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1This short article explores how “partisan thinking” presents itself in the borderlands of science. As science conforms to an objectivity norm, and objectivity is incompatible with the partisan mindset, to discover a latent partisan notion in scientific discourse is to lay bare a contradictio in adjecto. It follows that any partisan elements identified should be placed on the edges of, or even outside, the domain of science. The term “partisan thinking” is a close neighbor to ideology, and so I will briefly review the meaning of each word and explain how they might be distinguished. I will then introduce two examples—the Anthropocene and the French concept of technique—that seem to me to illustrate the presence of partisan thinking in the realm of science and technology. By two very different routes, each of these ideas carries echoes of the Cold War, and this is clearly of interest to us in seeking to understand how they came to be formed and to pass into popular usage.

Ideology and partisan thinking

2Ideology has always been a favorite topic for the sociology of knowledge, although slightly less so today now that we are said to have reached the “end of ideology,” a theory first mooted in the 1950s, amid the escalation of the Cold War, and that need not concern us here. [1]

3Ideology is not a concept but a notion, [2] and its meaning tends to shift depending on the user and his or her particular point of view. Classical sociologists define ideology with varying degrees of precision; Karl Mannheim offers no outright definition, whereas Edward Shils proffers a whole schema of distinguishing features. By comparing the classical texts on ideology (Marx and Engels, [3] Mannheim, [4] Gramsci, [5] Shils, [6] Rocher, [7] Baechler, [8] Bourdieu and Boltanski, [9] and Boudon [10]), we can sift out the conditions that elevate a mere collection of ideas to an ideology:

c1.An ideology is an organized system of ideas: “an interdependent system of meanings” (Mannheim); “system of ideas”; “every ideology seeks to present itself as a science” (Gramsci) [11]; “explicitness of formulation; intended systemic integration around a particular moral or cognitive belief” (Shils); “a system of ideas and judgements, which are explicit and generally organized” (Rocher); “a doctrine based on scientific reasoning” (Boudon).
c2.An ideology has a normative-prescriptive quality: “an erroneously founded set of moral axioms” (Mannheim); “imperativeness of manifestation in conduct” (Shils); “ideology refers a great deal to values, by which it is inspired” (Rocher); “ideologies are doctrines. . . combining in varying ratios prescriptive propositions and descriptive propositions” (Boudon).
c3.Ideology seeks consent: “Let us liberate them from the chimeras, the ideas, dogmas, imaginary beings under the yoke of which they are pining away. Let us revolt against the rule of thoughts; “mystification” (Marx and Engels); “consensus demanded of those who accept them [ideologies]” (Shils); “to preserve. . . the group’s belief in the necessity and legitimacy of its acts” (Bourdieu and Boltanski); “a doctrine. . . endowed with excessive or unjustified credibility” (Boudon).
c4.Ideology is oriented toward its own realization: “they are actually embodied in practice” (Mannheim); “ideology. . . a practical instrument for organizing a party, indeed an international of parties, and for a course of action in practice” (Gramsci); “association with a corporate body intended to realize the pattern of beliefs” (Shils); “[ideologies] suggest a precise orientation to the historical action of this group or collectivity” (Rocher); “it seeks to realize a value through the exercise of power in a society” (Baechler); “its primary function is as a guide for action”; “a prophecy that works toward its own realization” (Bourdieu and Boltanski).
c5.Ideology legitimizes power relations: “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force” (Marx and Engels); “ideology. . . a practical instrument of domination and social hegemony” (Gramsci); “its generic function of self-legitimization, i.e. the legitimization of a form of domination” (Bourdieu and Boltanski).
c6.Once exposed, ideology is immediately perceived as false: “Hitherto men have constantly made up for themselves false conceptions about themselves”; “philosophic charlatanry”; “almost the whole ideology amounts either to a distorted conception of this history or to a complete abstraction from it”; “false consciousness” (Marx and Engels); “departs from reality”; “ideological states of mind which were incongruent with reality” (Mannheim); “false ideas”; “dubious theories” (Boudon).

4These six conditions are not all of equal importance. Condition c1 (an organized system) propels ideology into the immediate environs of science. For this reason, a scientific ideology is more difficult to unmask than a political one. Condition c3 (consent) purports to explain how social consent is established and normalized. Condition c6 (falsity) is fundamental to the notion of ideology, which is identified by its dislocation from reality. In turn, it prompts us to question the objectivity of scientific description and explanation.

