happen in the group: this comprises institutions and collective representations.
By institution, Mauss and Fauconnet mean “a group of acts or ideas already instituted which
individuals find before them”. Techniques may be defined as social institutions, and are
located within the realm of social physiology.
The plan of the lectures at the Institut d ‘Ethnologie mirrored the content of his 1927 paper
“Divisions et proportions des divisions de la sociologie” ( Fournier 1994, pp. 597- 608),
which refers to the categories of social physiology and morphology .
1901,Paul Fauconnet , Marcel Mauss, «Sociologie», in La Grande Encyclopédie, Paris, Société anonyme de la grande
encyclopédie, 1901, t. 30, pp. 165-176. , [OEuvres, III, pp. 139-177.]
1900a Durkheim Emile « La sociologie et son domaine scientifique » version Française d’ un article publié en italien in Rivista
italiana di sociologia , reproduit in Durkheim Textes Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1975, pp. 13-36.
2.6-Mauss is the heir of the American School of technology (U3-13)
Mauss can be considered the heir of the German and American
«technology», but he became aware that these technological
traditions had been weakened.
«...[Mason & Powell] avaient proclamé que la technologie était
une partie spéciale et très éminente de la sociologie. Ils l'avaient
fait indépendamment des savants allemands, Bastian et ses élèves.
Cette tradition s'était malheureusement affaiblie en Allemagne
comme en Angleterre. » Mauss 1927, Œuvres III,195, 196
Mauss highly appreciated John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) ,
as the “fondateur d'une technologie ethnographique “(1927 ,ibid.) and
considered his work similar to Morgan, being Powell and Morgan
« esprits profonds et originaux et, comment dirais-je, trop américains,
ne peuvent être suivis qu'avec d'infinies précautions » (La Nation,
1920)*. This is likely due to the Powell’s foundation of the American
Bureau of Ethnology.
*Much later, Lowie disagreed and sustained that concerning social organization, Powell in no way advanced beyond Lewis
H. Morgan. (1956) 1956, Robert Lowie,” Reminiscences of Anthropological Currents in America Half a Century Ago”
American Anthropologist , 58, pp. 995-1016.)
1873, J. W. Powel l with a Paiute
« chief » Bureau of American
Ethnology Collection
Section four of the Manuel d’Ethnologie mentions many scholars who published their works in the
American Anthropologist or the Reports of the U. S. Bureau of Ethnology , that is: Otis Mason
(basketry, traps, travel & transportation, but also on the influence of environment upon arts); Frank
Hamilton Cushing (Pueblo pottery); Clark Wissler (horse in the development of Plains Culture );
Franz Boas (Eskimo, Kwakiutl and Jesup North Pacific Expedition)
2.7-Lemonnier’s analysis of technology (U2-14)
There is no room in the present lecture to discuss the path of the French anthropology
school of technology from Mauss to Lemonnier and the present debate via Leroi-Gourhan
(see Coupaye 2009). Here it is sufficient to observe that Lemonnier develops the concept
chaîne opératoire , and makes operative the concept of technique by means of five
2009, Ludovic Coupaye & Laurence
i) matter -the material on which the technique acts;
ii) energy- the forces which move objects and transform matter *;
iii) objects - artifacts, tools…;
iv) gestures - they move the objects involved in a given technique;
v) specific knowledge- it may be conscious or unconscious..
Douny « Un état des lieux de
l’anthropologie des techniques en
France et en Grande-Bretagne »
Techniques & Culture 52-53 2009 : pp
1992, Pierre Lemonnier, Elements for
an Anthropology of technology, Ann
Arbour, University of Michigan 1992.
It is apparent that Lemonnier’s technology, being a meta-language which refers to techniques,
involves sociological and physical parameters, showing once more that technology is an etic
discipline which is located at the borders of natural and social sciences.
Lemonnier’s frame handles a given technology and permits to focus three different levels:
a) The relationships within the five parameters , when one is changed;
b) The level of the relationships between different technologies;
c) The relationships between a given technology and other social facts.
*N.B.: Energy in physics Is the capacity of given body to do work., therefore force and energy are not synonymous.
We are convinced that technology and technique are
not linguistic variants of the same concept, but the
first term refer to a logos which uses naturalistic and
sociological categories and the second to an object
firstly sociologically described by Marcel Mauss .
Some advancements on the understanding of the
couple technique/technology are due to :
i) the efforts of the British Centre for Durkheimian
Studies , which published some of the works by
Mauss into English ;
the presence of a strong and compact French
anthropology, that always considered itself the heir
of Marcel Mauss’ approach to techniques .
By some recent papers ( see Schatzberg 2006 and
Mitcham & Schatzberg 2009)
The End
Thank you for your attention
The set of terms and concepts used
in the present lecture
For some of the following terms short definitions are given.
FIRST ISSUE : Johann Beckmann:
Technologie without technique
SECOND ISSUE Marcel Mauss :
technique without technologie
The Meanings of the term Technologie before
Beckmann & Beckmann’s meaning
Emic & Etic
The various Meanings of the term Technik
Chaîne Opératoire
Three linked concepts : Cameralism & Polizei &
Ideal type
Two Marxian concepts: labour process &
production process
legitime Herrschaft
Historiography of technology
Definition of Religion according to
Economics and “technology” in the Classical and
Neoclassical schools of economics
German Nationalökonomie & Old historical school &
Young historical school of economics
Social institution
Kinematic concept of machine
(L-2) The
Crisis of Cameralism ( first half of 19° century): some
Beckmann’s Technologie was a cameralist subject and
entered into a crisis at the beginning of 19th- century
with the crisis of Cameralism.
Polizei was in the later seventeenth- and eighteenthcentury German-speaking states a principle of social,
normative and performative order, but not primarily
coercive. On the meaning and legacy of Cameralism (see
Tribe 1988 , Lindenfeld 1997, Wakefield 2009). According
to Backhaus & Wagner (1987, 2005) Cameralism cannot
be treated as an example of German Mercantilism.
The crisis of Cameralism was due to :
i) the Napoleonic wars;
ii) the rise of new academic subjects
called the sciences of the state (see
Lindenfeld 1997, sections II and III) ;
iii) the reception of the Wealth of Nations
and the constitution of the
Nationalökonomie *.
*2008 Richard Bowler, “Mediating Creative Nature and
Human Needs in Early German Political Economy”
History of Political Economy 40:4, pp 633- 669.
Change in the ideology
iv) The ideology of the
Cameralism , which refers to the
well-ordered police state, was
substituted by an another
ideology leaning towards a
conception of government by law
and by a Kantian ideal of the
person free from the paternalistic
protection of the state.
