Pub. Date:
The Eclipse of the Utopias of Labor

The Eclipse of the Utopias of Labor

by Anson Rabinbach


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Friday, October 29


The Eclipse of the Utopias of Labor traces the shift from the eighteenth-century concept of man as machine to the late twentieth-century notion of digital organisms. Step by step—from Jacques de Vaucanson and his Digesting Duck, through Karl Marx’s Capital, Hermann von Helmholtz’s social thermodynamics, Albert Speer’s Beauty of Labor program in Nazi Germany, and on to the post-Fordist workplace, Rabinbach shows how society, the body, and labor utopias dreamt up future societies and worked to bring them about.

This masterful follow-up to The Human Motor, Rabinbach’s brilliant study of the European science of work, bridges intellectual history, labor history, and the history of the body. It shows the intellectual and policy reasons as to how a utopia of the body as motor won wide acceptance and moved beyond the “man as machine” model before tracing its steep decline after 1945—and along with it the eclipse of the great hopes that a more efficient workplace could provide the basis of a new, more socially satisfactory society.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823278572
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Series: Forms of Living
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Anson Rabinbach is Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University. Among his recent books is The Third Reich Sourcebook.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 From Mimetic Machines to Digital Organisms 1

2 Social Energeticism in Fin-de-Siècle Europe 28

3 Social Knowledge and the Politics of Industrial Accidents 53

4 Neurasthenia and Modernity 91

5 Psychotechnics and Politics in Weimar Germany 100

6 The Aesthetics of Production in the Third Reich 125

7 Metaphors of the Machine in the Post-Fordist Era 153

Notes 175

Index 217

Customer Reviews