5Thus defined, ideology shares certain characteristics with the related forms of thinking, some of which we have already mentioned.

6Religion meets all of the essential conditions for ideology with the exception of condition c4. It is often said that Marx regarded religion as a form of ideology, which is only true if we are talking about ideology in general, that is, intellectual products that form part of the superstructure. Sometimes translation forces inclusivity, for instance when “Die Moral, Religion, Metaphysik und sonstige Ideologie” is rendered as “La morale, la religion, la métaphysique et le reste de l’idéologie,” or indeed “Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology.” [12] Elsewhere in Marx’s texts, religion and ideology are seen as separate modes, for example when critiques of communism are levied “from a religious, a philosophical, and, generally, from an ideological standpoint.” [13] The key difference between the two terms is that religion is concerned with transcendence rather than a specific way of organizing society. In short, religion = (ideology – c4).

7Mannheim regards the utopia as distinct from ideology. While ideology keeps the individual “within the bounds of the present order,” a utopian has “burst the bonds of the existing order.” If we look at our set of defining criteria with this distinction in mind, we can see that the utopia fulfils all but two. Situated outside of space and time, a utopia is not concerned with its own material realization (c4), nor does it legitimize power relations (c5). In contrast, ideologies—such as capitalism or Fordism—are always given expression in the physical world through action. In short: utopia = (ideology – c4 – c5).

8Theory, which hallowed authors from Gramsci to Althusser straightforwardly classify under science, bears some resemblance to ideology in the sense that a theory is an organized system of ideas that invites our acceptance. However, we can immediately see that the kind of acceptance sought by a theory has little to do with the emotional consent triggered by certain ideologies and certain religions. Theory differs from ideology in two fundamental ways: its lack of a normative-prescriptive quality—a theory does not pursue its own realization, at least outside of the applied sciences—and, most importantly, by its true character. In short: theory = (ideology – c2 – c4 – c6).

9We might well ask whether the conventional vocabulary presented above is sufficient to describe reality, or if a new, para-ideological terminology can be identified.

10Here, I propose the term “partisan thinking” to denote any idea that is firmly accepted by a given social group; is mobilized by that group in opposition to an antagonistic group, real or imagined; and whose very content is distorted by that opposition.

11Partisan thinking is not ideology, but a near neighbor. Before going forward, we need to be clear that incidences of scientific ideology do exist. Trofim D. Lysenko’s theory of inherited traits or Olga B. Lepeshinskaya’s cell theory were both pseudoscientific ideologies, inspired by the Soviet doctrines of the 1930s. Both partisan thinking and ideologies such as these can be described as systems of organized ideas (c1), as having a normative-prescriptive quality (c2), as inviting consent (c3), and as false (c6). However, unlike ideology, partisan thinking is not leveraged to serve a particular course of action. Those who defend it do not seek to realize their ideas through political action (c4), and so it cannot be said to legitimize power relations, except incidentally (c5). In short: partisan thinking = (ideology – c4 – c5).

12So far, our definitions of partisan thinking and utopia are based on the same conditions, but a distinction must be drawn between them. This distinction can be neatly expressed by adding a nuance to condition c4. The absence of a will to material realization in a utopia results from the fact that a utopia is oriented toward some vaguely imagined future. Partisan thinking, on the other hand, is oriented toward reality, but it lacks material realization because it has no real traction in that reality. It may, for example, be a historical relic of a long-vanished antagonism.

13Having established these definitions, I will now present two examples of points where science, governed by the objectivity norm, and partisan thinking, biased by definition, come together.

The Anthropocene [14]

14The Anthropocene is a hypothetical concept denoting a new geological epoch, coinciding with the beginning of the industrial revolution, in which humanity is said to have become the primary agent of geological change. Owing to its direct link with the issue of climate change (and indirect link to the low-carbon economy), this idea has received a great deal of media attention. [15] The neologism “Anthropocene” was officially introduced by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000, although Stoermer states that he “began using the term. . . in the 1980s.” [16]

15In maintaining that the term was first coined in the 1980s, entering popular usage in 2000, proponents of this notion overlook a key episode in its development.