Wilhelm Georg Friedrich Roscher (1817 1894) is considered to be the founder of the
old historical school of political economy ,
which established the Nationalökonomie as
one the substitutes of Cameralism in the mid
19th century. Roscher attempted to
supplement classical economics with
historical material, to search for permanent
laws of economic development ( see Tribe
1988, chapters 7-9) .
(L-3) -The
meanings of Technologie from the beginning of the 17th century until
Beckmann‘s Anleitung zur Technologie (1777)
Source, 1978, Martin Füssel
Die Begriffe Technik,
Technologie, technische
Wissenschaften und
Polytechnik , Barbara
Franzbecker, Bad
after 1968. Seibicke, W. Technik,
Versuch einer Geschichte der
Wortfamilie um τέχνη in
Deutschland vom 16. Jahrhundert
bis etwa 1830, VDI :Düsseldorf.
(L-4) The Young Historical School : Engineers, economic sociology and
From Technologie → to Technik ( late 19th century)
The late 19th century German sociology has lost the term Technologie but instead uses Technik, with a larger
semantic field. The word Technik came to have so many meanings that it can no longer be precisely defined
in a way that conforms its usage. Technik entered German social science (Simmel 1900, Sombart 1901, 19021908, 1911, Schmoller 1904 ) through the discourse of late 19° century German engineers ( see for example
, Reuleaux 1884 and von Engelmeyer 1899 ). In Sombart’s Der moderne Kapitalismus, the concept of
Technik plays a fundamental role . For the transition Technologie to Technik see Frison 1998 and Mitcham
& Schatzberg 2009.
1884, Franz Reuleaux , "Kultur und Technik" Wochenschrift d. Niederösterr. Gewerbe-Vereins reprinted
in n1925 Carl Weihe, Franz Reuleaux, und seine Kinematik , J. Springer, Berlin.
1899, P.eter K. von Engelmeyer “Allgemeine Fragen der Technik” Dinglers Polytechnisches Journal, , vols
311, 312, 313.
1900, Georg Simmel ˝Die Herrschaft der Technik „ in Philosophie des Geldes, Duncker & Humblot ,
Leipzig, pp. 520-535.
1900-1094 , Gustav Schmoller , Grundriß der allgemeinen Volkswirtschaftslehre, 2 Teilen, MünchenLeipzig, Dunckler & Humblot, erster Teil 1900, zweiter Teil 1904.
1902-1908, Werner Sombart, Der moderne Kapitalismus. Historisch-systematische Darstellung des
gesamteuropäischen Wirtschaftslebens von seinen Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Final edn. 1928,
1901, Werner Sombart,“ Technik und Wirtschaft „ Jahrbuch der Gehe-Stiftung zu Dresden, VII, pp 51-74 .
1911, Werner Sombart, „Technik und Kultur“ Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft, 33, pp. 305-347.
1998, Guido Frison “Some German and Austrian Ideas on Technologie and Technik between the end of
the Eighteenth Century and the Beginning of the Twentieth”, History of Economic Ideas , VI, 1, pp 107133.
2009 Carl Mitcham and Eric Schatzberg “Defining Technology and The Engineering Sciences” in Dov M.
Gabbay, Anthonie Meijers, Paul Thagard, John Woods (Eds.) Philosophy of technology and engineering
sciences, Elsevier pp. 27- 63.
Werner Sombart
(1863 – 1941)
Definitions may be of two
types: a) & b).
a) Essential definitions:
they are also often called
connotative or intensional,
insofar as they specify the
necessary and sufficient
conditions for something
to be a member
of a class. One example
might be the claim that
technology ( Technik) is
the systematic human
making of physical objects
and/or the using of such
objects: technology is
human behavior (genus)
involved with the
systematic making or
using of artifacts .
b) Denotative or
extensional (also
enumerative) definitions,:
these latter simply list all
the members of the class.
see 2009 Carl Mitcham
and Eric Schatzberg
Technik and its meanings
Source: 1978 , Martin Füssl Die Begriffe
Technik, Technologie , technische
Wissenschaften und Polytechnik , Bad
Salzdethfurth, p.6.
Seibicke, W. Technik, Versuch einer Geschichte der Wortfamilie um τέχνη in Deutschland vom 16.
Jahrhundert bis etwa 1830, VDI :Düsseldorf.
- Pre-technological knowledge in the medieval scribal era
The case of the manuscripts on dyes and pigments ( in short colours)
The second ideal-type is obtained by modifying Beckmann’s model
-One parameter, called the printing culture parameter, is added to
Beckmann’s model in order to take account of the medium features and the social
process, which transmits the written record.
2-Two parameters of Beckmann’s model are relaxed:
2.1- Variable three should be weakened. This links innovation ,
the ideology of the social actor interested in technological
knowledge and the knowledge of the production process.
2.2. Variable four (a naturalistic description of the labourprocess) is tenable only from the Anleitung zur Technologie
on. So, we may have different kinds of pre-technological knowledge, that can
be more or less associated with rituals and magic ideas.
Pre-technological knowledge in the scribal era.
The case of the medieval manuscripts on colours
The type of knowledge transmitted
by the manuscripts on colours
by the following
i) the kind of ruling relationship exerted
on the production process;
ii) the mechanisms of reproduction of
the written record;
iii) the specific cultural values of literacy.
iv) The magnitude of the social distance
between the worker and the writer of
the manuscript.
Pre-technological knowledge and literary activity
Six hypothesis regarding the Producers and the Recipients of the manuscripts
on colours:
According to the literature the mss on
colours were written:
1 – by and for alchemists;
2 –by painters (artisan-artists)
and for
painters (artisan-artists);
3 – for specific patrons;
4 – by and for apothecaries;
5 – for guilds and corporations;
6 – for literary aims with either culturalideological objectives or for a given system
of cultural-philosophical
values, e.g.
motivations of alchemic type or transmission
of significant traditions, etc.
-Pre-technological knowledge and literary activity
Oppenheim’s Hypothesis
6 – for literary aims with either cultural-ideological
objectives or for a given system of culturalphilosophical values, e.g. motivations of alchemic type
or transmission of significant traditions, etc.
Available evidence show s that hypothesis No 6 is the
most likely. The six different hypotheses quoted above
may be traced back to one only, by means of
Oppenheim‘s hypothesis.
