Tag Archives: Engineer


Today, the engineering profession, more than any other, seems to embody the transformations which affect contemporary India. It simultaneously symbolizes the rise of the hypothetical « middle classes » and the positioning of India as an emerging power in the international job market, since the country has become one of the preferred destinations of large technological firms. Each year, India awards 3,50,000 engineering degrees. Continue reading

Book: Des ingénieurs pour un monde nouveau. Histoire des enseignements electro-techniques (Europe-Amériques)

9782807600010Des ingénieurs pour un monde nouveau. Histoire des enseignements électrotechniques (Europe, Amériques) – XIXe–XXe siècle

Marcela Efmertová et André Grelon

 À partir des années 1880, l’électricité est progressivement devenue une technologie centrale, qui va procurer des biens et assurer des services nouveaux, bouleversant ainsi la production industrielle, l’économie et les pratiques sociales et culturelles. De confidentiel, son usage ne cessera de s’étendre, devenant massif et planétaire, et aujourd’hui indispensable jusqu’aux détails de la vie quotidienne. Pour fonder et déployer un système de production, de transport et de distribution efficaces de l’électricité dans tous les pays, pour concevoir, fabriquer et diffuser les machines, outils et objets divers fonctionnant par ce moyen, en somme pour former un monde nouveau, il faut former un corps de techniciens spécialisés : ce seront les ingénieurs électriciens, pour lesquels seront élaborés et mis en œuvre des cursus dédiés. Cet ouvrage retrace la naissance et la croissance de ces formations, à partir de la fin du XIXe siècle, en Europe et sur le continent américain, et leur rôle dans le développement des différents États. Issu des travaux d’un colloque international tenu à Prague, il rassemble les contributions de 28 historiens portant sur 15 pays.


Article : “IT firms have changed the game of entrepreneurship”

Published in The Hindu, 18th October 2016

An interview with Roland Lardinois

From studying the economic strength of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) firms in India to analysing the background of the person at the helm of these firms, a French senior sociologist has attempted to take a closer look into the sociography of the major companies of the ICT sector in India.

Continue reading : http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/it-firms-have-changed-the-game-of-entrepreneurship/article9232740.ece

Article : The historical roots of our engineering obsession

by Aparajith Ramnath

“The birth anniversary of M. Visvesvaraya (September 15) is marked each year as Engineer’s Day. As another Engineer’s Day arrives, the now-familiar statistics will be rolled out again: lakhs of engineering graduates are produced in India each year from the thousands of engineering colleges that dot the country. This should lead us to examine some questions. What is the secret behind Indians’ love affair with engineering? Are there socio-cultural factors that make the Indian particularly suited to engineering, or that make engineering particularly desirable to Indians?… “

Continue reading here : http://www.thehindu.com/thread/reflections/article9110857.ece


Book : Une histoire des ingénieurs civils des mines

Marco Bertilorenzi, Jean-Philippe Passaqui et Anne-Françoise Garçon, Entre technique et gestion, une histoire des « ingénieurs civils des mines », XIXe-XXe siècles, Paris, Presses des Mines, 2016

Présentation générale 

Les « ingénieurs civils des mines », longtemps restés dans l’ombre de ceux du Corps des mines, ont pourtant exercé une influence décisive dans le processus d’industrialisation en France et ailleurs. Issus tout d’abord des Écoles des mines de Paris et de Saint-Étienne, auxquelles se sont ensuite ajoutées celles d’Alès, de Douai, de Nancy, et enfin de Nantes et d’Albi, les ingénieurs civils des mines ont été, au cours des XIXe et XXe siècles, des acteurs majeurs, omniprésents, de l’industrialisation.

À quoi est due une telle réussite ? Le « complexe technique » des mines est intrinsèquement lié à d’autres industries, telles que la métallurgie et la chimie, et implique la maîtrise de compétences diversifiées, étoffées, afin de mener une exploitation rationnelle des ressources nationales. Cependant, les seules compétences techniques sont insuffisantes ; elles doivent être associées à une maîtrise complète de la gestion et de l’administration d’une entreprise industrielle, un savoir-faire dont disposent les ingénieurs civils des mines.

Continue reading

Website : Public Works Department History of services, Burma 1910-1947

The purpose is to briefly document the history of the Public Works Department (P.W.D.) from about 1910 to 1947 and to give some insight in respect to:
· The Engineers
·  The infrastructure projects of the time

The basis is historic reports available from resources published on the internet and the author’s observations of the period.  The author’s father was a Sub Divisional Officer of the P.W.D. from 1922 to 1955


Blog British Library : Engineering a career in India

“Copy despatches to India on the results of the final examinations” – a somewhat dry description of a file from the Public Works Department of the India Office.  It obscures the fact that the contents offer fascinating glimpses into the world of late Victorian technical education and the talents (or lack thereof) of the young men who underwent training in Britain before taking up positions in India. They passed through various courses of instruction at the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper’s Hill in Surrey, which opened in 1872.”