16The Russian word антропоген (Anthropogene, with a “g”) was in use in the USSR as early as the 1920s as an alternative name for the period known in the West as the Quaternary. The origins of the concept were remarked upon by Soviet geologists at the time. Reviewing the papers presented at the Second International Conference on Quaternary Studies in Leningrad in September 1932, Ivan M. Gubkin writes: “Some authors (A. Pavlov, A. Zhirmunskiy) even suggest that the name of this period should be changed from Quaternary to Anthropogene [Pavlov] or to the Anthropozoic [Zhirmunskiy], in order to emphasize man’s role as a [modifying] geological factor.” [17]

17The term “Anthropogene” was introduced by the geologist, stratigrapher, and paleontologist Aleksey P. Pavlov (1854–1929), in a lecture delivered at the Academy of Sciences on December 29, 1921. The lecture was entitled: “Glacial and Interglacial Periods in Europe and Their Relationship to the History of Fossil Man.” [18] The expressions антропоген (Anthropogene) and антропогеновый период (the anthropogenic period) were widely adopted by Russian geologists over subsequent decades.

18During the Cold War, Russian scientific literature was translated into English as part of a bid to gain strategic control of information. Articles in the fields of biology and geology were translated by the American Institute of Biological Sciences in Washington. The first known occurrence of the word “Anthropocene” appears in a translation of an article by the biologist Nikolay N. Vorontsov (1934–2000), published in the Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR/Proceedings of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1960. Here is the original passage, and its translation:


Темпы эволюции иожно-американских хомяков очень высоки—в течение плиоцена и антропогена здесь сформировались более 40 родов, причем ряд из них достиг уровня триб и подтриб.
The tempo of evolution in South American hamsters was very rapid—in the course of the Pliocene and Anthropocene 40 genera were formed here, at which time a series of them attained the level of tribe and subtribe. [19]

20Notice that “Anthropogene” has been translated as “Anthropocene,” due to the proximity of the words “Pliocene” and “Holocene” in the text, which invites a homogenization of the suffixes -gene and -cene. It was by this route that “Anthropocene” made its first appearance in a Western language, English, in 1960.

21Between 1960 and 1975, the word “Anthropocene” was taken up by numerous publications, including Bibliography of Agriculture 25 (1961): 4; International Geological Congress: Report of the Twenty-First Session, Norden (1963): 309; Geochemistry International 3 (1966): 950; Doklady: Biological Sciences Sections 172 (1967): 62; Quarterly Review of Biology 43 (1968): 337; Radiocarbon 10: 464; and Great Soviet Encyclopedia 6 (1975): 414. [20] Its popularity was most likely given a boost by parallel schools of thought that emerged over the same period, such as ecological anthropocentrism. [21]

22Finally, it is worth noting that the American series of Doklady is preserved in the archives of the University of Michigan (indexed under shelf number QH301.A293), where Eugene Stoermer taught.

23Conclusion. The word “Anthropocene” was not invented by Stoermer in the 1980s and popularized by Stoermer and Crutzen in 2000. In presenting it as a “new concept,” these authors overlooked the fact that it had already been coined by Pavlov in 1921, before being translated into several Western European languages, including English (1960) and French (1963).

24By cultivating a kind of amnesia in relation to its own history, this partisan notion bears some relation to the process that in the history of science is called “obliteration by incorporation” (OBI), as coined by Robert K. Merton and then popularized by Eugene Garfield. However, the mechanisms that produce it are quite different. OBI occurs when the originators of a concept are forgotten and fall into obscurity as it becomes absorbed into common usage: “The transmitters may be so familiar with its origins that they mistakenly assume these to be well known. Preferring not to insult their readers’ knowledgeability, they do not cite the original source or even refer to it. And so it turns out that the altogether innocent transmitter becomes identified as the originator of the idea.” [22] In contrast, the partisan “forgetting” of the notion of the Anthropocene was the result of the curtailment of scientific exchange between the two blocs over the course of the Cold War, and the opportunity this offered the West to resurrect an idea developed by the other side.

Technique [23]

25The word technologie in French has two primary meanings: the science of techniques, that is, the systematic description of industrial processes (meaning 1: Beckmann); and the application of scientific knowledge to the arts and trades (meaning 2: Bigelow). [24] This second understanding reflects how it is most commonly used today, in both French and English: “the practical application of knowledge” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).

