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State, Science and the Skies. Governmentalities of the British Atmosphere. RGS–IBG Book Series

  • ID: 2245997
  • Book
  • September 2009
  • Region: United Kingdom
  • 296 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Contemporary concerns regarding climate change, the destruction of the ozone layer, and increased anxieties of the health risks associated with particulate air pollution, highlight the crucial importance of understanding what is happening in our atmosphere. This timely volume asserts that to comprehend contemporary atmospheric knowledge systems requires an examination of the spatial histories of the sciences and political regimes that have shaped systems of air government.

Focusing exclusively on the UK, the volume weaves together the tales of 19th–century urban smoke observers, early 20th–century visitors to clean–air exhibitions, and modern atmospheric scientists in order to reveal why we know certain things about the qualities of the air we breathe and how this knowledge has shaped collective relations with the atmosphere. In charting this history this volume combines Foucauldian–inspired accounts of the history of government with relevant works on the sociology of scientific knowledge. Utilizing extensive archival materials and informed by scholarly analysis, this groundbreaking work presents the first historical account of the development of a state science of atmospheric pollution.

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List of Figures and Tables.

Series Editors′ Preface.



List of Abbreviations.

1 Introduction: Space, History and the Governing of Air Pollution.

2 Historical Geographies of Science and Government: Exploring the Apparatus of Atmospheric Knowledge Acquisition.

3 Science, Sight and the Optics of Air Government 37

4 Governing Air Conduct: Exhibition, Examination and the Cultivation of the Atmospheric Self.

5 Instrumentation and the Sites of Atmospheric Monitoring.

6 A National Census of the Air: Spatial Science, Calculation and the Geo–Coding of the Atmosphere.

7 Automating the Air: Atmospheric Simulations and Digital Beings.

8 Environmental Governmentalities and the Ecological Coding of the British Atmosphere.

9 Conclusion: Learning Like a State in an Age of Atmospheric Change.




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Mark Whitehead
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