Dr Jon Hogg History Seminar

Sociotechnical imaginaries of nuclear mobilisation in 1950s Britain

1:30pm - 3:00pm / Thursday 3rd March 2022 / Venue: Lecture Theatre 3 Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Research / Series: History Seminar Series
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Speaker: Dr Jonathan Hogg
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be involved in an international research project (‘Danish Civil Defence: Fear and Survival During the Nuclear Age’, based at The University of Southern Denmark) that sought to interpret European nuclear civil defence activities via the concept of ‘sociotechnical imaginaries.’ Today, I will introduce the concept and talk about how it informed my own approach to a range of Civil Defence materials held at Wirral Archives.
The Open Access book which emerged from the project is Cronqvist, Farbøl and Sylvest (eds.), Cold War Civil Defence in Western Europe Sociotechnical Imaginaries of Survival and Preparedness (Palgrave, 2022). It is available for free here: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-84281-9
In my chapter I argued that the persistent social impact of nationwide sociotechnical imaginaries of nuclear weapons cannot be fully understood without considering the localized social, geographical and discursive contexts in which civil defence was located and enacted.
This talk will deconstruct the collaborative research process behind this new interpretation and discuss some of the problems we might face when attempting to read the archive through the lens of unfamiliar concepts.