26It is striking to observe the fierce resistance of French historians and philosophers writing in the 1970s to the word technologie, and their unanimous preference for techniques.


Cellard: Today, this pretentious and revealing abuse is endemic. . . 95 percent of the time the use of the word technologie, -gique is nothing more than a jarring and heavy-handed malapropism.
Guillerme: In the eyes of those who consider polysemy as evil, technologie is among those words most commonly subjected to linguistic casuistry. . . the semantic fate of the word technologie can be understood and explained as the effect of a perverse style of writing that collapses into synonymy.
Sigaut: But what is technologie?. . . Increasingly, technologie has become a kind of learned—or pedantic—superlative of technique. . .. The root of this abuse is well known; it is the habit French-speakers picked up after the last war of adapting the Anglo-American term technology, without realizing that technique had the same meaning in our language.
Séris: Cellard, and many others besides, was quite right to protest that in 95 percent of cases, the assimilation into French of the Anglo-American term technology produces “a jarring and heavy-handed malapropism” that displays an ignorance of the word’s existing meaning in our language. [25]

28So implacable was their resistance that, on the foundation of ICOHTEC (the International Committee for the History of Technology) on August 27, 1968, the organization’s first General Secretary, Maurice Daumas, translated its name by rendering the English “technology” as the French technique. Thus, it came to be known as the Comité pour la coopération internationale en histoire des techniques. [26] Does the word technologie deserve to be scorned as an adulterated form of French, given that: a) It is accused of being a US import; and b) the resulting Anglicism is regarded as having corrupted the original meaning of the French word technologie: a systematic description of techniques (meaning 1), rather than the practical application of science (meaning 2)?

29If we probe deeper into this controversy, there are a few surprises in store. The truth is that the word technologie in the sense of meaning 2, generally attributed to Bigelow, was in use in France as early as the Enlightenment. Indeed, while in 1702 Abel Boyer’s Dictionnaire Royal françois et anglois defined the English word “technology” as: “Technologies, Description des Arts Mechaniques,” the 1768 version opts for a literal translation: “Technology, f. technologie, f.” [27] This is the first stumbling block for those who argue for a semantic difference between the French and the English, or who regard the word as an Anglicism that crept in after the Second World War.

30More problematic, however, is the discovery that use of meaning 2 spiked sharply at the time of the French revolution. Francœur’s Dictionnaire technologique (1822) is too recent to be of any use here, defining technologie as “the application of science to the arts.” [28] This meaning was sufficiently well established by the tenth year of the Republic (1802) for Beckmann’s definition to draw the ire of this reviewer of his Anleitung zur Technologie: “Technology, moreover, is by no means a science in its own right, but rather the application of science, in general, to the practicalities of life. As such, it requires more than an elementary knowledge of these sciences.” [29]

31A few years earlier, on the eighth day of Vendemiaire in the third year of the Republic (1794), Abbé Grégoire had circulated his Rapport sur l’établissement d’un Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers [Report on the Establishment of a Conservatory of Arts and Trades], in which he argued, among other things, that “it is vital that we settle and standardize [the meaning of] technologie.” [30] The grounds for such a measure can only be understood in the context of the Ancien Régime, at a time when artisanal knowledge was prolific within guilds but in relative obscurity, with significant regional variations. After the guilds were abolished by the Le Chapelier Law of 1791, technical terms were no longer a closely guarded secret, and there was a need to define them in simple terms.

