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Mechanics’ InstituteTransliteracies Research Report

History and Description of the Mechanics’ Institute

“The Mechanics’ Institute sprang up in 19th century England for the ostensible purpose of imparting upon the working class mechanic knowledge of the sciences, literature, and arts. In actuality, a myriad of purposes shrouded the creation of these institutes, which were ultimately appropriated by the middle class when it became apparent that the working class was not as receptive as had been anticipated. Some scholars conjecture that they were really formed as a means of control and indoctrination of the working class, allowing only as little real knowledge as needed for them to improve as workers, but little else. As the middle class began to move in, the working class retreated to the Institute’s libraries and reading rooms, where they were free to discuss topics that interested them.”

Starter Links or References: “Funding communal culture: opportunism and standardisation of funding for mechanics’ institutes in colonial Victoria,” Donald Barker’s article in The Australian Library Journal | “Culture and Wealth Creation: Mechanics’ Institutes and the Emergence of Political Economy in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain,â€? Ann Firth’s article in the History of Intellectual Culture

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By David Roh

  tl, 02.02.06

One Response to Mechanics’ InstituteTransliteracies Research Report

  1. Hels says:

    This is super stuff, David.

    I have created a link to my blog on the same subject but do you have a shorter URL for the report above.

    How applicable might your analysis be for Australian Institutes? Or New Zealand, for that matter? I have suggested three reasons why we MAY have experienced a slightly different history.

    again many thanks