The collective book here presented, the eighth of the Cahier d’Histoire des Techniques Collection published by the University of Provence, encompasses a very long period of the history of technology, examined in the framework of ethnological studies, from antiquity to the twentieth century. The curator of the volume, Aline Durand, explains how the concept of tools, as found in the modern dictionary, was defined in very close relation to the mechanical arts by establishing a strong link with the dimension of the task, completely obscuring the social and cultural processes prior to its invention. Referring Georges Comet’s studies, Durand claims that technical tools must be seen as repositories of historical technical meaning, as well as constituting a history of the material conditions of human communities in which tools are produced. From this perspective, a technical device has to be considered not just an expression of a single relationship between man and nature, but as evidence of human relationships without which we can not have a full understanding of its meaning. For the curator, only by studying a technical device in the context of ethnological sources is it possible to outline the sequence of technical gestures and the operating
Nuncius (successor of "Annali") – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2014
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