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Obsolescences : philosophie des techniques et histoire économique à l'épreuve de la réduction de la durée de vie des objets

Abstract : The notion of obsolescence adresses our relationship with objects and human action, our representations of history and time. It challenges technological and social change. It is a controversial topic, raising environmental, economic and social issues.However, focused as it is in France on the notion of "programmed obsolescence”, the current controversy tends to confine the debate to concealed practices, on the basis of considerations conveying a deterministic view of history. This dissertation broadens the scope of reflection and discusses all commercial short-lived products and all the notions used to qualify them. Since they have been on the market for two centuries, we argue on the basis of a historical and philosophical inquiry that shortening the lifespan of objects has been a common and open practice in Europe and the United States. Throughout the XIXth and XXth centuries, obsolescence has been theorized, criticized or promoted publicly in various narratives, which often define it as an effect of human activity, or uses it as a law of economics, nature or history. In order to criticize these approaches and reinforce the demonstration that commercializing obsolescent products has been a public and accepted practice, this dissertation examines the case of objects publicly designed with a limited lifespan : disposable products. We argue that disposability has been constructed as a distinctive and positive feature of a wide range of various products. Through the case study of disposable cups, we ultimately consider some pathways for further research on the shortened lifespan of objects, as devices used to conceal their own social, material and environmental reality.
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Submitted on : Friday, December 20, 2019 - 4:17:27 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:48 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-02421710, version 1



Jeanne Guien. Obsolescences : philosophie des techniques et histoire économique à l'épreuve de la réduction de la durée de vie des objets. Philosophie. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019PA01H207⟩. ⟨tel-02421710⟩



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