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The Radiance of France : Nuclear Power and National Identity After World War II - Gabrielle Hecht

The Radiance of France

Nuclear Power and National Identity After World War II

Paperback

Published: 1st September 2000
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Winner of the 1999 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association. and Winner of the 2001 Edelstein Prize (formerly the Dexter Prize) presented by the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). This award is given to the author of an outstanding scholarly book in the history of technology published during any of the three years preceding the award.

In the aftermath of World War II, as France sought a distinctive role for itself in the modern, postcolonial world, the nation and its leaders enthusiastically embraced large technological projects in general and nuclear power in particular. The Radiance of France asks how it happened that technological prowess and national glory (or "radiance," which also means "radiation" in French) became synonymous in France as nowhere else.

To answer this question, Gabrielle Hecht has forged an innovative combination of technology studies and cultural and political history. Focusing on the early history of French nuclear power, Hecht explores the design and development of the reactors, the culture and organization of work at reactor sites, and the ways in which local communities responded to nuclear power and state-directed technological development. Combining research in a wealth of previously untapped archival sources with extensive oral interviews, Hecht effectively demonstrates the relationship between history and memory in technological France.

Part 1 Introduction: technology, politics, culture and national identity; conceptual and methodological tools; research stories and oral histories. Part 2 A technological nation: state engineering before World War II; state institutions after World War II; what is a technocrat?; the future of France; the mentality of the future; the plan. Part 3 Technopolitical regimes: the creation of the CEA; the emergence of a nationalist technopolitical regime; the G2 reactor - developing a nationalist technopolitical regime; EDF - the emergence of a nationalized regime; the EDF1 reactor - developing a nationalized technopolitical regime. Part 4 Technopolitics in the fifth republic: technology and Gaullism; technopolitics from the fourth to the fifth republic - EDF2 and EDF3; optimization and the competitive kilowatt-hour; controlling fuel and pricing plutonium; industrial competitiveness, exporting reactors and the future of France. Part 5 Technological unions: the politics of unionism; conceptualizing national technological progress; recruiting technical elites. Part 6 Regimes of work: Marcoule; Chinon. Part 7 Technological spectacles: salvation, redemption and liberation; reconciling modernity and tradition; chateaux for the 20th century; the critics - "two steps away is the abyss"; counter-spectacle - "when the tale of Marcoule is told". Part 8 Atomic vintage: representations of public opinion; peasants and engineers - Bagnolais de Souche and Marcoulins; interlude - reflections on local memory; the little Kuwait of the Indre-et-Loire. Part 9 Warring system: preliminaries to the war - public relations and technological mishaps; the war starts in earnest - the Horowitz-Cabanius report; PEON - defining the context for technological development; breeder reactors - flexibility and consensus; unions strike back; Boiteux declares the end of the gas-graphite programme; the CEA strikes; economic comparisons, union-style; back to Bagnols; the cleanup at Saint-Laurent - healing the technopolitical wound; the battle fizzles out. Part 10 Conclusion: imagining a technopolitical nation; technology and politics.

ISBN: 9780262581967
ISBN-10: 0262581965
Series: Inside Technology
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 469
Published: 1st September 2000
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.68
Edition Type: New edition