Tag Archives: Engineering

Book: Women Engineers

Catherine Marry, Les femmes ingénieures. Une révolution silencieuse, Paris, Éditions Belin, 2004

« Depuis les années 1920, les femmes affirment leur présence dans le monde masculin des ingénieurs. Ce livre retrace les moments et les lieux, les avancées et les butoirs, les ressorts subjectifs et sociaux de cette transgression des places et destins féminins. Il s’agit d’une révolution respectueuse, mais c’est le premier de ces deux termes paradoxaux qui est le plus exploré ici. Comme ailleurs, l’hégémonie masculine perdure dans les hautes sphères, mais la présence de mieux en mieux acceptée des femmes ingénieurs s’inscrit dans une dynamique d’égalité entre les sexes. »

Catherine Marry est sociologue, directrice de recherche au CNRS (Lasmas, Paris). Elle participe à la direction du Groupement de recherche européen MAGE (Marché du travail et genre). Parmi ses publications récentes : Laufer Jacqueline, Marry Catherine, Maruani Margaret (dir.), Le travail du genre, Paris, La Découverte, 2003 ; Laufer Jacqueline, Marry Catherine, Maruani Margaret (dir.), Masculin-féminin, Questions pour les sciences de l’homme, Paris, Puf, 2001.

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

 




 

Conference Engineering: Questionning a profession

Engineer or Engineers: Expansion or Fragmentation?

International conference : Un Ingénieur, des ingénieurs. Expansion ou fragmentation? Paris, October 6-7, 2011, Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales with the collaboration of Ingénieurs sans frontières

Abstract

Aalok Khandekar, Engineering subjectivities: Global Indianness and the making of Indian engineers

Given the increasing visibility of Indian engineers in the global high-tech workforce in recent years, this paper inquires into the various conditions that support their transnational mobilities. I argue that Indian technomigration is shaped through the complex articulations of many different factors – middle class imaginations of successful careers and affluent lifestyles, immigration laws, considerations of family, and discourses of a “Global Indian” cosmopolitanism – being some of the most salient ones.

In particular, I argue that Indian technomigrants become transnationally mobile by assuming cosmopolitan “Global Indian” subjectivities – an identity construct that allows them to position themselves as global citizens who are nonetheless Indian at their core. For Indian technomigrants, “Global Indianness” is configured as the space between the binary opposition of a materialist “West” (United States) and a spiritual “India,” and is actualized through everyday practices such as those of education, employment, hospitality, and consumption. As a discursive construct, global Indianness, then, enacts a double movement – it serves to redefine engineering and allied technical professions as being Indian, while simultaneously making Indians “global”.

Based on this empirical analysis, I make four conceptual interventions. First, I foreground ways in which professional and non-professional (“technical” and “non-technical”) aspects of engineering practice are inextricably intertwined, and how these are in turn situated in local and global historical, cultural and political-economic conditions. Indian engineers, for example, prominently foreground their frustrations with a corrupt state bureaucratic machinery as key rationales for migrating to the United States and elsewhere. Such frustrations in turn shape how these engineers come to conceive of their personal and professional responsibilities, thus linking local histories to the formation of professional identities. Second, then, I draw attention to ways in which Indian engineering is constituted transnationally – seeking education and employment overseas has historically figured as an important consideration for Indian engineers, and shapes their personal and professional imaginaries in significant ways. Third, I argue for continued attention to engineers as key cultural figures. In postcolonial contexts such as those of India, especially, engineers have historically signified the promise of middle class respectability and livelihoods. Understanding engineering subjectivities, then, becomes a particularly productive window into understanding key cultural logics, as well as emerging sociocultural shifts. Lastly, I argue for continued synergies between scholarship on Engineering Studies and the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). As Engineering Studies defines itself as an autonomous area of inquiry, I suggest that it can meaningfully revitalize a focus on subject-formation among technoscientific experts writ large within STS.

This paper draws on ethnographic research conducted among Indian technomigrants – Indian engineering students and early career professionals who have migrated to the United States for education and employment-related purposes. Data for this research was collected through

Roland Lardinois, The social space of engineering colleges in India: Between the state and the market

This preliminary presentation is part of an international research programme: The Making of Indian Engineers, supported by the Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi, which brings together Indian and European scholars.

According to the AICTE the number of engineering colleges in India has increased fourfold in the last ten years – from 780 colleges registered in the year 2000 to more than 3000 colleges in 2010. The number of BEngg or BTech degrees currently delivered is estimated at 350 000 per year.

