This chapter provides a conceptual and contextual introduction for the book. It outlines Mexico’s history of technology from independence to the revolution, with particular attention to investment in new technologies after about 1870. It explains the difference between adopting technologies and assimilating technological knowledge, expertise, and the development of new capabilities. These conceptual issues are presented in relation to the ways in which nineteenth-century Mexicans envisioned their nation’s future, economic growth, and technological (or “material”) progress. The chapter also lays out the historiography of Mexico’s history of technology before presenting a brief synopsis of each chapter.
Keywords: technology, late development, development and progress, economic policy, social construction of technology, technology diffusion, technological capabilities, technological learning, assimilation
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