Steaming Ahead: Experiences and the Transition from Sail to Steam

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandling

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Abstract

Technological transformations are hard to grasp. Actors experiencing such transformations and academics studying them both struggle to understand the full meaning and impact of such changes because they fundamentally impact daily work and life. This dissertation explores how Danish seafarers experienced and made sense of the transition from sail to steam. The introduction and diffusion of steam power at sea was a pivotal turning point in maritime history. It shaped the historical reality for actors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and captured people’s imagination. So far, research on this process has primarily focused on technological invention, evolution, and implementation. Scholars have also explored national and regional diffusion patterns of steamships and their economic, organisational, and political consequences. However, how people experienced, made sense of, and engaged with the transition from sail to steam remains open.
Guided by microhistory methodologies, I suggest studying the transition from sail to steam not as an abstract process but as a lived and narrated experience. Microhistory can grasp and contextualise significant societal and technological transformations by studying subtle and subjective experiences at the micro-level. This approach offers new insights into the relationship between labour, economy, and technology and complements existing economic history and ethnographic approaches in maritime research. By rebalancing structure and agency, I offer novel interpretations of the global transition from sail to steam and suggest a way to discuss large-scale transformations on a global scale through studies of lived experiences and individual agency.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
UdgivelsesstedFrederiksberg
ForlagCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Antal sider242
ISBN (Trykt)9788775682171
ISBN (Elektronisk)9788775682188
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2023
NavnPhD Series
Nummer37.2023
ISSN0906-6934

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