Book: Water Resources Management

Peter Mollinga, Anjali Bhat and S.V. Saravanan (eds), When policy meets reality : Political dynamics and the practice of integration in water resources management reform. Berlin : LIT Verlag, 2010

«Water policy initiatives often run into difficulties when they encounter the realities of really existing societies. Policies may not get implemented as planned, and may not achieve their stated objectives. Many things happen when policy initiatives travel from formulation to implementation. The papers in this volume examine the travel and appropriation of water policy by looking at the contestation and the embeddedness of water policy. Organised in the sequence everyday politics of water, politics of water policy, hydropolitics, global water politics, the papers constitute a call for a policy approach that replaces a social engineering with a strategic action perspective.»

Book: History of engineering contracting

Arjan van Rooij and Ernst Homburg, Building the plant: A history of engineering contracting in the Netherlands. Eindhoven/ Zutphen: Stichting Historie der Techniek/ Walburg Pers, 2002

« This book is on the history of companies involved in the design and construction of (petro)chemical plants, oil refineries, power plants, and of all sorts of installations for the process industries and the oil and gas off-shore industries. These companies are called engineering contractors. Names such as Foster-Wheeler, Linde, Lummus, Fluor Daniel, Uhde, Stone & Webster, Comprimo, Bechtel, Technip, Simon Carves, and Badger, to name just a few, are well-known to anyone working in the process industries. Together these companies, and their sub-contractors, employ hundreds of thousands of employees, and their turnover amounts to several billions of dollars. Nevertheless, most of the companies named are completely unknown to the public at large. The sector has definitely a ‘low profile’, and this is underlined by the fact that also among business historians and historians of technology hardly anyone has a clear understanding of the crucial role these engineering contractors play in the development and diffusion of technology. The present book, which focuses especially on the engineering contractors based in the Netherlands, is probably the first historical study devoted to this important branch of industry. There exists a limited number of books on the history of individual companies, but the history of the branch as a whole has not been studied before. »

Book: Sociology of Professional Groups

Didier Demazière & Charles Gadéa, Sociologie des groupes professionnels, Acquis récents et nouveaux défis, Paris, La Découverte, 2009

« Tantôt accusées d’accumuler les privilèges et de freiner la croissance, tantôt citées en modèle de travail de qualité et de métier prestigieux, les professions attirent une attention constante, aussi bien de la part des médias que des chercheurs. La recherche sociologique sur les groupes professionnels a connu un fort développement récent en France. Cet ouvrage en propose un large panorama, dégage des angles d’approche originaux et trace de nouvelles pistes d’analyse. Professions traditionnelles en déclin numérique et nouveaux métiers, activités « nobles » et métiers illicites, fonctions exercées en régime libéral, salarial, voire bénévole, le tableau dressé est vaste et varié. Il va des prêtres catholiques aux prostituées, en passant par les musiciens, les biologistes, les dompteurs de fauves, les ingénieurs, les conseillers bancaires, les infirmières, les notaires, les psychologues, les enseignants, etc.
Les auteurs déplacent ensuite la perspective pour traiter différentes questions : cadrage et contrôle du travail des professionnels dans les organisations ; régulation des professions et normalisation de leurs activités ; socialisation spécifique aux mondes professionnels ; relations entre les professionnels et leurs clients ou usagers ; modalités d’émergence de nouvelles professions et de disparition de certaines autres ; déroulements de carrière, fonctionnement des marchés du travail et inégalités entre hommes et femmes. »


Book: Les cadres

Paul Bouffartigue, Charles Gadéa, Sociologie des cadres, Paris, Editions La Découverte, 2000

« Depuis les années quatre-vingt-dix, il est question de  » banalisation « , de  » précarisation  » et de  » crise de confiance  » des cadres. La société française est-elle en train de se défaire de cette catégorie sociale originale, construite avec succès des années trente aux années soixante-dix ? Assiste-t-on à la fin du compromis social qui unissaient les cadres aux directions d’entreprise ? Ce livre relance le regard sociologique sur ce groupe social, après une quinzaine d’années de désintérêt, en le focalisant sur les cadres d’entreprise. Il fait le point sur les grandes évolutions de l’emploi des cadres, de leurs caractéristiques sociales et de leurs modes de vie. Il interroge le devenir des voies d’accès au statut cadre en cours de vie active. Il traite des grandes dimensions d’une déstabilisation – du chômage aux comportements syndicaux en passant par le travail et les carrières – dont les implications demeurent incertaines : allons-nous vers l’éclatement, voire la disparition des cadres comme catégorie distincte au sein du salariat ? »


Presentation: Engineers in Indian Cinema

Engineers in postcolonial India

Arundhati Virmani

Abstract of presentation in « Journée de l’Inde, Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, Aix-en Provence

28 May 2011

Since independence, projects of economic development and modernisation of Indian society attributed a legitimacy and a heightened social recognition to the engineer’s profession. Far from being a new profession, the engineer had nevertheless received a renewed social recognition as a result of British colonial policy of railway development and urban infrastructures from the end of the 18th century onwards. The present inquiry into the social responses and reception of the figure of the engineer after 1947, defined with reference to his skills and his technical knowledge in a society still strongly dominated by membership of caste or community is based on a corpus of Indian films produced since the 1950s when Nehru’s government set in motion a modernisation of the country founded on the principles of technical and practical knowledge.

