In my PhD project I investigate the so-called machinery question in the 1820s to 1850s Britain. The project is at the intersection of intellectual history of economic thought and history of science and technology.
The project examines how the use of machinery in the manufactures was legitimised, and how the idea of ‘useful knowledge’ was connected to the idea of economic and moral progress for all classes of society. I am specifically interested in the connections between the theory of political economy and the idea of ‘useful knowledge’ in the discussions surrounding the introduction and invention of new machinery and the establishment of the Mechanics’ Institutes which is the central case of my study.
The project aims to provide new perspectives to the historical relations between value and knowledge, and thus to the intellectuel history of modern knowledge economy.