32Revolutionary Paris also set about overhauling the education system. On April 20 and 21, 1792, Condorcet presented his Rapport sur l’organisation générale de l’instruction publique [Report on the General Organization of Public Schooling] to the Legislative Assembly. He proposed a national learned society with four divisions, the third of which would be called “Application of Science to the Arts.” This interest in technology and the applied sciences can also be found further downstream. The Lycée des arts, which was founded by Desaudray in 1792 and took up residence in the Cirque du Palais Égalité in April 1793, engaged Jean-Henri Hassenfratz to give lessons on technology. The syllabus for the first year reads: “Technologie: General description of arts and trades. Examination of mechanical components and their application to built machines. Understanding of the steps and processes involved in manufacturing. Taught by citizen Hassenfratz.” [31] Hassenfratz seems to have split his time between two schools, because we find the same description in the syllabus for the Lycée Républicain—an offshoot of the former Musée de Pilâtre de Rozier. [32] Since Hassenfratz continued to teach this course for over a decade, we can trace how it evolved from year to year. In the first year of the Republic (1793), the syllabus evokes both meaning 1 and meaning 2: “Technologie: General description of arts and trades. Examination of mechanical components and their application to built machines. Understanding of the steps and processes involved in manufacturing. Taught by Hassenfratz.” By the ninth year of the Republic (1800), meaning 1 had been abandoned: “C[itizen] Hassenfratz will teach Technologie, or the application of science to the arts and trades” (my italics). This definition would remain in use after the Lycée was remodeled as the Athénée de Paris; in the syllabus for the thirteenth year of the Republic (1804), we find: “Technologie, or the application of science to the arts and trades. M. Hassenfratz, Mining Engineer.” [33]

33Contrary to the prevailing view in the 1970s, the word technologie in French has never been confined to the “pure” meaning of a description of techniques. Documentary evidence confirms that, from the late eighteenth century on, technologie was widely understood as the application of science to the arts and trades and, by extension, the arts and trades as enhanced by science. Meaning 2, then, is no calque; this meaning is documented in French ten years before Beckmann’s book appeared in German, and sixty years before Bigelow’s work was published in the United States.

34Conclusion. The French antipathy toward the word technologie, on the grounds of its alleged American overtones, is an artefact of a policy of non-alignment in scientific research during the Cold War period, particularly among the founders of ICOHTEC—Eugeniusz Olszewski (Poland), Semyon V. Shukhardin (USSR), Melvin Kranzberg (USA), and Maurice Daumas (France)—at the time when it was becoming established, that is, between 1965 and 1968. [34] The technical historian Emmanuel Grison notes that, for Maurice Daumas, “the term technique was deliberately chosen and imbued with a personal significance. As a philosophical choice, Daumas preferred to speak of the historical evolution of techniques, rather than of technologie, because it is through the application of techniques that men craft, manipulate, and develop things. The term technologie is, therefore, a neologism, which understood correctly denotes knowledge of techniques and not the techniques themselves.” [35] As techniques and technologie relate to infrastructures and superstructures respectively, [36] by choosing the word technique Daumas was expressing his eagerness to prevent the history of techniques being told from the top down, from the point of view of the dominant power—i.e., the USA. Of course, the fact that the word technologie was used in France well before it appeared in American English is a fatal blow to this argument, which is a pure product of the kind of partisan thinking that prospered in the context of the Cold War.


35The two examples that we have discussed both demonstrate the value of identifying partisan thinking as a distinct para-ideological phenomenon. Without this concept, the Anthropocene and technique, which are neither ideologies, nor religions, nor utopias, nor theories, are left at most to provoke a sense of unease, and yet this unease remains undefined. Better, surely, to apply a label to it.

36The concept of partisan thinking allows us to flush out certain notions from their hidden refuges in scientific discourse, notions that ought to be relegated to their rightful position on the edges of, or even outside, the domain of science. It goes without saying that it is not vagueness per se that marks out a notion as incompatible with scientific objectivity. I think there is a good argument for extending this enquiry to other notions that might, at first glance, appear to fall into the same category, such as “post-normal science,” proposed by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz, [37] or “mode 2,” introduced by Helga Nowotny et al. [38] Still, without a deeper analysis, it is impossible to ascertain how these ideas should be classified: as examples of ideology, or of partisan thinking. [39]