A study of the cinematographic representations of the engineer in the different regional languages offers us a perception into the paths of insertion of this technical group in Indian society. Confronted with other professions such as doctors, lawyers, university professors or policemen, already well integrated in the social system, the engineer is seldom the protagonist of a fim. Hero of a national project led by elites who were products of the new meritocratic system, he is constantly obliged on the field to negotiate with prevailing working conditions and practices in order to achieve the transformation he is expected to to introduce in the urban and rural landscape of modern India. Bearer of practices expected to « revolutionize » society, he incarnatees the tensions between a knowledge imported form the West and the social values and traditions of his own caste or community. A comparison of films produced in the 1950s-1980s and the 1990s to dates highlight the shifts in the engineer’s place and rôle in Indian society and state structures. More recent films ofcourse focus on the figure of the computer engineer which highlight a new kind of tension : sought after in the international market, the engineer has abandoned the mission hitherto assigned to him of modernizing his own country. It remains to be seen if films simply mirror big social transformations or contribute to some of the key transformations in Indian society by suggesting new models of behaviour ?

Arundhati Virmani, after her PhD in history from the University of Paris I-Panthéon Sorbonne taught in Delhi University before moving to France where she taught in the University de Bordeaux. She currently teaches at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences sociales, Marseille.

Her publications include India : 1900-1947. Un Britannique au cœur du Raj (Paris, Autrement, 2001) and A National Flag for India. Rituals, Nationalism and the Politics of Sentiment (Delhi, Permanent Black, 2008)

Forthcoming Atlas historique de l’Inde (Paris, Autrement, 2012)

Emotional Pasts : Questions for Indian Political Culture (Delhi, Three Essays, 2012

Kaala Patthar [Black Stone] is a 1979 Indian drama film directed by Yash Chopra ; starring Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor who plays an engineer incharge of the mine.

Book: The Social Construction of Technology

Wiebe E. Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, Trevor Pinch (eds). The Social Construction of Technological Systems. New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts), London (England). 1999.

“The impact of technology on society is clear and unmistakable. The influence of society on technology is more subtle. The 13 essays in this book draw on a wide array of case studies from cooking stoves to missile systems, from 15th­century Portugal to today’s AI labs – to outline an original research program based on a synthesis of ideas from the social studies of science and the history of technology. Together they affirm the need for a study of technology that gives equal weight to technical, social, economic, and political questions.”

Table of Contents


1. Trevor Pinch and Wiebe E. Bijker.The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts. Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other

2. Thomas P. Hughes. The Evolution of Large Technological Systems

3. Michel Callon. Society in the Making The Study of Technology as a Tool for Sociological Analysis

4. John Law. Technology and Heterogeneous Engineering The Case of Portuguese Expansion

5. Henk van den Belt and Arie Rip. The Nelson-Winter-Dosi Model and Synthetic Dye Chemistry

6. Wiebe E. Bijker. The Social Construction of Bakelite Toward a Theory of Invention

7. Donald MacKenzie. Missile AccuracyA Case of Study in the Social Processes of Technological Change

8. Edward W. Constant. The Social Locus of Technological Practice Community, System, or Organization, III

9. Henk J.H.W. Bodewitz, Henk Buurma and Gerard H. de Vries. Regulatory Science and the Social Management of Trust in Medicine

10. Ruth Schwartz Cowan. The Consumption Junction. A Proposal for Research Strategies in the Sociology of Technology

11. Edward Yoxen. Seeing with SoundA Study of the Development of Medical Images

12. Steve Woolgar. Reconstructing Man and MachineA Note on Sociological Critiques of Cognitivism.

13. Harry M. Collins. Expert Systems and the Science of Knowledge

About the Editors

Wiebe E. Bijker is Professor of Technology & Society at the University of Maastricht.

Thomas P. Hughes is Professor of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Trevor Pinch is Professor of Science and Technology Studies and Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. He is the coeditor of How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (MIT Press, 2003) and the coauthor of Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer and other books.




Books: Engineering Ethics

Christelle Didier, Les ingénieurs et l’éthique : pour un regard sociologique, London, Hermes, 2008

« L’éthique est devenue un grand sujet de préoccupation dans de nombreux secteurs tels que la médecine, l’économie, le journalisme, le travail social mais aussi celui des sciences et des techniques. Les ingénieurs et l’éthique s’interroge sur les valeurs et l’identité d’une profession en prise avec d’importantes questions actuelles comme la pollution, les risques techniques et les inégalités sociales. Présentant les résultats d’une enquête sociologique réalisée sur près de 4 000 diplômés français, ce livre permet de mieux cerner le regard que portent les ingénieurs sur les sciences, les techniques et la société. Cet ouvrage offre une meilleure connaissance de l’univers des représentations d’un groupe social en pleine mutation. »


Christelle Didier, Penser l’éthique des ingénieurs, Paris, PUF, « Questions d’éthique », 2008