ENGIND Seminar : 17/06/16, EHESS Paris, Educating the Engineering Elite

IIT KanpurENGIND Seminar 17th June 2016, EHESS, Paris, Room N°662, 2-5 pm

Odile Henry, Mathieu Ferry

Educating the engineering elite.

Classifications and classification categories in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)

Since Independence Engineering studies have been seen as a force capable of transforming Indian society, with advanced technology being central to the development model. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) hence particularly embody the values of modern India. Exempted from the application of reservation policies to start with, IITs tend to be perceived as places that produce a meritocratic elite, freed from the contingencies related to caste and their political exploitation. The success of former IITs students in the US computer industry in the 1980s and the liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s tend to make IITs a “brand” associated with Indian global competitiveness and the values of a private sector disembedded from the social and political spheres.

Based on an ongoing fieldwork in one of these technical elite education institutions, we will question this meritocratic model.

The analysis of the process of admission, orientation towards streams (degrees and discipline), selection during the training, and placement on the labor market, highlights the types of hierarchy that exist within the student population and the trends that contribute to the global reproduction of social inequalities.


Book : Engineering War and Peace in Modern Japan, 1868-1964

Naval, aeronautic, and mechanical engineers played a powerful part in the military buildup of Japan in the early and mid-twentieth century. They belonged to a militaristic regime and embraced the importance of their role in it. Takashi Nishiyama examines the impact of war and peace on technological transformation during the twentieth century. He is the first to study the paradoxical and transformative power of Japan’s defeat in World War II through the lens of engineering.

Nishiyama asks: How did authorities select and prepare young men to be engineers? How did Japan develop curricula adequate to the task (and from whom did the country borrow)? Under what conditions? What did the engineers think of the planes they built to support Kamikaze suicide missions? But his study ultimately concerns the remarkable transition these trained engineers made after total defeat in 1945. How could the engineers of war machines so quickly turn to peaceful construction projects such as designing the equipment necessary to manufacture consumer products? Most important, they developed new high-speed rail services, including the Shinkansen Bullet Train. What does this change tell us not only about Japan at war and then in peacetime but also about the malleability of engineering cultures?

Nishiyama aims to counterbalance prevalent Eurocentric/Americentric views in the history of technology.  Engineering War and Peace in Modern Japan, 1868–1964 sets the historical experience of one country’s technological transformation in a larger international framework by studying sources in six different languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. The result is a fascinating read for those interested in technology, East Asia, and international studies. Nishiyama’s work offers lessons to policymakers interested in how a country can recover successfully after defeat.

Takashi Nishiyama is an assistant professor of history at the State University of New York, Brockport.

Séminaire : Que fait la figure de l’ingénieur au monde social en Inde? 19/02/2016

Séminaire de recherche IDHES-Département de sociologie

Lignes d’effervescence en sociologie des groupes professionnels

Première séance : Vendredi 19 février 10h-12h30

Salle T11, bâtiment T, Université de Nanterre

Roland Lardinois

(Centre d’études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, CNRS)

Que fait la figure de l’ingénieur au monde social en Inde ?

Résumé : La prolifération des écoles d’ingénieurs en Inde depuis une vingtaine d’années, la compétition accrue pour parvenir à entrer dans les écoles les plus prestigieuses comme les Indian Institute of Technology, le développement sans précédent de centres de préparation (coaching centers) aux concours d’entrée dans ces écoles professionnelles (ingénieurs et médecine), la mise en place d’un système parascolaire organisé sur un mode quasi-industriel pour s’adresser à ces milliers de candidats potentiels, le poids des formations informatiques liées à l’expansion du secteur des technologies de l’information, l’exemplarité donnée par quelques grandes firmes multinationales comme Infosys, tout cela contribue à interroger ce que la figure de l’ingénieur fait à la société indienne dans un contexte de libéralisation économique où tout service éducatif se monnaie sur un marché libre qui n’épargne aucun secteur de l’économie que l’Etat peine à encadrer.

Le séminaire « Lignes d’effervescence en sociologie des groupes professionnels »

Dans le travail de tout chercheur, il existe des domaines familiers, dans lesquels une solide expérience a été acquise, et des domaines en cours d’exploration, où des investigations ont été engagées mais n’ont pas encore donné lieu à des connaissances reconnues et stabilisées. Pour le dire à la manière de T. Kuhn, l’activité de recherche comporte des aspects de « science normale » et des points d’effervescence, des pistes dans lesquelles on s’aventure pour aborder un domaine nouveau ou s’essayer à des cadres théoriques inhabituels. C’est à la présentation de tels chantiers, à ces objets ou perspectives à l’état d’esquisse qu’est consacré ce séminaire : l’auteur-e sera invité-e à faire part de ses réflexions, ses choix et ses hésitations, sans cacher les difficultés ou les doutes qu’il rencontre.