Oppenheim sustained that the clay tablets describing
the glass production were the result of a literary
activity. Similarly, the manuscripts on colours are likely the
product of literary activity., above all those of early Middle
For an overview see Tolaini, Tolaini, F. “Proposte per una metodologia di analisi di un ricettario di colori
medievale”, in Il colore del Medioevo, Arte, simbolo e tecnica, Atti delle giornate di studi (Lucca, 5-6 maggio
1995), Lucca, 1996, pp 91-116.
Oppenheim, A. L. “The Cuneiform Texts ” in Oppenheim, A. L. ; Brill R. H.; Barag Von Saldern A. Glass and
Glassmaking in Ancient Mesopotamia, The Conning Museum of Glass Press: Corning , 2nd printing, 1988, pp
Emic & Etic
The neologisms “emic” and “etic,” derive from an analogy with the terms “phonemic”
and “phonetic,” ( the terms were coined by Kenneth Pike in 1954).
The emic perspective refers to the intrinsic cultural distinctions , that are meaningful
to the members of a given society .
The etic perspective, relies upon the extrinsic concepts and categories that are
meaningful for scientific observers : this corresponds to the phonetic analysis
which relies upon the extrinsic concepts and categories that are meaningful to
linguistics (e.g., dental fricatives). From an etic point of view , scientists are the
sole judges of the validity of an etic account, just as linguists are the sole judges
of the accuracy of a phonetic transcription.
1954, Pike, K. L.. Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structures of Human Behavior. part 1. Glendale,
Calif.: Summer Institute of Linguistics. [Preliminary ed.]1976,
1976, Marvin Harris “History and Significance of the Emic/Etic Distinction “ Annual Review of Anthropology, 5 pp.
1985, Kenneth E. Lloyd, “Behavioral Anthropology : a review of Marvin Harris' cultural materialism” Journal of the
experimental analysis of behavior, 43 , pp. 279-287.
-The Chaîne Opératoire
“In its basic definition, the chaîne opératoire (literally ‘operational chain’ or ‘sequence’)
refers to the range of processes by which naturally occurring raw materials are selected,
shaped and transformed into usable cultural products.” Schlanger Nathan , in Bahn &
Renfrew (2005) p. 18 .
1964 , [1943–6] Leroi-Gourhan, A.. Le Geste et la parole, vol. 1: Technique et langage; vol. 2: La Mémoire et les rythmes. Paris: Albin
Michel. (Translated in 1993 as Gesture and Speech by A.Bostock Berger. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.).
1975, Balfet, Hélène in“ Technologie ”, pp. 44-79, in R. Cresswell (ed.), Éléments d’ethnologie, vol. 2. Paris : Armand Colin.
1988, Pfaffenberger, B. “Fetishised Objects and Humanised Nature: Toward an Anthropology of Technology.” Man 23:236–52.
1991, Balfet, Hélène (ed.).Observer l’action technique. Des chaînes opératoires, pour quoi faire ? Paris : Éditions du CNRS.
1992, Lemonnier, P.. Elements for an Anthropology of Technology. University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology, Anthropological Paper
No. 88. Michigan: University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology.
2002, Audouze F. “Leroi-Gourhan, a Philosopher of Technique and Evolution”Journal of Archaeological Research, 10, 4, pp. 277-306.
2004, Pierre Lemonnier,” Mythiques chaînes opératoires” Techniques & Culture “, N.43-44 ( see
2005 ,Colin Renfrew & Paul Bahn Archaeology: The Key Concepts, Routledge, London, New York.
2009, Ofer Bar-Yosef and Philip Van Peer “The Chaîne Opéatoire Approach in Middle Paleolithic Archaeology” Current Anthropology ,50, 1,
pp 103-131.
-Literature on Cameralism
The so-called academic Cameralism began in 1727 ; the teaching of Technologie
began much later and lasted until the first half of the 19th century.
For an overall interpretation of Cameralism see :
1988, Keith Tribe ,Governing Economy: The Reformation of German Academic Discourse , Cambridge U. P.
1997, David F. Lindenfeld The Practical Imagination: The German Sciences of State in the Nineteenth Century , University of Chicago
2009, Andre Wakefield The Disordered Police State: German Cameralism as Science and Practice ,University of Chicago Press.
i) from a sociological point of view: Small, A. W. The Cameralists. The Pioneers of German Social Polity, Chicago U. Press: Chicago, 1909.
ii) as a political phenomenon :
-1966, Maier H. Die ältere deutsche Staats- und Verwaltungslehre (Polizeiwissenschaft). Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der politischen
Wissenschaft in Deutschland, Luchterhand :Neuwied am Rhein-Berlin.
-1977, Brückner, J. Staatswissenschaften, Kameralismus und Naturrecht, C.H. Beck: München,.
-1968 ,Schiera, P. Dall'arte di Governo alle Scienze dello Stato. Il Cameralismo e l'assolutismo tedesco, Giuffrè: Milano.
-19902 , Schiera, P. "Cameralismo", in Bobbio N., Matteucci N., Pasquino G. (Eds.) Dizionario di Politica, (1983); Utet :Torino,, pp 124-31.
iii) and as an economic doctrine
1977, Tribe, K. Governing Economy. The Reformation of German Economic Discourse 1750-1840, Cambridge U. Press: Cambridge, 1988.
Brückner ; see above.
iv) Backhaus a & .Wagner analyse the Cameralist Origins of Continental Public Finance and polemize against the interpretation of
Cameralism as a kind of Mercantilism
1987, Jürgen Backhaus and Richard E. Wagner, Public “ The Cameralists: A Public Choice Perspective “Public Choice, Vol. 53, 1, pp. 320.
2005, Jürgen G. Backhaus and Richard E.Wagner “From Continental Public Finance to Public Choice: Mapping Continuity” History of
Political Economy , 37(Suppl 1):314-332.
v) On the origin of the Cameralism stricto sensu see Schiera 1990, Tribe 1988: 66, 74-5 ( see above ).
(L-13) -
Weber’s Legitime Herrschaft & ideal type
A Weberian model is an ideal type, whose validity can be
ascertained only in terms of adequacy, and whose goal is
to permit comparisons between different historical cases.
Beckmann’s model is an ideal type
According to Weber, legitimate domination (Legitime Herrschaft) is a more
consistent form of power relationship compared to the Macht, a term usually
translated with power. Macht is a relatively timeless and space-less sociological
type. Legitimate Herrschaft, unlike Macht, allows for a high level of probability
that a command with a specific content will be obeyed by a given group of
persons, because it is associated with voluntary compliance, belief in
legitimacy and a sustained relationship of subordination.
