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Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West

Margaret C. Jacob

Publication Date - 02 January 1997

ISBN: 9780195082203

288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


As more historians acknowledge the central significance of science and technology in the making of the first Industrial Revolution, the need for a good, general history of the achievements of the Scientific Revolution has grown. Scientific Culture and The Making of the Industrial West explains this historical process by looking at how and why scientific knowledge became such an integral part of the culture of Europe. Seeking to understand the cultural origins of the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century, this text first looks at the scientific culture of the seventeenth century, focusing not only on England but following through with a study of the history of science and technology in France, the Netherlands, and Germany. Comparative in structure, this text explains why England was so much more successful at this transition than its continental counterparts. It also integrates science with worldly concerns, focusing mainly on the entrepreneurs and engineers who possessed scientific insight and who were eager to profit from its advantages, demonstrating that during the mid-seventeenth century, British science was presented within an ideological framework that encouraged material prosperity. Readable summaries of the major scientific achievements are included to better communicate the central innovations of the period, and recent scholarship is added to help enhance the discussion of the integration of science into Western culture. Blending the history of science and technology with cultural history, this text is ideal for early modern European history courses, as well as for courses in cultural studies and the history of science.


"There has been a crying need for instructors of Western Civilization to find readable texts that incorporate the rise of science into the traditional historical curriculum. Margaret C. Jacob has now produced such a work linking the Scientific Revolution to the Industrial Revolution ... written with verve and hewn from much new archival evidence." --American Historical Review

Table of Contents

    I. Intellectual Foundations
    1. The New Science and its New Audience
    2. The Cultural Meaning of Cartesianism: From the Self to Nature (and Back to the State)
    3. Science in the Crucible of the English Revolution
    4. The Newtonian Enlightenment
    II. Cultural and Social Foundations
    5. The Cultural Origins of the First Industrial Revolution
    6. The Watts, Entrepreneurs
    7. Scientific Education and Industrialization in Continental Europe
    8. French Industry and Engineers under Absolutism and Revolution
    9. How Science Worked in Industrial Moments: Case Studies from Britain