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TechnologyCritical History of a Concept$
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Eric Schatzberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226583839

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226584027.001.0001

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Science and Technology between the World Wars

Science and Technology between the World Wars

(p.174) Eleven Science and Technology between the World Wars

Eric Schatzberg

University of Chicago Press

A sustained discourse about the relationship between science and technology only emerged after World War I. This discourse drew on the nineteenth-century concept of applied science. But applied science was deeply ambiguous. It could refer to a field of practical knowledge, or it could imply the applications of academic science. Before World War II, some academics, mainly in the social sciences, defined technology as applied science. Sustained discussion of the science-technology relationship first emerged in the 1930s, not from natural scientists, social scientists, or engineers, but rather from historians of science. Historians of science drew from the Continental discourse of Technik to develop their own approach to the science-technology relationship. These scholars were responding in part to Soviet Marxists who presented a materialist approach to the history of science in a famous 1931 conference session, published as Science at the Cross Roads.

Keywords:   science-technology relationship, applied science, history of science, Science at the Cross Roads

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