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    Raymond Aron, The Opium of the Intellectuals, trans. Terence Kilmartin (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2001); Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties (Glencoe: The Free Press, 1960). The idea of the “end of ideology” has been embraced in different ways by different authors. Marxist scholars have frequently claimed that this idea, one of the cornerstones of neoconservative thought, is itself an ideology; see Henri Lefebvre, La fin de l’histoire (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1970). More recently, this critique has taken a more empirical turn. A number of authors have shown that, while historical ideologies have fallen out of favor—Marxism, for example—others have now stepped forward to take their place, such as feminism or environmentalism. Bell’s The End of Ideology went on to inspire various experimental studies in psychology: John T. Jost, “The End of the End of Ideology,” American Psychologist 61, no.7 (2006): 651–70; John T. Jost, Alison Ledgerwood, and Curtis D. Hardin, “Shared Reality, System Justification, and the Relational Basis of Ideological Beliefs,” Social and Personality Psychology Compass 2, no. 1 (2007): 171–86. The authors of one field study, for example, assert that “predictions of the death of ideology, with the benefit of fifty years of hindsight, seem to be based on nothing but illusion,” Danic Parenteau and Ian Parenteau, Les idéologies politiques (Quebec City: Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2008), 3. [Translator’s note: Our translation. Unless otherwise stated, all translations of cited foreign language material in this article are our own.]
  • [2]
    On the difference between a concept and a notion, and how we might bring clarity to notions that are poorly defined, see, for example, Dominique Raynaud, “Inside the Ghetto: Using a Table of Contingency and Cladistic Methods for Definitional Purposes,” Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique 133 (2017): 5–28.
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    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Die deutsche Ideologie, vol. 3 (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1969 [1846], 5–530, and its English translation: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology: Part One with Selections from Parts Two and Three, ed. Christopher J. Arthur (New York: International Publishers, 2004).
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    Karl Mannheim, Ideologie und Utopie (Bonn: F. Cohen, 1929); translated into English by Louis Wirth as Ideology and Utopia: Collected Works Volume One (Abingdon: Routledge: 1997).
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    Antonio Gramsci, Quaderni del carcere (Turin: Einaudi, 1975); translated into English by Joseph Buttigieg as Prison Notebooks, vols 1 and 2 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992, 1996). See also Lettere dal carcere. 1926–1937 (Turin: Einaudi, 1947), most notably letter 264 of May 9, 1932.
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    Edward Shils, “The Concept and Function of Ideology,” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol. 7 (New York: Macmillan/The Free Press, 1968), 66–75.
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    Guy Rocher, “Culture, Civilization and Ideology,” in A General Introduction to Sociology: A Theoretical Perspective, trans. Peta Sheriff (Calcutta: International Publishers, 2004).
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    Jean Baechler, Qu’est-ce que l’idéologie? (Paris: Gallimard, 1976).
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    Pierre Bourdieu and Luc Boltanski, “La production de l’idéologie dominante,” Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 2, nos. 2–3 (1976): 3–73.
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    Raymond Boudon, The Analysis of Ideology, trans. Malcolm Slater (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989).
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    Translator’s note: The translation of this quotation from Gramsci is our own from the French version of Quaderni del carcere (Cahiers de prison [Paris: Gallimard, 1983], 286 and 274).
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    Marx and Engels, Die deutsche Ideologie, 26 and Marx and Engels, The German Ideology, 47.
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    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” in Marx/Engels Selected Works, vol. 1, trans. Samuel Moore (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969 [1848]), 25, available at:
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    The methodology used in this article involved identifying the period over which a term was used, based on Ngram, then determining its earliest occurrences by searching Google Books and other digital archives. This method, its biases, and how these can be corrected are discussed in Dominique Raynaud, Qu’est-ce que la technologie? (Paris: Éditions matériologiques, 2016), 276. The research into the history of the word “Anthropocene” that I outline here was carried out on the request of Lionel Scotto d’Apollonia, who conducted a parallel actor-based study of this notion. Preliminary results of my study were presented by Scotto d’Apollonia in “L’épistémologie ‘molle’ de l’Anthropocène,” Sixième journée Épistémologie de l’Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, May 30–31, 2017.
