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Introduction: Problems and Approaches

  • Miwao Matsumoto
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series

Abstract

In both peacetime and wartime the scientific and technological revolution in shipbuilding was important in the creation of the infrastructure of industrial society and its development. Technologically, ships seem today to have reached saturation point and are of interest only to a small circle of historians of science and technology specializing in shipbuilding. In contrast, interest in industrialization and in particular the later phase of industrialization from the end of the nineteenth century onwards is widespread among sociologists, historians of science and technology, economic historians, political scientists and scholars in many other fields. This book examines the scientific and technological revolution in shipbuilding (abbreviated to the ship revolution hereafter) at the time when the later phase of industrialization, and particularly Japan’s heavy industrialization in the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, was starting. The two phenomena were profoundly related in the period this book mainly treats — from the 1880s to the 1930s. Within that period, the book focuses on the turn of the twentieth century, and the book’s points have as their general background the global competition for markets and resources that was one of the contributory causes of the First World War. The relations between the ship revolution and industrialization provide a significant prototype for the interaction of science and technology with industrial society since then.

Keywords

Technology Transfer Technological Revolution Institutional Structure Industrial Society Professional Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    What is striking about the college is that it placed great emphasis on scientific subjects (for example, mathematics, physics, chemistry, applied dynamics) relevant to the ongoing scientific and technological revolution in shipbuilding, and the recruitment of suitable professors to teach the subjects. See Report of the Committee Appointed to Inquire into the Establishment of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich (London, 1877), appendix no. 1. As for the background to the establishment of the college, see W. John, ‘On the Royal Naval College and the merchant marine’, Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects (abbreviated to TINA hereafter), vol. 19 (1878), pp. 120–36.Google Scholar
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    Giddens, The Class Structure of the Advanced Societies, p. 165. Although we can certainly find secondary sources mentioned in this context in references and notes, virtually no evidence seems to be adduced to prove the point straightforwardly. Compared with the ‘indigenous’ British industrialization, Marius B. Jansen and Lawrence Stone also state (concerning Japanese industrialization): ‘A ruthlessly modernizing section of the elite seized power in a highly authoritarian society, and deliberately discarded everything which did not contribute to strengthening the resources of the state.’ M. B. Jansen and L. Stone, ‘Education and modernization in Japan and England’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 9, no. 2 (1967), pp. 208–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    This becomes still more striking if it is remembered that the same author once pointed out the pitfalls of understanding Japanese industrialization as a process of co-opting science and technology to state control. See C. Kamatani, ‘Kigyo o chushin toshita kenkyu taisei no suii: Sono rekishiteki hatten no tokucho’ (Trends in the institutionalization of research with particular reference to company R&D), in T. Hiroshige (ed.) Nihon Shihonshugi to Kagaku Gijutsu (Capitalism, science and technology in Japan) (Tokyo: Sanichi Shobo, 1962), pp. 92–153.Google Scholar
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    As for the detailed examination of the point developed here, see M. Matsumoto, ‘Review: The road to techno-nationalism: Japanese modernization and national research institutes from the Meiji era’, Historia Scientiarum, no. 38 (1989), pp. 75–80.Google Scholar

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© Miwao Matsumoto 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miwao Matsumoto
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TokyoJapan

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