-Weber, the sociology of domination & legitime Herrschaft
“The precise translation of Macht and Herrschaft is contested: these terms entered into
usage as power and authority respectively . While there is a little controversy surrounding
the translation of Macht as power , there is considerable dissent surrounding the translation
of Herrschaft as authority that was initiated by Parsons and Henderson in their edition of the
Theory of social and economic organization (Weber 1947). Later translators do not follow this
lead but instead translate Herrschaft either as “rule” or as “domination” depending on the
context of translation” Wallimann et al. 1977. Cohen et al. (1975a, 1975b) appropriately
distinguish between Herrschaft and legitimate Herrschaft.
The three parameters
that distinguish legitimate Herrschaft are:
i) Voluntary compliance or obedience: individuals are not forced to obey, but do so voluntarily,
because they have an interest in doing so, or at least believe that they have such an interest.
ii) Belief in the legitimacy of the actions of the dominant individual or group is likely.
iii) Compliance or obedience is a sustained relationship of subordination so that regular patterns of
inequality are established.
1947 Max Weber: The Theory of Social and Economic Organization translated by A. M. Henderson and Talcott Parsons
edited with an introduction by Talcott Parsons New York,Oxford University Press
1975a, Cohen Jere, Hazelrigg E. Lawrence, Pope Whitney, “De-Parsonizing Weber: A Critique of Parsons' Interpretation of
Weber's Sociology” American Sociological Review, 40, 2, pp. 229-241.
1975b, Cohen Jere, Hazelrigg E. Lawrence, Pope Whitney, “Reply to Parsons” American Sociological Review, 40, 5, pp.
1977, Wallimann Isidor, Tatsis Ch. Nicholas, Zito V. George “On Max Weber's Definition of Power”
Australia and new Zealand Journal of Sociology ,13, pp. 231-235.
-Literature on Linnaeus and his
relationship with Beckmann
On the intellectual relationship between Linnaeus and Beckmann and on the origin of Technologie see
i) 1993, Frison, G. “Linnaeus, Beckmann, Marx and the Foundation of Technology. Between natural and social
Sciences: a Hypothesis of an Ideal Type - First part: Linnaeus and Beckmann, Cameralism, Oeconomia and
Technologie”, History and Technology,, 3:139-60.
ii) 1999 Meyer, T. Natur, Technik und Wirtschaftswacstum im 18. Jahrhundert, Waxmann, Cottbuser Studien zur
Geschichte der Technik, Arbeit und Umwelt, Bd. 12,: Münster, see chapters 4-5, and the literature quoted therein.
iii) For a different interpretation of the Linnaeus-Beckmann relationship see 1997, Müller, H.-P. “Denksatz und
Wirkungsgeschichte von Beckmanns „Entwurf der algemeinen Technologie“ in Banse G. (Ed.) Allgemeine
Technologie zwischen Aufklärung und Metatheorie, Sigma:Berlin, pp 23-39.
iv) Linnaeus - Beckmann correspondence is available in 1916, Bref och skrifvelser af och till Carl von Linnè (Hulth,
J. M. Ed.), Uppsala- Berlin Afd. II, Del. 1:254-268.
v) Linnaeus’s economic ideas were rarely systematic, but their role in his taxonomic research program have
been stressed by 1999 Koerner, L. Linnaeus: Nature and Nation Harvard U.Press: Cambridge (Mass.).
Linnaeus’s economics should not be understood with today’s point of view on economic behaviour, but as a
science of natural products and their use values.
- Literature on Beckmann
Beckmann was a Linnaeus’s pupil, a botanist, an erudite and
connoisseur of classical languages, a cameralist and an eminent
professor of the Göttingen University. Beckmann is recorded as a
biologist by Wagenitz (1988, pp 22-23). He is quoted by historians
of the science of politics as a cameralist (Lindenfeld, 1997, pp 2933). Beckmann’s Physikalisch-ökonomisch Bibliothek (23 vols.
Göttingen 1770-1806) is often quoted by art historians, and his
Beyträge zur Geschichte der Erfindungen (Leipzig 1780-1805) are
still a valuable source for historians of technology..
For current studies on Beckmann:
- v) For a short biography see 1970,
Klemm, F. "Beckmann, Johann", in
Gillespie, C. Coulston (Ed.), Dictionary
of Scientific Biography, C. Scribner's
Sons :New York , 1, pp 554-5.
Beckmann as a „biologist“, see
1988, Wagenitz, G. Göttinger Biologen
1737-1945, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht:
i) 1992, Hans-Peter Müller, Ulrich Troitzsch, (Eds.) Technologie zwischen
Fortschritt und Tradition, Peter Lang: Frankfurt am Main.
ii) 1999, Bayerl, G.; Beckmann, J. (Eds) Johann Beckmann (1739–1811)
Beiträge zu Leben, Werk und Wirkung des Begründers der Allgemeinen
Technologie, Waxmann, Cottbuser Studien zur Geschichte von Technik,
Arbeit und Umwelt, Bd. 9: Münster.
iii) 1999, Meyer, T. “Johann Beckmann-Bibliographie“ Bayerl G., Beckmann
J. (Hrsg.) Johann Beckmann (1739–1811) Beiträge zu Leben, Werk und
Wirkung des Begründers der Allgemeinen Technologie, Waxmann, Cottbuser
Studien zur Geschichte der Technik, Arbeit und Umwelt Bd. 9; Münster, pp.
2007, Bayerl, G. “Die Anfänge der Technikgeschichte bei Johann Beckmann
und Johann Heinrich Moritz von Poppe“ in König W., Schneider H. (Eds.), Die
technikhistorische Forschung in Deutschland von 1800 bis zur Gegenwart,
Kassel U. Press: Kassel, pp. 13-34
vi) Meyer gives a bibliographic
overview of the author;
1999, Meyer, T. “Johann BeckmannBibliographie“ Bayerl G., Beckmann J.
(Eds.) Johann Beckmann (1739–1811)
Beiträge zu Leben, Werk und Wirkung
des Begründers der Allgemeinen
Technologie, Waxmann, Cottbuser
Studien zur Geschichte der Technik,
Arbeit und Umwelt Bd. 9; Münster, pp
(L-17) Literature
Taylor ’s technology
1-On tool working machines: Taylor studied the relationships between speed, feed, tool geometry, and
machining performance in a research programme that lasted 26 years and ended in his famous ASME 1907
paper, see
1997, Stephenson, D. A. ; Agapiou, J. S. Metal Cutting Theory and Practice Marcel Dekker:New York,
2006, Astakhov, V. P. “An opening historical note.” Int. J. Machining and Machinability of Materials, 1: 3-11.