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    This notion has been widely adopted in the earth sciences literature: Paul J. Crutzen and Eugene F. Stoermer, “The Anthropocene,” IGBP Newsletter 41 (2000): 17–18; Paul J. Crutzen, “Geology of Mankind,” Nature 415 (2002): 23; William Steffen et al., “The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Perspectives,” Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A 369 (2011): 842–67; in the philosophy and history of science: Jacques Grinevald, “Le concept d’Anthropocène et son contexte historique et scientifique,” Entropia 12 (2012): 22–38; Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, The Shock of the Anthropocene: The Earth, History, and Us, trans. David Fernbach (London: Verso, 2016); in sociology: Bruno Latour, Facing Gaia, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2017); in geography: Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin, “Defining the Anthropocene,” Nature 519 (2015): 171–80; and in literature: Jeremy Davies, The Birth of the Anthropocene (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016), and so on.
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    “The concept of the Anthropocene, proposed by one of us [Crutzen] about a decade ago”; “I [Stoermer] began using the term ‘anthropocene’ in the 1980s.” William Steffen et al., The Anthropocene, 843.
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    “В связи с этим некоторые авторы (А. Павлов, А. Жирмунский) предлагают даже изменить название этой эры и дать четвертичному периоду наименование антропогена или антропозоя, подчеркивая этим ту роль, которую играл в ней человек в качестве геологического фактора,” И.M. Губкин, Основные задачи изучения четвертичных отложений, Социалистическая реконструкция и наука, Вып. 7 (1932): 9–41, 38.
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    А.П. Павлов, Ледниковые и межледниковые эпохи Европы в связи с историей ископаемого человека/“Époques glaciaires et interglaciaires d’Europe et leur rapport à l’histoire de l’homme fossile,” Бюллетень Московского общества испытателей природы. Отдел геологический, Bulletin de la Société des Naturalistes de Moscou. Section géologique 31, (1922): 23–81; reprinted in А.П. Павлов, Геологическая история европейских земель и морей в связи с историей ископаемого человека. Москва-Ленинград, Изд-во АН СССР (1936): 317.
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    Н. Н. Воронцов, Темпы эволюции хомяков (Cricetinae) и некоторые факторы, определяющие ее скорость, Доклады Академии наук СССР, Т. 133, no. 8 (1960): 980–3; translated by Nikolay N. Vorontsov as: “Tempo of Evolution in Hamsters (Cricetinae) and Some Factors Determining its Rate,” Doklady: Biological Sciences Sections 133, no. 8 (1960): 641.Online
  • [20]
    We will disregard the occurrence in Field Trip Resumes: English Translations. Translated and Published by the American Geological Institute Cooperating with the Comite Ejecutivo, 20th Congreso Geológico Internacional (Mexico City and Washington DC: American Geological Institute, 1956), 34, which I suspect may be a false positive.
  • [21]
    A legacy of the mystical teleology of Teilhard de Chardin, anthropocentrism found a defender in William Murdy, “Anthropocentrism: A Modern Version,” Science 187 (1975): 1168–72, who argues that it gives us a foothold for solving environmental problems: “Anthropocentrism is proposed as a valid and necessary point of view for mankind to adopt for consideration of his place in nature.” The problems with this view, which is based on the same premise as the notion of the Anthropocene, are as follows: 1. Given its links to teleological thinking or finalism, what is the epistemological status of this theory? 2. As we know that the advancement of knowledge has often depended on a rejection of anthropocentric ideas, how can this theory be reconciled with the notion of scientific progress?
  • [22]
    Robert K. Merton, On the Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993 [1965]), 218–9; see also Eugene Garfield, “The Obliteration Phenomenon,” Current Contents 51–52 (1975): 5–7.
  • [23]
    This section on techniques is a complementary text to Raynaud, Qu’est-ce que la technologie?
  • [24]
    Johann Beckmann, Anleitung zur Technologie (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck, 1777); Jacob Bigelow, Elements of Technology, Taken Chiefly from a Course of Lectures. . . on the Application of the Sciences to the Useful Arts (Boston: Hilliard, Gray, Little, and Wilkins, 1829). Bigelow’s book drew on his teaching work between 1816 and 1827.
  • [25]
