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Governing SystemsModernity and the Making of Public Health in England, 1830-1910$
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Tom Crook

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520290341

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520290341.001.0001

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Matter in Its Right Place

Matter in Its Right Place

Technology and the Building of Waste Disposal Systems

Chapter:
(p.148) Chapter 5 Matter in Its Right Place
Source:
Governing Systems
Author(s):

Tom Crook

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520290341.003.0005

This chapter examines a key aspect of Victorian sanitary engineering, namely the advent of large-scale sewerage and domestic waste disposal systems. It argues that this was a hugely ambitious, if also disputatious, culture of technological systembuilding. This is partly because these systems developed within a modern field of governance that extended much beyond professionals, officials, councillors, and landowners to embrace commercial actors, such as entrepreneurial inventors and sanitaryware manufacturers. But it is alsobecause technologizing the disposal of human waste created problems of its own—most of all, new sources of pollution in the form of sewage and sewer gas. It was anything but a linear process of technological problem solving.

Keywords:   large-scale systems, sanitary engineering, sewage, sewer gas, sewerage systems, technology, waste disposal

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