Abstract

abstract:

The term "technology" has routinely been used to mean the application of science to industry. By contrast, "artisanal technology" questions the current epistemological status of practices as sources of abstraction and the synthetic activities of the mind. This article shows the connections between bureaucracy and the codification of useful knowledge—or technique—across Europe, in various channels of knowledge transmission, before focusing on British artisanal records. Artisan-entrepreneurs, facing expanding markets and differentiated demands, were arguably crucial to the birth of new rationalities of labor. Theirs was a path to technological knowledge rooted in the merchant economy, an alternative to technocracy and the rise of engineering sciences. The article thus shows that "technology" as an abstraction of technical activity belonged to the craft culture.

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