State, Science and the Skies

State, Science and the Skies : Governmentalities of the British Atmosphere

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Utilizing environmental archival materials from the UK, State, Science and the Skies presents a groundbreaking historical account of the development of a state science of atmospheric pollution. Offers the most extensive historical and geographical account of atmospheric government and pollution in Britain, available today Presents archival material from 150 years of British history that represents an original contribution to our knowledge of the history of science and government Develops an innovative combination of Foucauldian history of government with a history of atmospheric science Raises crucial questions about the nature of state/science relations and the conditions under which environmental knowledge is produced

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Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 20mm | 381.02g
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Chicester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations, maps
  • 1405191732
  • 9781405191739
  • 1,100,310

Review quote

"Mark Whitehead's 2009 book State, Science and the Skies constitutes a compelling and important contribution to the RGS--IBG Book Series ... This fascinating book is part of an increasing literature on a much neglected area of study: the role and importance of the atmosphere in our lives (e.g. Jankovic, 2000; Latour, 2003; Strauss and Orlove, 2003; Kessel, 2006; Thornes, 2008) ... State, Science and the Skies should provide us with an important guide to the geographies of the atmosphere. It is especially helpful in order to cultivate some sense of relief to Sloterdijk's (2009) emphasis on the air as a means of administering death through environmental means." ( Geoform , 1 September 2012)

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Back cover copy

Contemporary concerns regarding climate change, the destruction of the ozone layer, and increased anxieties of the health risks associated with particulate air pollution, highlight the crucial importance of understanding what is happening in our atmosphere. This timely volume asserts that to comprehend contemporary atmospheric knowledge systems requires an examination of the spatial histories of the sciences and political regimes that have shaped systems of air government. Focusing exclusively on the UK, the volume weaves together the tales of 19th-century urban smoke observers, early 20th-century visitors to clean-air exhibitions, and modern atmospheric scientists in order to reveal why we know certain things about the qualities of the air we breathe and how this knowledge has shaped collective relations with the atmosphere. In charting this history this volume combines Foucauldian-inspired accounts of the history of government with relevant works on the sociology of scientific knowledge. Utilizing extensive archival materials and informed by scholarly analysis, this groundbreaking work presents the first historical account of the development of a state science of atmospheric pollution.

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About Mark Whitehead

Mark Whitehead is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University; and Senior Research Fellow at the City Institute, York University, Toronto. His published works include Spaces of Sustainability: Geographical Perspectives on the Sustainable Society (2006); and The Nature of the State: Excavating the Political Ecologies of the Modern State (co-author, 2007).

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Table of contents

List of Figures and Tables. Series Editors' Preface. Preface. Acknowledgements. List of Abbreviations. 1 Introduction: Space, History and the Governing of Air Pollution. 2 Historical Geographies of Science and Government: Exploring the Apparatus of Atmospheric Knowledge Acquisition. 3 Science, Sight and the Optics of Air Government 37 4 Governing Air Conduct: Exhibition, Examination and the Cultivation of the Atmospheric Self. 5 Instrumentation and the Sites of Atmospheric Monitoring. 6 A National Census of the Air: Spatial Science, Calculation and the Geo-Coding of the Atmosphere. 7 Automating the Air: Atmospheric Simulations and Digital Beings. 8 Environmental Governmentalities and the Ecological Coding of the British Atmosphere. 9 Conclusion: Learning Like a State in an Age of Atmospheric Change. Notes. References. Index.

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