2-Taylor’s equation: Taylor’ s equation that links the cutting speed and tool life, known today as
the Taylor’s tool life equation, is still widely used (Astakhov 2006:4-5; Merchant 1998).
1998Merchant, M. E. “An Interpretative Look at 20th Century Research on Modeling of Machining”
Machining Science and Technology, 2:157 -163.
3- Taylor’s technological papers were devoted to Siemens producers, to belting and to cutting
metal machining. Taylor secured many patents, especially the well known ones on high- speed
tools, the steam hammers and other tool machines (Kanigel 1997).
1997, Kanigel, R. The One Best Way, Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency, Viking
:New York,.
4-From a sociological perspective, Taylor’s role represents the transition from a phase of
institutionalization to a phase of professionalization of the technologist, who played the role of
engineer and manager. Taylor’s work is an example of engineering practices in nineteenthcentury America. These developed in the period 1879-1932 into a complex system of management
and a kind of
organization theory determined by at least three interacting forces : i) the
professionalization process of mechanical engineers ; ii) the Progressive period (1900-1917) and its
rhetoric on professionalism, equality, order, and progress; iii) labor unrest (see Shenhav, 1995).
(L-18) Literature
Taylor ’s technology
5- From the point of view of organisation theory see : 1995, Shenhav Y. “ From Chaos to Systems: The
Engineering Foundations of Organization Theory, 1879-1932” Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, N
4, pp. 557-585
6-Taylor’s ideology: according to Taylor, Scientific Management should restore social harmony in the
interests of the whole people and render politics obsolete ( see 1993, Frison, G. “Tra storia, scienze
sociali e tecnologia: per una interpretazione dell’opera di F. W. Taylor” Rivista di Storia
Contemporanea, 2-3 :461-498).
7-Kanigel’ s biography balances preceding biographies and displays his technological work:
1997, Kanigel, R. The One Best Way, Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency, Viking
:New York.
8-For an annotated bibliography of Taylor see Cowan (2000, vol. 1:15-70),
2000, Cowan, A. R. “Annotated Bibliography” in Wood J.C.; Wood M. C. (Eds.) F. W. Taylor: Critical
Evaluations in Business and Management , Routledge: London, 1, pp 15 -70.
9-For an evaluation of Taylor’s legacy from the point of view of bussiness and management see :
2000, Wood, J.C. , Wood M. C. (Eds) F. W. Taylor: Critical Evaluations in Business and Management ,
Routledge :London, 3 vols.
Literature on
Marx’s Technologie
1986, Frison, G. "Le diverse e artificiose macchine di Marx " in AAVV, Attualità di Marx, Unicopli:
Milano, pp. 207-216.
1989, Frison, G. “Technical and Technological Innovation in Marx" History and Technology, 4:299324.
1992, Frison, G. "Smith, Marx and Beckmann: division of labour, Technology and Innovation", in
Müller H.-P.; Troitzsch U. (editors) Technologie zwischen Fortschritt und Tradition, Peter Lang:
Frankfurt am Main-Bern-New York-Paris, pp. 17-40.
1993a, Frison, G. “Linnaeus, Beckmann, Marx and the Foundation of Technology. Between natural
and social Sciences: a Hypothesis of an Ideal Type - First part: Linnaeus and Beckmann, Cameralism,
Oeconomia and Technologie”, History and Technology, 3:139-60.
1993b, Frison, G. “Second and third Part: “Beckmann and Marx. Technologie and Classical Political
Economy”, History and Technology, 3:161-173.
1974-83, Marx, K. Capital , translated from the third German edition by Moore S.; Aveling E. and
edited by Engels F., Lawrence & Wishart: London, 3 vols.
1976-82, Marx, K. Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (Manuskript 1861-1863), MEGA II, Bd.3 ,Teil
1-6, Dietz Verlag : Berlin,.
1985, Marx, K., Engels F., Collected Works, v. 41, Progress Publishers: Moscow,.
1982, Marx, K. Die technologisch-historischen Exzerpte, Müller, H.-P (Ed.), Ullstein: Frankfurt/MainBerlin-Wien.
(L-20)- Literature on the
various concepts of technology
For some authors, technology refers to the generic activity of the genus Homo of producing and
using means of labour (White, 1940 and Singer, 1954-1978), and for others, the term art is
synonymous with technology (see for example Eamon 1983, and Newman 1989). For an overview of
the concept of technology see Morère (1966), Hall A. R. (1978), Sebestik (1983), Salomon (1984),
Guillerme (1984), For an etymological approach to the family of words deriving from τέχνη see Heyde
(1963), Seibicke (1968). A wide set of definitions of technology is given by Beaune (1980) , who
quotes 46 definitions of technology , 41 of which were proposed after the Anleitung zur Technologie
(1980: 253-263). See also Füssel (1978) for an overview of the linguistic use of the pair
Technik/Technologie in German speaking area and Schatzberg (2006) for the English-American area.
1940, White, L. Jr. “Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages” Speculum, 2, pp 141-159.
1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1958, 1978, 1978.Singer, C. et al. (Eds) A History of Technology , Oxford U. Press: New York and London.
1966, Morère, J.-E. “Les vicissitudes du sens de technnologie au debut du dixneuvième siècle.” Thalès, 12, pp 73-84.
1978, Hall, A. R. " On Knowing , and on Knowing how to.... " History of Technology, III, pp 91-103.
1978, Martin Füssel, Die Begriffe Technik, Technologie, technische Wissenschaften und Polytechnik , Barbara Franzbecker, Bad
1980, Beaune, J-C. La Technologie Introuvable, Vrin :Paris,.
1983, Eamon, W. "Technology as Magic in the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance" Janus, 70, pp 171-212.
1983, Sebestik, J. “The Rise of the Technological Science” History and Technology I, pp 25-44.
1984, Guillerme, J. "Le liens du sens dans l'histoire de la technologie" Cahiers S.T.S. 2 , pp .23-29.
1984, Salomon, J.-J. " What is Technology ? The issue of its origin and Definitions.“ History and Technology,1, pp 113-156.
1989 , Newman W.“Technology and Alchemical Debate in the Late Middle Ages “ Isis, 80, 3 , pp. 423-445.
2005, R. Kline. “Constructing Technology as ‘Applied Science’: Public Rhetoric of Scientists and Engineers in the United States, 18801945.” Isis, vol. 86, pp. 194-221.
