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    Industrial fatigue and the productive body: the science of work in Britain, c. 1900–1918

    Blayney, Steffan (2019) Industrial fatigue and the productive body: the science of work in Britain, c. 1900–1918. Social History of Medicine 32 (2), pp. 310-328. ISSN 0951-631X.

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    This article examines the emergence of ‘industrial fatigue’ as an object of medico-scientific enquiry and social anxiety in early-twentieth-century Britain. Between 1900 and 1918, industrial fatigue research became the basis of a new science of work, which I term ‘industrial physiology’. Drawing on François Guéry and Didier Deleule, I argue that industrial physiology is best understood as a science of ‘the productive body’. The worker was an object for medico-scientific intervention only insofar as they represented a constituent part of the machinery of industrial labour, while the individual body was, in turn, reimagined as a productive system in microcosm. In this context, industrial fatigue—defined as diminished capacity for productive work—emerged as the emblematic pathology of industrial civilisation. By 1918, it had become the central category in the scientific articulation of a conception of the body in which health was equated squarely with productive capacity.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): industrial fatigue, industrial physiology, productive body, Francois Guery, Didier Deleule
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2017 07:53
    Last Modified: 07 Mar 2022 18:06


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