Le séminaire est conçu à l’attention des étudiant-e-s du master « Etudes et recherches sociologiques, des chercheur-e-s de l’IDHES, des membres du département de sociologie de Nanterre, mais il est ouvert à l’ensemble des chercheur-e-s et doctorant-e-s intéressé-e-s.

Séance suivante

Le 11 mars 2016, Reinhard Gressel (IFSTTAR) et Charles Gadea (IDHES) : « Les professionnels mobiles. Une problématique en mouvement »


Valérie Boussard (IDHES) valerie.boussard@u-paris10.fr et Charles Gadea (IDHES) charles .gadea@u-paris10.fr

Research Associate Posts on Gender, Skilled Migration and IT

Research Associate

Open University – Faculty of Social Sciences, Geography

We have an exciting opportunity for 2 Research Associates to work on a 2-year ESRC funded project Gender, Skilled Migration and IT:  a comparative study of India and the UK.

You will be a dynamic, highly motivated person, with a PhD in human geography, sociology, gender, development studies or other areas relevant to the project. Excellent skills in qualitative or quantitative research are essential and ideally you will also have some post-doctoral research experience.

One post will be based in the UK but will involve extended periods of fieldwork (of up to 6 months) in India while the other will be almost entirely UK based. We are looking for one researcher with quantitative skills and one with experience of qualitative research. Some knowledge of the IT industry and/or IT labour market would be useful.

If you would like to discuss the particulars of this role before making an application please contact Prof. Parvati Raghuram at parvati.raghuram@open.ac.uk or Dr. Clem Herman at Clem.Herman@open.ac.uk.

Closing date:  Noon 10 December 2015

Interview date: Interviews will be held early January 2016

For detailed information and how to apply go to http://www.open.ac.uk/employment/job-details.asp?id=8931 or email Socsci-Recruitment@open.ac.uk quoting the reference number.

We promote diversity in employment and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

— The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). The Open University is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Book : Pipe Politics, Contested Waters: Embedded Infrastructures of Millennial Mumbai


Despite Mumbai’s position as India’s financial, economic, and cultural capital, water is chronically unavailable for rich and poor alike. Mumbai’s dry taps are puzzling, given that the city does not lack for either water or financial resources. In Pipe Politics, Contested Waters, Lisa Björkman shows how an elite dream to transform Mumbai into a “world class” business center has wreaked havoc on the city’s water pipes. In rich ethnographic detail, Pipe Politics explores how the everyday work of getting water animates and inhabits a penumbra of infrastructural activity—of business, brokerage, secondary markets, and sociopolitical networks—whose workings are reconfiguring and rescaling political authority in the city. Mumbai’s increasingly illegible and volatile hydrologies, Björkman argues, are lending infrastructures increasing political salience just as actual control over pipes and flows becomes contingent on dispersed and intimate assemblages of knowledge, power, and material authority. These new arenas of contestation reveal the illusory and precarious nature of the project to remake Mumbai in the image of Shanghai or Singapore and gesture instead toward the highly contested futures and democratic possibilities of the actually existing city.

2015 Duke University Press

About the Author

Lisa Björkman is Assistant Professor of Urban and Public Affairs at University of Louisville, and Research Scholar at CETREN (Transregional Research Network), University of Göttingen.


Call for Papers : Technology, technicians and the state in South Asia, political and social uses of technical knowledge

Technology, technicians and the state in South Asia: political and social uses of technical knowledge

The 24th ECSAS (European Conference on South Asian Studies) will take place at the University of Warsaw (Poland) from 27 to 30 July 2016.


Berenice Girard (EHESS Paris) email
Vanessa Caru (CNRS ) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This panel invites reflexions and case studies on the political and social uses of technology in South Asia, to discuss its centrality in government policies. Technology is here understood in an extensive manner, to include different types of technical knowledge, practices and tools.

Long Abstract

This panel invites reflexions and case studies on the political and social uses of technology in South Asia. Technology is here understood in an extensive manner to include different types of technical knowledge, practices and tools. The centrality of technology in government policies has been widely discussed in contemporary research. This panel would like to discuss this centrality while adopting a historical perspective on the evolving political use of technology and a specific focus on South Asia.

In the years following Independence, technology was conceived as a central tool to further the economic development and social policies of South Asian countries, and technical elites were offered important roles in the implementation of technocratic development programs. The present context of liberalisation and redefinition of the role of the State seems however to have brought both new uses and actors, as well as changes in the modes of interaction between States and technologies. We invite papers discussing this dynamic, and especially welcome case studies focusing on the specific use and place of technology in social policies. We further invite papers looking at processes of defining politically pertinent technologies, as well as detailed papers on the interaction and relationship between the different technical professional groups and the State. Finally, we also invite reflexions and case studies on how technology affects States’ prerogatives, balances of power and control over political territories and spaces in South Asia.

Propose paper