2006, Schatzberg E. Technik Comes to America Changing Meanings of Technology Before 1930” Technology and Culture, pp. 486-512.
2009 Carl Mitcham and Eric Schatzberg “Defining Technology and The Engineering Sciences” in Dov M. Gabbay, Anthonie Meijers, Paul
Thagard, John Woods (Eds.) Philosophy of technology and engineering sciences, Elsevier pp. 27- 63.
Philology and Etimology
1963, Jolis Erich Heyde “Zur Geschichte des Wortes “Technik”” Humanismus und Technik, , 9, 1, pp 25-43.
1968. Seibicke, W. Technik, Versuch einer Geschichte der Wortfamilie um τέχνη in Deutschland vom 16. Jahrhundert bis
etwa 1830, VDI :Düsseldorf,
Quite always the topic of Technik, has been
discussed in the German literature within the
frame of dichotomies such as Zivilisation/Kultur,
Zivilisation/Leben, Geist/Seele, which developed
later into an ideology which proposed a
reconciliation between the antimodernist,
romantic, irrationalist ideas and the modern
Technik . A sui generis Philosophie der Technik of
German flavor originated from this discussion .
After the Weimar Republic , the debate on Technik
turned into a reactionary political orientation and
a fully-edged acceptance of Technik, defined by
historian “Reactionary modernism “( Herf 1984;
Rohkrämer, 1999 ).
Philology and
1968. Seibicke, W. Technik,
Versuch einer Geschichte der
Wortfamilie um τέχνη in
Jahrhundert bis etwa 1830,
VDI :Düsseldorf, pp. 161-284
(L-21)- Literature
on Technik
and Technikphilosophie
Philosophie der
1877, Enrst Kapp, Grundlinien
einer Philosophie der Tecknik: zur
Entstehungsgeschichte der Cultur
aus neuen Gesichtspunkten,
1914, Eberhard Zschimmer,
Philosophie der Technik
vom Sinn der Technik und Kritik des
Unsinns über die Technik, Jena:
1927, Friedrich Dessauer,
Philosophie der Technik Bonn.
Reactionary Modernism
1984, Jeffrey Herf “The Engineer as
Ideologue: Reactionary Modernists in
Weimar and Nazi Germany”, Journal of
Contemporary History, 19, 4, pp. 631648.
1999, Thomas Rohkrämer
“Antimodernism, Reactionary
Modernism and National Socialism.
Technocratic Tendencies In Germany,
1890-1945” Contemporary European
History, 8, 1, pp. 29 -50.
(L-22) -
Literature on Mauss
1947, Mauss Marcel, Manuel d’ethnographie, Paris, Payot. Engl. Transl. Manual of Ethnography edited and
introduced by N.J. Allen, Durkheim Press/Berghahn, Oxford, 2007
1950, Mauss Marcel, Sociologie et anthropologie, with an « Introduction to the « l’Œuvre de Marcel Mauss »
by Claude Lévi-Strauss, Paris, Puf.
1968, Mauss Marcel., Œuvres 1. Les fonctions sociales du sacré, Introduction by Victor Karady, Paris, Les
Éditions de Minuit.
1969, Mauss Marcel Œuvres 2, Représentations collectives et diversité des civilisations, Paris, Les Éditions de
1969a, Mauss Marcel, Œuvres 3, Cohésion sociale et divisions de la sociologie, Paris, Les Éditions de Minuit.
1993, Howard H. Andrews “Social Morphology” in Stephen P. Turner (ed.) Emile Durkheim : sociologist and
moralist , London New York , pp 111-135 .
1994 Fournier Marcel, Marcel Mauss. Paris, Fayard.
1996, Mauss, M. ‘‘L’œuvre de Marcel Mauss par lui- même’’, Revue Européenne des Sciences Sociales
XXXIV(105), pp. 225–236.
1997, Mauss, M. Ecrits politiques. Marcel Fournier and Phillippe Besnard (eds.) Paris: Fayard.
1997, Frison, G. “Per una teoria sociologica della tecnologia e dei fatti tecnici: un confronto fra Mauss e
Weber” La Critica Sociologica, 122-123:18-37.
1998, P. Besnard et M. Fournier (eds.) Durkheim Émile, Lettres à Marcel Mauss. Paris: PUF.
2003, Mauss, Marcel On Prayer. Oxford & New York : Berghahn. Translation of Mauss Marcel 1909. La Prière.
Paris : Alcan. Mauss , Œuvres 1 : 357-477.
2009, Marcel Mauss , Techniques, Technology and Civilization, with an Introduction by Nathan Schlanger, the
Durkheim Press-Bargahan Books, New York-Oxford .
The separation of the production process from other
social facts
i) Only when the
production process
becomes socially
separated from other
social phenomena ,
then, it may be
technologically. that
is , as a natural
process , where the
worker may be
considered absent (
However, western
literature begins
much earlier than the
Anleitung zur
ii) When the production is
subsumed by capital and the
labour-process is submitted to
“real subsumption by capital”(
Marx), then this set of social
relationships becomes a
scene, where social facts and
naturalistic descriptions of the
labour-process meet each
other. This is due to the
conscious action of the
entrepreneur. The naturalistic
descriptions of the labour
process takes the form of
prescriptions which become
compulsory thanks to the
competition of the various
entrepreneurs, who operate
on the same market.
iii) It seems
impossible to
define the
concept of
labour process
for noncapitalistic or for
societies: in
these latter the
separation of
magic from
technical acts
appear difficult
or impossible
from an emic
point of view) (
→) .
Economics and “technology” in the classical
School of Economics 1/2
Adam Smith (1723 – 1790)
David Ricardo
(1772 – 1823)
Economists have been acutely aware of the fact that increases in
the productivity of a representative bundle of inputs account for
the bulk of aggregate economic growth. In this way they
rationalize this phenomenon with the concept of technology, and
erroneously apply this concept to authors who never used this
concept. But the term “technology” is not similar to the term
“gravity” which may be applied to Aristotelian physics too.
i) The issues raised by rapid industrialization, were not ignored by British
economists, who handled the dramatic changes of the Industrial Revolution
by using terms such as useful arts, machinery , invention and industry.
The pair technique/technology is absent in their vocabulary, however
modern economists handle Adam Smith’s division of labour as a case of
David Ricardo too, did not use the concepts of technique or technology
when he argued Malthus’ tendency toward stagnation. Instead, he
underlined that the improvement of machinery and the increasing skill in art
and science counterbalanced this tendency.
