By John Burnham

Technology calls for uniformity from people who come upon it. humans encountering expertise, besides the fact that, range from each other. Thinkers within the early 20th century, looking at the bleak results of interactions among people and machines—death by means of autos or dismemberment by way of manufacturing unit equipment, for example—developed the assumption of coincidence proneness: the tendency of a selected individual to have extra injuries than most folk. In tracing this idea from its beginning to its disappearance on the finish of the 20 th century, Accident providers offers a distinct heritage of know-how centred now not on options yet on their accidental consequences.

Here, John C. Burnham indicates that because the computing device period improved, the actual and monetary impression of injuries coevolved with the increase of the assurance and tendencies in twentieth-century psychology. After international struggle I, psychologists decided that a few individuals are extra twist of fate providers than others. This designation signaled a shift in social method towards minimizing injuries by way of diverting specific humans clear of risky environments. via the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies, despite the fact that, the assumption of twist of fate proneness progressively declined, and engineers built new applied sciences to guard everyone, thereby introducing a hidden, yet radical, egalitarianism.

            mendacity on the intersection of the heritage of know-how, the historical past of medication and psychology, and environmental heritage, Accident Prone is an formidable highbrow research of the beginning, progress, and decline of an idea that may curiosity an individual who needs to appreciate how Western societies have grappled with the human bills of recent life.

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Extra resources for Accident Prone: A History of Technology, Psychology, and Misfits of the Machine Age

Example text

They set up programs of training to minimize clumsiness. 45 When clinicians of various kinds in the late twentieth century wrote and spoke of clumsiness, however, their focus was entirely on helping the individual child or patient. 46 People framed accident proneness, by contrast, in a social context and as a social problem. Earlier clinicians and educators of course had noticed clumsy people. At the turn of the twentieth century, insofar as people were clumsy, those people were considered to lack graceful movement and motor skills.

Nevertheless Marbe had succeeded in bringing into applied psychology and safety literature some familiarity with the concept of accident prone people. Writers on the Continent, particularly, cited his work for decades after the 1920s, albeit at a diminishing rate. Marbe was active in the international psychotechnology organization in the 1920s, and in 1927 he headed a committee on the psychology of accidents. Then in 1928, none of the members attending the meeting of the psychotechnologists in Utrecht could have missed knowing about the idea of accident proneness.

But Grüb now attempted to find what elements in the workers’ personalities could be associated with an elevated incidence of accidents. He examined one hundred railway workers for various characteristics, and the most important personality traits that he could associate with accident rate were such things as alertness, attentiveness, concentration, and prudence. Grüb pointed out that it would be possible to test employees for these characteristics, and he also pointed out that these were characteristics that involved habits beyond the inborn personality.

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