The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II / Edition 1

The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II / Edition 1

by Gabrielle Hecht
     
 

ISBN-10: 0262581965

ISBN-13: 9780262581967

Pub. Date: 07/31/2000

Publisher: MIT Press

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

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Overview

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 in a book that, as Michel Callon writes in the new foreword to this edition, "not only sheds new light on the role of technology in the construction of national identities" but is also "a seminal contribution to the history of contemporary France." Proposing the concept of technopolitical regime as a way to analyze the social, political,cultural, and technological dynamics among engineering elites, unionized workers,and rural communities Hecht shows how the history of France's first generation of nuclear reactors is also a history of the multiple meanings of nationalism, from the postwar period (and France's desire for post-Vichy redemption) to 1969 and the adoption of a "Frenchified" American design. This paperback edition of Hecht's groundbreaking book includes both Callon's foreword and an afterword by the author in which she brings the story up to date, and reflects on such recent developments as the 2007 French presidential election, the promotion of nuclear power as the solution to climate change, and France's aggressive exporting of nuclear technology.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262581967
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
07/31/2000
Series:
Inside Technology Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
469
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Technology, Politics, Culture, and National Identity
Conceptual and Methodological Tools
Research Stories and Oral Histories
1 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
2 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
3 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
4 Technological Unions
The Politics of Unionism
Conceptualizing National Technological Progress
Recruiting Technical Elites
5 Regimes of Work
Marcoule
Chinon
6 Technological Spectacles
Salvation, Redemption, and Liberation
Reconciling Modernity and Tradition
Châteaux for the Twentieth Century
The Critics: "Two Steps Away Is the Abyss"
Counter-Spectacle: "When the Tale of Marcoule Is Told"
7 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
8 WarringSystem
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 Program
The CEA Strikes
Economic Comparisons, Union-Style
Back to Bagnols
The Cleanup at Saint-Laurent: Healing the Technopolitical Wound
The Battle Fizzles Out
Conclusion
Imagining a Technological Nation
Technology and Politics
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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