A History of Knowledge of Large Construction Sites

Włodzimierz Kołodko: Próby usprawnienia harmonogramów budowlanych [Optimizing the construction harmonogram], in: Przegląd Budowlany 23 (1951), S. 294.

 

Post-Doc Project

Katharina Kreuder-Sonnen

How were processes of work on large construction sites coordinated and what did everyday life look like in these peculiar environments during the second half of the 20 century? These are the guiding questions of my current book project. I analyze the media and practices of management, e.g. the builder’s diary, the construction drawing, the work plan, and describe the heterogeneous actors involved in managing construction work. These can be the construction manager, the concrete mixer, or computer software. The construction sites I analyze are situated in the GDR, China and Nigeria. However, the actors connected to the individual sites have manifold national backgrounds.

By starting from the microhistory of practices I tell a story of management knowledge which crosses geographical, social, cultural and political boundaries. The global history of management knowledge and the history of workers’ exploitation on construction sites connect both sides of the supposed Iron Curtain as well as the Global North and the Global South.

The project gives a fresh perspective on the history of planning and contributes to globalizing our understanding of the socialist world. It also historicizes contemporary working conditions and management challenges on large construction sites.