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Vital MinimumNeed, Science, and Politics in Modern France$
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Dana Simmons

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226251561

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226251738.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 04 December 2021

Social Reform

Social Reform

(p.33) Chapter 3 Social Reform
Vital Minimum

Dana Simmons

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes an emerging technoscience of the welfare state. Nineteenth-century chemists designed a set of techniques for managing population and labor: use of the scale balance, input-output equations, food rationing and the science of work. These techniques played a key role in French public hygiene and social reform. Scientists began to trace relationships between consumption and labor, home and work, production and reproduction. Around the mid-nineteenth century, institutionalized populations such as schoolchildren, soldiers and prisoners served as model subjects. By the end of the ninteenth century, these techniques were applied to wage laborers.

Keywords:   wages, social question, hygiene, welfare, poverty, prison rations, science of work, consumption, nutrition

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