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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.219) Conclusion
Accident Prone
University of Chicago Press

This chapter highlights a number of interpretive contexts, including: the history of accidents, the history of safety movements, the history of psychology, the strategy of individual treatment, the great social shift to a technological society, and, by continual allusion, the eternal problem presented by the non-uniformity of human beings. The history of the idea of accident proneness provides insights into the ways in which people in Europeanized cultures interacted with their built environments, their technology. The “accident” became a spectacular as well as everyday problem in Europeanized societies. Accident proneness appears to fall into the common pattern of historic ideas that once flourished and then declined. It also shows how some of the modernist leaders tried to deal with unlucky people in their midst. It is noted that ignoring or ideologically denying individual differences in “inclination to accident” did not make the costs and tragedies go away.

Keywords:   accident proneness, safety movements, psychology, technology, individual treatment, Europeanized societies

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