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Maarten Derksen awarded Cheiron Book Prize 2018

11 May 2018
Histories of Human Engineering: Tact and Technology
Histories of Human Engineering: Tact and Technology

Maarten Derksen’s book Histories of Human Engineering: Tact and Technology (Cambridge University Press, 2017) has been awarded with the prestigious 2018 Cheiron Book Prize. Cheiron is the international society for the history of behavioral and social sciences. According to the jury Derksen’s book ‘rose to the top in a field of candidates that was rich with excellent and interesting work.‘ Derksen will accept his Prize at the 50th Annual Meeting of Cheiron in Akron, Ohio (June). A prize citation will soon be posted on the Cheiron website https://www.uakron.edu/cheiron/.

About the book:

The dream of control over human behaviour is an old dream, shared by many cultures. This fascinating account of the histories of human engineering describes how technologies of managing individuals and groups were developed from the nineteenth century to the present day, ranging from brainwashing and mind control to Dale Carnegie's art of dealing with people. Derksen reveals that common to all of them is the perpetual tension between the desire to control people's behaviour and the resistance this provokes. Thus to influence other people successfully, technology had to be combined with tact: with a personal touch, with a subtle hint, or with outright deception, manipulations are made palatable or invisible. Combining psychological history and theory with insights from science and technology studies and rhetorical scholarship, Derksen offers a fresh perspective on human engineering that will appeal to those interested in the history of psychology and the history of technology.

Last modified:15 May 2018 4.16 p.m.
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