Introduction: The Entangled Histories of Science and Capitalism

Rieppel, Lukas; Lean, Eugenia Y.; Deringer, William

This volume revisits the mutually constitutive relationship between science and capitalism from the seventeenth century to the present day. Adopting a global approach, this introduction rejects the notion that either science or capitalism can be understood as stages of modernity that emerged in the West and subsequently engendered a “Great Divergence” with the rest of the world. Instead, both science and capitalism were historical institutions that arose in an imperial context of global exchange and whose entanglement has been continuously remade. Rather than seek to explain either the development of modern science as a product of economic forces or the divergence of capitalist economies as a result of technical innovation, we want to emphasize the knowledge work that has been a central feature of both modern science and capitalism across the globe.


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East Asian Languages and Cultures
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February 11, 2020