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Body_Machine? Encounters of the Human and the Mechanical in Education, Industry and Science

This paper unveils the body-machine as a key element of dynamic mental maps that have come to shape both educational praxis and research. It traces and analyses instances in which the human and the mechanical encountered each other in metaphorical, material and visual forms, thereby blurring to some extent the boundaries between them while capturing and mobilising specific forms of knowing and acting. The paper studies firstly, how certain ‘orienting frames of reference’ and associated ‘experimental systems’ managed to materialise around the body-machine and penetrate theory and praxis; and, secondly, what visual and textual sources related to a vocational school may reveal about where and how the body-machine has come to operate in education, industry and science. The paper centres on early twentieth century photographs and analyses these not only as media presenting, representing and interrogating common thought and practice but also as agents of meaning-making around the body-machine.

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