By John Burnham
Know-how calls for uniformity from people who stumble upon it. humans encountering expertise, even if, range from each other. Thinkers within the early 20th century, looking at the grim results of interactions among people and machines—death through autos or dismemberment by means of manufacturing facility 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 delivery to its disappearance on the finish of the 20th century, twist of fate companies deals a special historical past of expertise centred no longer on techniques yet on their accidental consequences.Here, John C. Burnham indicates that because the desktop period stepped forward, the actual and financial effect of injuries coevolved with the increase of the assurance and traits in twentieth-century psychology. After global struggle I, psychologists decided that a few everyone is extra twist of fate providers than others. This designation signaled a shift in social procedure towards minimizing injuries by means of diverting specific humans clear of risky environments. via the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, even if, the belief of twist of fate proneness steadily declined, and engineers built new applied sciences to guard each person, thereby introducing a hidden, yet radical, egalitarianism. mendacity on the intersection of the background of know-how, the heritage of drugs and psychology, and environmental background, coincidence companies is an formidable highbrow research of the beginning, progress, and decline of an idea that may curiosity somebody who needs to appreciate how Western societies have grappled with the human charges of contemporary existence. (20091217)
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Additional resources for Accident Prone: A History of Technology, Psychology, and Misfits of the Machine Age
Safety instruction and propaganda did work, he pointed out, as other writers had already shown in the psychotechnology literature. 30 These publications out of Marbe’s Würzburg institute and by the railway ofﬁcial who heard Marbe speak suggest that, by 1930, a small but substantial literature existed on Marbe’s theory. The authors cited not only Marbe but each other. Sometimes the inﬂuence went further. As early as 1927, Fritz Giese of Stuttgart in a textbook on business and industrial psychology mentioned Marbe’s theory in a short section on industrial accidents, noting that accidents and personality were connected in a regular way susceptible of investigation.
So there was not only a person who was clumsy but those who were “awkward,” “uncoordinated,” “gawky,” “bumbling,” “butterﬁngered,” and so on. 35 Not surprisingly, clumsiness has equivalents in languages other than English, and assembling versions of a precursor concept reveals that clumsiness represents a deﬁciency or decrement in the clumsy person. The idea of accident proneness, by contrast, had an additive connotation not commonly found in other pathological syndromes of that time. Bilingual colleagues and dictionaries, particularly historical dictionaries, disclose some basics inherent in this predecessor idea, clumsiness.
33 The idea is not even listed in German- or English-language dictionaries of the history of ideas. 34 In 2006, however, Judith Peters provided a chapter of background history of the recently deﬁned clinical syndrome, developmental coordination disorder, focusing on sensorimotor or movement dysfunction. She points out that lay language has consistently overlapped with efforts of professionals to ﬁnd terms that correspond with “the familiar temporary experience of motor difﬁculty” and the difﬁculties confronted by clinicians.