By Peter Burke
Peter Burke follows up his magisterial Social heritage of information, deciding upon up the place the 1st quantity left off round 1750 on the ebook of the French Encyclopédie and following the tale via to Wikipedia. just like the earlier quantity, it deals a social heritage (or a retrospective sociology of data) within the experience that it focuses now not on contributors yet on teams, associations, collective practices and common trends.
The booklet is split into three components. the 1st argues that actions which seem to be undying - accumulating wisdom, analysing, disseminating and making use of it - are actually time-bound and take assorted types in several sessions and locations. the second one half attempts to counter the tendency to write down a triumphalist historical past of the 'growth' of information via discussing losses of information and the cost of specialization. The 3rd half deals geographical, sociological and chronological overviews, contrasting the adventure of centres and peripheries and arguing that every of the most traits of the interval - professionalization, secularization, nationalization, democratization, and so forth, coexisted and interacted with its opposite.
As ever, Peter Burke offers a breath-taking variety of scholarship in prose of exemplary readability and accessibility. This hugely expected moment quantity could be crucial studying around the humanities and social sciences.
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Extra info for A Social History of Knowledge, Volume 2: From the Encyclopaedia to Wikipedia
30 Geology was finally trumped by astronomy, presenting us with a universe that is not mere millions but billions of years old. In the 1920s, the American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble launched the idea of the universe starting with a ‘big bang’ – as an opponent of the theory, the British astronomer Fred Hoyle, memorably called it. When? Estimates vary, but some are as high as 10 thousand million years ago. Surveys To survey is to view something from a commanding position. Land surveying, in the sense of making measurements in order to determine the distance between different points, goes back at least as far as ancient Egypt, and some of the instruments used were invented by Arabs in the Middle Ages, but the practice was becoming more exact in our period, and it was also extended to many more 51 parts of the earth.
22 The launch of the artificial satellite Sputnik by the Russians (1957), closely followed by the foundation of the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, 1958), was supposed ‘to advance fundamental scientific knowledge’ as well as national prestige. The name of the American space shuttle Challenger (in service 1983–6) paid homage to the nineteenth-century ship. 23 In Search of Past Cultures A few expeditions in search of knowledge were concerned less with nature than with culture, past and present.
A number of ancient sites in Egypt were excavated by the Englishman Flinders Petrie (1880–). The city of Babylon was excavated by the German Robert Koldewey and the palace complex of Knossos in Crete by Arthur Evans (both from 1899 onwards). Spectacular discoveries remained to be made in the early twentieth century. The civilization of the Hittites began to be uncovered from 1906 onwards in excavations at Boghazkoi in Anatolia. The Tangut city of Khara-Khoto in western China was excavated by the Russian Pyotr Kozlov in 1907–9.
A Social History of Knowledge, Volume 2: From the Encyclopaedia to Wikipedia by Peter Burke