However, this growth is quite unbalanced. Firstly, 60% of the seats are concentrated in the four southern states (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) and Maharashtra. Secondly, 73% of the seats are concentrated in five disciplines of the Information Technology (IT) only: Electronics and Communications; Computer Science; Information Technology; Electronics and Electrical; Electronics and Telecommunications.

Furthermore, engineering education is de facto privatised as 92% of the colleges are private (including few private government aided colleges) and 8% public institutions. But among these public institutions stand the most prestigious engineering colleges the Indian Institutes of Technology and the National Institutes of Technology and other institutions of similar ranking.

This presentation raises a few issues. Can we consider engineering education as a scholarly market? Who are the stakeholders involved in this market? How is the competition between colleges organized? What are their catchment areas? What are the mechanisms of regulation and control of this market? What is the role of the judiciary in the field of higher professional education? How do the colleges orient their action in this market, and how can we differentiate between these colleges? How is the social diversity organized in order to benefit all the groups of the Indian society? What is the rationale behind the working of these colleges – both inside and outside the institution? These are some of the issues that we will discuss in order to frame a survey that we intend to conduct as part of the programme The Making of Indian Engineers.

Odile Henry also contributed a paper titled: De l’ordre des ingénieurs à l’ordre des ingénieurs-conseils, de la récurrence d’un idéal professionnel (1922-1954).

 

Book: Engineering and Concrete Building in American History

Amy E. Slaton, Reinforced Concrete and the Modernization of American Building, 1900-1930, John Hopkins University Press, 2001.

“Examining the proliferation of reinforced-concrete construction in the United States after 1900, historian Amy E. Slaton considers how scientific approaches and occupations displaced traditionally skilled labor. The technology of concrete buildings little studied by historians of engineering, architecture, or industry offers a remarkable case study in the modernization of American production.
The use of concrete brought to construction the new procedures and priorities of mass production. These included a comprehensive application of science to commercial enterprise and vast redistributions of skills, opportunities, credit, and risk in the workplace. Reinforced concrete also changed the American landscape as building buyers embraced the architectural uniformity and simplicity to which the technology was best suited.
Based on a wealth of data that includes university curricula, laboratory and company records, organizational proceedings, blueprints, and promotional materials as well as a rich body of physical evidence such as tools, instruments, building materials, and surviving reinforced-concrete buildings, this book tests the thesis that modern mass production in the United States came about not simply in answer to manufacturers’ search for profits, but as a result of a complex of occupational and cultural agendas.”

Book: Engineering and Race in US

Amy E. Slaton, Race, Rigor, and Selectivity in US Engineering. The History of an Occupational Color Line, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010.

“Despite the educational and professional advances made by minorities in recent decades, African Americans remain woefully underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. Even at its peak, in 2000, African American representation in engineering careers reached only 5.7 percent, while blacks made up 15 percent of the U.S. population. Some forty-five years after the Civil Rights Act sought to eliminate racial differences in education and employment, what do we make of an occupational pattern that perpetually follows the lines of race?

Race, Rigor, and Selectivity in U.S. Engineering pursues this question and its ramifications through historical case studies. Focusing on engineering programs in three settings—in Maryland, Illinois, and Texas, from the 1940s through the 1990s—Amy E. Slaton examines efforts to expand black opportunities in engineering as well as obstacles to those reforms. Her study reveals aspects of admissions criteria and curricular emphases that work against proportionate black involvement in many engineering programs. Slaton exposes the negative impact of conservative ideologies in engineering, and of specific institutional processes—ideas and practices that are as limiting for the field of engineering as they are for the goal of greater racial parity in the profession.”

Preliminary Workshop on Indian Engineers, New Delhi, 21-22 February 2011

A preliminary workshop on The Making of Indian Engineers project was held at India Habitat Centre, Delhi, on 21st-22nd February 2011, under the auspices of the Centre de Sciences Humaines. Nineteen scholars from both India and abroad attended the workshop (IIIT-Bangalore, IIIM Gwalior, IIT-Chennai, IIT-Mumbai, IIT-Delhi, Delhi Technological University, MIDS Chennai, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, Delhi, Centre for the Study of Developing Society, Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, Institut d’administration des entreprises, Paris, University of Paris-Dauphine, University of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, and Fondation Thiers, Paris). The workshop was organized as a brain-storming session on the history and sociology of the engineering professions in India. Three broad areas of research were covered: first, the history of the profession under the colonial regime and the development of engineering education since Independence; second, the sociology of Engineering Colleges and their student population (social mobility, choice of profession, professional expectations, etc.); third, engineers as professionals (definitions of the groups, workplace, careers, political and civic engagement, ways of life, etc.). The main aim of the workshop was to prepare a collective research proposal to be submitted to the Indian European Network Research Programme and the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche for funding.