« Cet ouvrage propose des pistes pour interroger les enjeux éthiques de la technique à partir de l’un de ses principaux acteurs, l’ingénieur. Aux professionnels, il propose une réflexion sur leurs responsabilités individuelles et collectives. A ceux qui les forment, il indique des éléments pour aborder ces questions en cours. Aux spécialistes en sciences humaines et sociales, il dévoile un pan méconnu des recherches protant sur les professions techniques. Il offre à tous la possibilité de mieux connaître certains aspects de notre monde technique à travers celles et ceux qui y contribuent. »


About the Author

Christelle Didier is Associate Professor in the Ethics Department of the Lille Catholic University and Head of Engineering Ethics. She co-authored Éthique industrielle (Bruxelles, 1998) and contributes to the European Journal of Engineering Education



Delhi Technicological University: Alumni Conclave 2012

From Delhi Polytechnic to the Delhi Technicological University

Delhi College of Engineering, now Delhi Technologial University since 2010, is one of the premier colleges of Engineering education in India and has played unique and important role in the advancement of technical education. Established in 1941 as Delhi Polytechnic, Delhi College of Engineering has played the role of mother institution in establishing Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, School of Planning and Architecture-Delhi, College of Pharmacy-Delhi, College of Arts Delhi, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology-Delhi & many more institutions.

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Book: Water in South Asia

Peter Mollinga (ed), Water for Food and Rural Development. Approaches and Initiatives in South Asia, New Delhi, Sage, 2000

“This important book addresses two fundamental questions: First, what is the relation, in South Asia, between the development and use of water resources on the one hand, and food security and rural development on the other? Second, which innovative approaches and methodologies can help resolve the deadlock in water resources development and management?

This volume of 17 original essays presents views and experiences on these important questions from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The authors argue strongly for an integrated approach to water resource management which would make it part of the broader agenda of rural transformation. They cite concrete examples to show how a shift away from an exclusive focus on infrastructure development and increased production is possible in practice. All water-related interventions, they recommend, should be made conditional on the inclusion of strategies for sustainable biomass production; resource-rights and asset creation through generating employment (especially for the landless, the land-poor and women); equity in resource access and distribution; and principles of democratic planning and management.”

Contributors: Peter P. Mollinga, C.W.J. Roest, Tushaar Shah, Mahesh Banskota, Suresh R. Chalise, Syed Z. Sadeque, Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, Anjan Datta, M. Youssouf Ali, Upendra Gautam, Rajan Subedi, Kusum Athukorala, Zaigham Habib, Ajaya Dixit, Abid Shah, E.M. Shashidharan, Reema Nanavaty, K.R. Datye, Suhas Paranjape, K.J. Joy, Vijay Paranjpye, Lionel Siriwardena, …


Book: The Chemical Industry in Europe

Ernst Homburg, Anthony S. Travis, Harm G. Schröter (eds), The Chemical Industry in Europe, 1850-1914: Industrial Growth, Pollution and Professionalization, Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998

“This book analyses the development of the chemical industry during the Second Industrial Revolution in a large number of European countries. It is the first book-length study of the European chemical industry that pays proper attention to the importance of environmental issues, and to the role of the chemical profession both in industrial and in environmental matters. It is intended for a large audience of historians of technology and chemistry, social historians, economic and business historians, and historians of the environment.”

Contributors:  Ernst Homburg, Anthony S. Travis, Christian Simon, Hans Jorgen Styhr Petersen, Paolo Amat di San Filippo, Roman Mierzecki, Anders Lundgren, Harm G. Schröter,Sarah Wilmot, Peter Reed, Arne Andersen, James Donnelly, Stuart Bennett, Carsten Reinhardt, Wolfgang Wimmer, Gérard Emptoz, Anne-Claire Déré

Book: Indian Students in the UK before World War II

Sumita Mukherjee, Nationalism, Education and Migrant Identities. The England-returned, London, New York, Routledge, 2009

“This book examines the role western-education and social standing played in the development of Indian nationalism in the early twentieth century. It highlights the influences that education abroad had on a significant proportion of the Indian population. A large number of Indian students – including key figures such as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru – took up prominent positions in government service, industry or political movements after having spent their student years in Britain before the Second World War. Having reaped the benefits of the British educational system, they spearheaded movements in India that sought to gain independence from British rule. The author analyses the long-term impact of this short-term migration on Britain, South Asia and Empire and deals with issues of migrant identities and the ways in which travel shaped ideas about the ‘Self’ and ‘Home’. Through this study of the England-Returned, attention is drawn to contemporary concerns about the politicisation of foreign students and the antecedents of the growing South Asian student population in the USA and Europe today, as well as of Britain’s growing South Asian diaspora.”


“1. Introduction: The « England-Returned » 2. Indian Students in the UK (1900-1947) 3. Images of Britain, India and the « England-Returned » 4. The Social Interactions of the England-Returned 5. The Political Identities of the England-Returned 6. The Careers and Long-Term Impact of the England-Returned 7. Conclusion: The Future for the England-Returned. Notes. Bibliography. Index »