    Jacques Cellard, “Langage,” Le Monde, March 23, 1980, xviii; Jacques Guillerme, “Les liens du sens dans l’histoire de la technologie,” Cahiers STS 2, “De la technique à la technologie,” (1984): 23; François Sigaut, “Haudricourt et la technologie,” in André-Georges Haudricourt, La technologie, science humaine. Recherches d’histoire et d’ethnologie des techniques (Paris: Éditions de la MSH, 1988), 9; Jean-Pierre Séris, La technique, (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1994), 3.
  • [26]
    Mirko D. Grmek, “12e Congrès international d’Histoire des sciences, Paris, 26-31 août 1968,” Revue d’histoire des sciences et de leurs applications 21, no. 4 (1968): 354. This title was retained in the proceedings of ICOHTEC’s first conference: René Taton and Maurice Daumas, Comité pour la coopération internationale en histoire des techniques, L’acquisition des techniques par les pays non-initiateurs (Pont-à-Mousson, 28 juin-7 juillet 1970) (Paris: Éd. du CNRS, 1973).
  • [27]
    Abel Boyer, Dictionnaire Royal, françois et anglois (The Hague: Meyndert Uytwerf, 1702, tau-tec; Lyon: J.M. Bruyset, 1768, TAS-TEE).
  • [28]
    Louis-Benjamin Francœur et al., Dictionnaire technologique, vol. 1. (Paris: Thomine et Fortic, 1822), xxvij.
  • [29]
    “Annonces,” Bulletin de la Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale 9 (1802): 80.
  • [30]
    Henri Grégoire, Rapport sur l’établissement d’un Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers par Grégoire, séance du 8 vendémiaire, l’an 3 de la République une et indivisible (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, an III [1794]), 11.
  • [31]
    “Lycée des Arts,” Magasin encyclopédique 52 (1793): 414.
  • [32]
    The two institutions have a rather complicated history. The establishment located on Rue Valois changed its name on several occasions, being variously known as Musée or Musée de Monsieur (1781–85), Lycée (1785–93), Lycée républicain (1793–1802), Athénée républicain or Athénée de Paris (1802–14), and finally Athénée Royal, in the period following the Bourbon Restoration (1814–48). The Lycée des Arts (1792–1802), which became the Athénée des arts de Paris (1802–66), was a separate institution. Following the 1799 fire, it moved from the Cirque Palais Égalité to a new base in l’Oratoire. Hassenfratz’s otherwise excellent biography does not make the distinction between these two establishments sufficiently clear. Emmanuel Grison, L’étonnant parcours du républicain J. H. Hassenfratz (1755–1827) (Paris: Presse de l’École des Mines, 1996), 178–82.
  • [33]
    “Lycée,” Journal encyclopédique ou universel 3 (April 10, 1793): 264; “Lycée républicain,” Magasin encyclopédique 4 (1800): 100; “Athénée de Paris,” La Décade philosophique, littéraire et politique, vol. 12 (1804): 186.
  • [34]
    Kranzberg describes the backdrop against which the organization was founded: “1968, the year of ICOHTEC’s ‘official birth,’—and of the Prague Spring—was a time when the Cold War was at its height—or, to the ‘thermometer-minded,’ at its lowest point if measured in terms of the deepening chilliness of the atmosphere between the Western nations and the Eastern European bloc, then dominated by the Soviet Union. . .. Hence, conflicting economic goals, political rivalries and antagonistic social ideologies might narrow technology’s potential benefits to mankind.” Melvin Kranzberg, “ICOHTEC: Some Informal Personal Reminiscences, in History of Technology, vol. 16, eds. Graham Hollister-Short and Frank James (Bloomsbury: Mansell Publishing, 1994), 139.
  • [35]
    Emmanuel Griset, Afterword to Arago, 1786–1853. La jeunesse de la science, by Maurice Dumas (Paris: Belin, 1987), 282.
  • [36]
    Daumas’s work bears various other traces of his Marxist background. “One hundred men studying the same problem at the same time obtain much greater results than a single man devoting himself to the same work for a period one hundred times as long” (Maurice Daumas, A History of Technology and Invention: The Origins of Technological Civilization [New York: Crown Publishers, 1970], 5) is a reworking of “A twelve masons, in their collective working day of 144 hours, make much more progress with the building than one mason could make working for 12 days, or 144 hours” (Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1 [London: Penguin Books, 1976], 445).
  • [37]
    Silvio O. Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz, “Science for the Post-Normal Age,” Futures 25, no. 7 (1993): 739–55; PNS 3 Symposium Post-Truth and a Crisis of Truth? Perspectives from Post-Normal Science and Extended Citizen Participation (Tübingen, September 25–26, 2017).
  • [38]
    Helga Nowotny, Peter Scott, and Michael Gibbons, Re-Thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001).
  • [39]
    Post-normal science does not fulfil condition c4 by virtue of its claim to provide “a response to the current tendencies to post-modernity,” but rather of its aim of making decisions “under conditions of some urgency” “on the basis of such uncertain inputs” (Funtowicz and Ravetz, “Science for the Post-Normal Age,” 739 and 742).
Dominique Raynaud
Université Grenoble Alpes
Uploaded on on 26/03/2020
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