Neoclassical economics and technology 2/2
An example of the concept of technology used by economists : the production function by
Wicksteed‘s Co-ordination of the Laws of Distribution (1894).
ii) In neoclassical economic theory, the formulation of technology has
a long history, going back at least to Wicksteed, who, in his “The Coordination of the Laws of Distribution” (1894, p. 52), states his central
premise as follows:
‘The Product being a function of the factors of production we have P =
f(a.b.c,. . .. . .)’.
This abstract way of representing the recipe for a production process
has not changed in its essentials since then. It is repeated without limit
or significant variation in countless economic texts .
Philip Henry Wicksteed
(1844 –1927)
etboo/wicksteed1894.html to
download his 1894 paper
However , Wicksteed’s paper does not use the concepts of
technique or technology, as does presend standard neoclassical
economic. Wicksteed’s main aim was to establish the law of
the redistributions of revenues between the factors of
iii) The 20th century American-English term technology
comes from the translation of the German Technik (Eric
Schatzberg, “Technik Comes to America: Changing Meanings of
Technology before 1930 “Technology and Culture -, 47, 3, 2006,
pp. 486-512).
-The separation of techniques from ritual and magic
Referring to the magic ( Esquisse 1904), ritual ( La prière 1909) ,
instrumental techniques , bodily techniques (techniques du corps)
and aesthetics ( Manuel d’Ethnologie 1947) Mauss utilized the same
formula « actes traditionnel efficaces » .
All these five social facts implicate know-how, dexterity and all these
are socially transmitted by the tradition.
Mauss was completely aware that the differences between these
social acts should be evidenced, by different presuppositions on
In fact, the real problem is the meaning given to the term effectivity, because nobody
criticises the concept of act , neither the fact that the act is traditional (inscribed within a
tradition) .
Mauss proposed different criteria to distinguish:
i) the ritual from other types of social acts by underlining that ritual efficacy was of a sui
generis type ( “On Prayer”) ;
ii) technique from magic, on the basis of the fact that the consequences of a technical act
were homogeneous with the means used in the act itself.
1904 , Marcel Mauss & Henri Hubert «Esquisse d’une théorie générale de la magie», L’Année Sociologique , 7, pp1-146.
1909 , Marcel Mauss, La Prière. I. Les origines ,die vertraulich von Fauteur verteilt wurde, 176 Seiten. [OEuvres, I, S. 357477.]
-The separation of techniques from ritual and magic
Ritual efficacy VS technique efficacy ( Mauss
According to Mauss, ,this difference lies in the
manner in which the efficacy is conceived
« Donc, c'est en considérant non pas l'efficacité en ellemême, mais la manière dont cette efficacité est conçue
que nous pourrons trouver la différence spécifique. Or,
dans le cas de la technique, l'effet produit est censé
provenir tout entier du travail mécanique effectif. Et cela
d'ailleurs a bon droit, car justement l'effort de la
civilisation a en partie consisté à réserver aux techniques
industrielles et aux sciences sur lesquelles elles reposent,
cette valeur utile que l'on attribuait autrefois aux rites et
aux notions religieuses. Au contraire, dans le cas de la
pratique rituelle, de toutes autres causes sont censées
intervenir auxquelles est imputé tout le résultat attendu.
L'efficacité prêtée au rite n'a donc rien de commun avec
l'efficacité propre des actes qui sont matériellement
accomplis. Elle est représentée dans les esprits comme
tout a fait sui generis, car on considère qu'elle vient tout
entière de forces spéciales que le rite aurait la propriété
de mettre en jeu. » Marcel Mauss 1909 , La Prière
emphasis added by the present author.
For Mauss, rites are
actions ; they are
traditional actions, and
are effective, in that
they achieve material
ends. A rite is therefore
an effective traditional
action of sui generis
-Is magic separable from techniques ?
Critique of the Maussian criterion concerning
technique effectiviness
« ….on ne peut pas comme le fait Mauss parler d’une efficacité «
sentie par l’auteur comme d’ordre mécanique, physique ou
physico-chimique » en dehors des sociétés de l’Occident
moderne où il existe des sciences physiques —sauf à tomber
dans l’ethnocentrisme. « (Sigaut 2003 )
Is it possible to separate magic from religion ?
According to van Baal & Van Beek (1985: 111), the "distinction
between magic and religion made by our authors [Mauss &
Hubert] is far from satisfactory, and the overall trend of their
discussion is to present magic as a by-product of religion. In
conclusion we feel justified in stating that, all things considered,
Hubert and Mauss offered better arguments in favour of
accepting magic as a form of religion than in support of the strict
contrast on which they founded their comments."
For the reconstruction of the various criteria adopted by
Durkheim and his school to separate magic from religion see
Belier 1995.
2003, François Sigaut « La formule de
Mauss Efficacité technique, efficacité
sociale », Techniques & Culture 40,
pp. 153-168 .
1995, Belier, Wouter W. “Critique
the Maussian criterion of technique
efficacy”, Method & Theory in the
Study of Religion, 7, 2, 1995 , pp.
1985, Van Baal, Jan - Wouter E. A.
van Beek . Symbols for
Communication. Assen: Van Gorcum
-Is ritual separable from other efficacious and traditional acts?
The definition of ritual has long been debated ;
simplifying, we can affirm that at least two approaches
to rituals exist, the cognitive and the Durkheimian type*,
because a belief in the supernatural and the separation
between sacred and non-sacred things are involved :
i) Cognitive: by applying to religious events cognitive
theories of religious rituals some scholars show that
religious thought and action turn overwhelmingly on
harnessing perfectly ordinary forms of cognition available
to all normally equipped human beings.
This approach does not agree with Mauss ‘ criterion.
ii) Compatible with Durkheim ’s definition of religion: for
other scholars rituals may be regarded as a subclass
within religious events. For example baptism is a religious
ritual because an agent (the priest) acts (sprinkles water)
upon a patient (an infant) for God to accept the child as
part of the Church. This approach is apparently
compatible with Mauss ‘ criterion.
*For Durkheim, a
religion is a unified
system of
beliefs and practices
relative to sacred
things that unite into
one single moral
community all those
who adhere to them.
