The Radiance of France

The Radiance of France Nuclear Power and National Identity After World War II - Inside Technology

Hardback (18 Nov 1998)

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Publisher's Synopsis

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. This text 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 a 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. She also describes the eventual abandonment of the French (gas-graphite) system in favour of the American (light-water) system and shows how the American system was then "made French". A central argument of her book is that engineers and workers shaped artifacts and practices in a deliberate effort to implement specific political and cultural programs. Combining research in previously untapped archival sources along with oral interviews, Hecht demonstrates the relationship between history and memory in technological France.

Book information

ISBN: 9780262082662
Publisher: The MIT Press
Imprint: The MIT Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 621.480944
DEWEY edition: 21
Language: English
Number of pages: 453
Weight: 862g
Height: 235mm
Width: 160mm
Spine width: 33mm