The Higher Polytechnic and Modern Central Asia

  • S. A. M. Adshead


In the second half of the nineteenth century, Central Asia began to receive the effects of the industrial revolution. This has continued to the present in descending degree in Western, Eastern and Afghan Turkestan and their associated steppe. The industrial revolution created an assemblage of tools, techniques, energy sources, processes, programmes and allied institutions which may be termed the higher polytechnic and, in its widest dimensions, be regarded as a further world institution. This terminology allows one to distinguish between the industrial revolution as a process, whether local, regional, interregional or international in production, distribution or consumption, and the higher polytechnic as the result of that process. In his systematic processual archaeology, Colin Renfrew distinguishes between the subsistence subsystem (artefact-nature) and the technological subsystem (man-artefact).1 In the modern world, where information has become the primary resource, the higher polytechnic represents a combination of these two subsystems, now only notionally distinct, into a technosphere. To a future archaeologist, the higher polytechnic will be part of both the material and cognitive archaeology of our culture.


Industrial Revolution Command Economy World Institution Semipalatinsk Nuclear Testing Site Ottoman Empire 
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Copyright information

© S. A. M. Adshead 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. M. Adshead
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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