The Human Motor: Energy, Fatigue, and the Origins of Modernity

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University of California Press, Jan 8, 1992 - Philosophy - 402 pages
"Masterfully integrating Europe-wide debates in science, philosophy, technology, economics, and social policy, Rabinbach has provided us with a profoundly original understanding of the productivist obsessions from which we are still painfully freeing ourselves. . . . A splendid example of the mutual enrichment of intellectual and social history. It goes well beyond its central concern with the 'science of work' to illuminate everything it discusses, from Marxism to the social uses of photography, from cultural decadence to the impact of the First World War."—Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley

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Review: The Human Motor: Energy, Fatigue, and the Origins of Modernity

User Review  - Profe Alejandro - Goodreads

The introduction is not as bright as the author might think. He uses more Foucault than he quotes it, but the info is quite relevant. Read full review


AngeloMosso and the Invention of
A Fatigue Vaccine?
The European Science of Work
The Science of Work in Germany
The German Sociology of Work
Industrial Psychotechnics
The Americanization of Labor Power and the Great
The Science of Work Between the Wars

Motionless Bodies Do Not Exist
The Microscope of Time
The Economy of Work
E J Marey Portable Odograph and cart ca 1887
The Laws of the Human Motor
Auguste Chauveau
The End of the Workcentered Society?

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Page 73 - Freedom in this field can only consist in socialized man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and?
Page 9 - The rosy blush of its laughing heir, the Enlightenment, seems also to be irretrievably fading, and the idea of duty in one's calling prowls about in our lives like the ghost of dead religious beliefs.?
Page 58 - inexhaustibly without corresponding consumption, that is to say, out of nothing. Work however is money. Here emerges the practical problem which clever people of all centuries have pursued in the most diverse ways, namely to create money out of nothing. The comparison with the philosopher's stone sought by the ancient alchemists?
Page 112 - isolates any moment; it puts them all in the same rank, and thus the gallop of a horse spreads out, into as many successive attitudes as it wishes, instead of massing into a single attitude, which is supposed to flash out in a privileged moment, and illuminate a whole period.?
Page 80 - himself performs, nor the time during which he works, but rather the appropriation of his own general productive power, his understanding of nature and his mastery over it by virtue of his presence as a social body.?
Page 24 - or actual energy of the mechanical movement;.. . The whole marvelous panorama of life that spreads over the surface of our globe Is, in the last analysis, transformed sunlight. It is well known how the remarkable progress of technical science has made it possible for us to convert the different physical forces from one form to another.?
Page 60 - They are used for the most diversified arrangements. We produce by their agency an infinite variety of movements, with the most various degrees of force and rapidity, from powerful steam-hammers and rolling-mills, where gigantic masses of iron are cut and shaped like butter, to spinning and weaving-frames, the work of which rivals that of the spider.?
Page 60 - modern mechanism has the richest choice of means of transferring the motion of one set of rolling wheels to another with greater or less velocity; of changing the rotating motion of wheels into the up-and-down motion of the piston-rod, of the shuttle, of falling hammers and stamps.?
Page 58 - We no longer seek to build machines which shall fulfill the thousand services required of one man, but desire on the contrary, that a machine shall perform one service, and shall occupy in doing it the place of a thousand men.?
Page 112 - instead of attaching ourselves to the inner becoming of things, we place ourselves outside them in order to recompose their becoming artificially. We take snapshots, as it were, of the passing reality.?

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About the author (1992)

Anson Rabinbach is Professor in the Department of the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University and author of The Crisis of Austrian Socialism (Chicago, 1983).

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