Davide Orsini

Taking Samples: An Envirotechnical Account of Radioecology in the Mediterranean Sea during the Cold War

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: envirotech, radioecology, monitoring, experts, Mediterranean

Scholars working at the confl uence of environmental history and the history of technology invoke the heuristic category envirotechnical to describe and explain 1) how historical actors conceive of the relationship between technology and nature, and 2) how mutually shaping technological and ecological systems come to form specifi c hybrid confi gurations: envirotechnical systems. In this article I employ such category to examine the development of radioecology in Cold War Italy. My argument is that Italian radioecologists applied envirotechnical analyses to integrate information about the technical characteristics of reactors and the particular ecological conditions in which they operated. Second, I explain how the design and operations of environmental monitoring systems and devices incorporated and responded to geomorphological, atmospheric, and demographic conditions of the sites being studied. For this reason, I argue that environmental monitoring systems should be thought of as envirotechnical systems.

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