A further limitation of Mauss‘ analysis is the reception of
Reuleaux’s concept of machine which is of kinematic
type *. Reuleaux is considered the father of kinematic
analysis and is likely the greatest of the machine
theorists of the 19th century. However, kinematics does
not permit the evaluation of the digital computer, for
which the algorithmic concept of machine fits better (for
example, the Turing machine) . Sociologically, Mauss‘
concept of machine does not permit a fruitful
comparison with literature Industrial Revolution and the
effects of the introduction of machinery in the modern
factory system ( see for example the classical works by
Andrew Ure (see Ure 1835) or Karl Marx in Das Kapital)
Andrew Ure
( 1778 –
Alan Turing
( 1912 – 1954))
to Mauss’
concept of
*( Reuleaux is
mentioned in
Mauss 1947
with the name
Franz Reuleaux
(1829 – 1905)
Reuleaux’s definition: a machine is
a kinematic chain of constrained
elements , that is " a combination of
resistant bodies so arranged that by
their means the mechanical forces of
nature can be compelled to do work
accompanied by certain determinate
1835, Andrew Ure, The Philosophy of Manufactures, or an Exposition of the Scientific, Moral and Commercial Economy of the Factory System of
Great Britain,.London: Charles Knight.
1875 Franz Reuleaux Theoretische Kinematik; Grundzüge einer Theorie des Maschinenwesens, Verlag Vieweg & Sohn Braunschweig.
- A critique to Mauss’ Historiography of technology .
Mauss’ approach to technology of non-literate
cultures appears systematic but mainly descriptive.
However, he erroneously affirmed that “L'histoire
de la technologie est une histoire récente »
(Mauss 1947), forgetting in such a way that
modern history of technology began with
Beckmann’s Beyträge zur Geschichte der
Erfindungen (5 vols 1780-1805 ) and with his most
important follower, Johann H. M. von Poppe(18071811; see Bayerl 2007) . German tradition
continued with the works of in the second half of
the 19th century with Karl Karmarsch, Franz
Reuleaux and Theodor Beck ( see Lackner 2007). At
the beginning of the 20th century ( 1903) the
Deutsches Museum was founded: it is today the
most important European Museum devoted to the
History of technology.
1807-11. H. M. von Poppe, Geschichte der Technologie seit der WiederhersteUung der Wissenschaften an das Ende des 18 Jahrhundert, 3
vols. Gottingen.
2007, Günter Bayerl „ Die Anfänge der Technikgeschichte bei Johann Beckmann und Johann Heinrich Moritz von Poppe“ in Wolfgang König,
Helmuth Schneider (Eds.), Die technikhistorische Forschung in Deutschland , kassel University Press , Kassel, pp 13-34.
2007, Helmut Lackner „ Von der Geschichte der Technik zur technikgeschichte . Die erste Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts“ in Wolfgang König,
Helmuth Schneider (Eds.), Die technikhistorische Forschung in Deutschland , kassel University Press , Kassel pp 35-62
At the end of the Unit 1, one
should be able to evaluate the main
lines of the following points:
ai )the features of Cameralism
aii) the causes of Cameralism decline and the fall
of the Nineteenth-century Technologie
aiii) Beckmann ‘s model of Technologie .
b) Economics: Karl Marx and the introduction
of Beckmann’s concept of Technologie onto
the classical production theory.
c) Epistemology: the pre-paradigmatic nature of
the discussion concerning the couple
d) Economics, black boxes and technology: the
example of Wicksteed
At the end of the Unit 2 , one should
be able to evaluate the main lines of the
following points :
a) How Mauss came to give special
emphasis to techniques and technology
in his teaching and writing, suggesting
that, they should be a major
preoccupation of ethnography.
d) Magic, technical
acts and rituals : in
which conditions
can they be
separated ?
e) Emic and etic point
of view ( →)
b) Mauss’ three main papers, that handle
the couple tecnique / technologie and the
relationships of this pair with
Durkheim’s sociology and the body.
c) An operative concept of technique :
Lemonnier and his anthropological
analysis of technology;
Maori women
American anthropology between 1880 and 1920
1974. Stocking, G.W. Jr. (Ed.) The Shaping of American Anthropology, 1883-1911: A Franz Boas Reader. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
1977, Regna “Darnell History of anthropology Historical Perspective ”.Ann. Rev. Anthropol., 6, pp. 399-417.
1981, Hinsley, C.M. Jr. Savages and Scientists: The Smithsonian Institution and the Development of American
Anthropology 1846-1910. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press
1994, Curtis M. Hinsley, The Smithsonian and the American Indian: Making a Moral Anthropology in Victorian
America. Washington, D.C.. 1
1999, Richard B. Woodbury and Nathalie F. S. Woodbury “The Rise and Fall of the Bureau of American Ethnology
“Journal of the Southwest, 41, 3, pp. 283-296.
2002, David R. Wilcox and Don D. Fowler “ The Beginnings of Anthropological Archaeology in the North American
Southwest: From Thomas Jefferson to the Pecos Conference Journal of the Southwest, 44, 2, pp. 121-234
2006, Thomas Carl Patterson A social history of anthropology in the United States, Berg, Oxford-New York.
1996, George W. Stocking, Volksgeist as method and ethic: essays on Boasian ethnography and the German
Tradition Madison : University of Wisconsin Press.
2005, Fredrik Barth et alii, One discipline, four ways: British, German, French, and American anthropology,
University of Chicago Press, Chicago
2009, Michael Brian Schiffer, “Ethnoarchaeology, Experimental Archaeology, and the“American School”
Ethnoarchaeology, 1, 1 , pp. 7–26.
(L-36) A
map of the scientific discussion of the couple
If one would describe a map of the
scientific discussion on the couple
technique & technology, then a
subdivision in various disciplinary
fields would appear, and this
would separate from the different
national traditions. For example,
the anthropological tradition of
techniques is mainly French; and
the Technikphilosophie is
eminently German. Rarely the
disciplinary approaches, the
national traditions and the
operative definitions have been
compared by scholars.
A sociological model should permit an initial comparison of
the disjecta membra of the discussion.
Literature of the two Issues
Weber and the
sociology of
domination & Ideal
Emic & Etic
The Chaîne
Emic & Etic
A critique to Mauss’
Economics and
technolo-g y: 3
Historiography of
The meanings of
Technologie until
The separation of ritual from
from other effective acts A
A map of the scientific
discussion of the couple
Literature on Linnaeus & his
relationships with
Literature on Cameralism
The separation of the
production process from other
social facts
Literature on Beckmann
Literature on Marx’s Technologie
The separation of techniques
from ritual and magic
American anthropology between
1880 and 1920
Is magic separable from
techniques ?
Literature on Technik and
The meanings of Technik
The crisis of Cameralism
Literature on Mauss
Literature on Taylor’s technology
Medieval pre-technological
knowledge and the scribal era
Literature on the various concepts of
The competences to be acquired at the end of t
The Young Historical School :

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