Going Public: The 1st Portuguese National Engineering Meeting and the Popularization of the Image of the Engineer as an Artisan of Progress

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The popularization of science and technology is usually associated with books and journals. In this paper we explore a less common tool in the study of popularization of technology, the engineering meetings. In 1931, at a turning point in its internal organization, Portuguese engineers met for the first time in a national congress. Besides the obvious intention of asserting their professional identity, the I National Engineering Meeting, explicitly aimed at publicizing the work of Portuguese engineers as key players in the progress and wealth of the country. A considerable number of engineers attended the meeting, as well as representatives of governmental agencies, entrepreneurs, the press and the general public. The idea of using the meeting as a showcase for displaying the “power” of Portuguese engineering becomes clearer when one considers not only the meeting itself, but also the “social programme”, which included a set of lectures on engineering themes, visits to some relevant factories and an exhibition addressed to the general public featuring engineering “works of art”. In this paper we aim at disclosing the public dimension of the I National Engineering Meeting, both in terms of its contents, and the way it was portrayed by the press
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)185-204
JournalEngineering Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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