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Accident ProneA History of Technology, Psychology, and Misfits of the Machine Age$
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John C. Burnham

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226081175

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226081199.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Accident Prone
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents a close examination of the origins and development of the idea of accident proneness. It shows that the rise and fall of accident proneness was a clear sign of not just one, but also a second broad shift in social strategy among Europeanized countries. The idea of accident proneness spread throughout the Europeanized world. Accident proneness gradually receded in importance in programs to prevent accidents. The idea of accident proneness was a concept that existed for a long time at the edges but never was pulled into the mainstream of medical thinking. Accident proneness represented a transition from carelessness and recklessness. The idea of accident proneness had substantial presence in evolving professions and communities of experts in the twentieth century, sometimes illuminating particular aspects of the history of psychology and medicine.

Keywords:   accident proneness, social strategy, Europeanized countries, medical thinking, carelessness, recklessness, psychology, medicine

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