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France in the Age of Organization

France in the Age of Organization: Factory, Home and Nation from the 1920s to Vichy

Jackie Clarke
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 228
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  • Book Info
    France in the Age of Organization
    Book Description:

    In interwar France, there was a growing sense that 'organization' was the solution to the nation's perceived social, economic and political ills. This book examines the roots of this idea in the industrial rationalization movement and its manifestations in areas as diverse as domestic organization and economic planning. In doing so, it shows how experts in fields ranging from engineering to the biological sciences shaped visions of a rational socio-economic order from the 1920s to Vichy and beyond.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-081-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. ii-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    On the 10th of January 1934 a private view was held at 51 rue Raynouard in the well-heeled sixteenth arrondissement in Paris. On display were mural paintings by the cubist André Lhote, who was also an art critic at theNouvelle Revue française,and by Robert Delaunay, who was later to design the murals for the air and railway pavilions at the 1937 World Fair. Lhote showed a pair of cityscapes, the first featuring the vertical thrust of a towering Notre Dame viewed from the rue de Pontoise, the second treating the horizontal rhythm of the Auteuil viaduct seen from...

  6. Chapter 1 Constructing a Science of Organization
    (pp. 14-40)

    The story of the scientific organization movement begins in the decade or so before the First World War. The theme of organization came to the fore among French elites in this period, manifesting itself not just among business leaders, who played a significant role in articulating this agenda, but on the Right more generally. As Philip Nord has shown, organization in this context implied both the organization of business interests through employers’ unions, and a greater role for economic elites in national decision-making. The rhetoric was of a break with (an imagined) pure liberalism: the free play of market forces...

  7. Chapter 2 Psychology, Masculinity and the Social Politics of Organization
    (pp. 41-69)

    The network of groups that made up the organization movement existed to promote technical practices such as time and motion studies, standardization or aptitude testing, but they also concerned themselves with rather broader questions of social and economic organization. Indeed, much of what would be promoted after World War Two under the heading of ‘modernization’ was already being discussed by interwar organizers. One element of this embryonic vision of ‘modernization’ was the idea of a ‘third way’ between liberal capitalism (or at least one version of it) and communism. A feature of the interwar movement was the relative political diversity...

  8. Chapter 3 Organization Goes Home
    (pp. 70-94)

    If women remained largely absent from the visions of a new work community discussed above, despite their presence in French workplaces, they were by no means absent from the scientific organization movement. There were a number of female psychotechnicians, for example, and women were also prominent in applying rationalization techniques to domestic work. The American, Christine Frederick, had led the way with the publication ofThe New Housekeepingin 1913.¹ By the 1920s, France had its own leader in this field in the form of Paulette Bernège, who founded the Ligue d’organisation ménagère (League for Household Organization) in 1925. The...

  9. Chapter 4 The Engineer-Economist and the ‘Sciences of Man’ in the 1930s
    (pp. 95-127)

    If the influence of scientific organization in domestic science and design illustrates one way in which the reach of the movement extended beyond industrial and administrative workplaces, then the development of economic planning provides another.² It was in the 1930s thatplanisme(as it was called at the time) came to the fore, though it built on the interest in economic organization and ‘reform of the state’ that had been developing since at least the First World War. ‘Reform of the state’ was a term associated particularly with the desire for a strengthening of the executive, a demand that was...

  10. Chapter 5 Organization in Vichy France
    (pp. 128-161)

    In June 1940 France was defeated by Hitler’s invading army and an armistice was signed. The country was divided into several zones, the northern half and the Atlantic coast being occupied by Germany, while a southern zone was (until November 1942) left free from occupying forces. On 10 July 1940 parliament voted full powers to Marshal Philippe Pétain and the authoritarian regime known as the Vichy Government was born. The new regime drew its personnel from a variety of quarters and included military officers (General Weygand, Admiral Darlan), a few former parliamentarians (Pierre Laval, Pierre-Etienne Flandin) and a wide range...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 162-174)

    From the earliest days of the reception of Taylorism in France, certain features were apparent in the development of the scientific organization movement. One was that that the science of organization would be shaped by a dialogue between engineering and the ‘sciences of man’. Another was that organizers believed the science of organization was universal and that all human activity could be scientifically organized. Initially this was little more than an aspiration but within twenty years, other professionals, such as architects and domestic scientists, had turned to scientific organization as a model and engineers were addressing new problems such as...

  12. Appendix: Biographical Profiles
    (pp. 175-184)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 185-205)
  14. Index
    (pp. 207-218)