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This is most simply defined as "workshop".[1]

An atelier is a productive workplace in which workers, or students, work under the direction of a master.[2]

The concept has implications of being specialized in its focus, and generally on a modest overall scale. This term is being brought in partially in response to the use of the term by Emmanuel Chadeau, with reference to the ateliers associated with Appareils d'Aviation Les Frères Voisin, for instance, and with the Société Antoinette.

The term hints at the pre-corporate dynamism manifest by the pioneers in whichever field of industrial endeavor. Within the francophone context, the atelier may be seen in contrast to the groupe industriel, this latter having the advantages of scale, greater funding and so forth, most likely, and connections to the state, but perhaps lacking in the aforementioned dynamic capacity. This differential is not entirely cut and dry, and it may be trackable. It has to do with innovation, per se, and the analysis of this principle, over time. The variability of this principle, in modern and technological society, was assessed, by Emmanuel Chadeau, and by other scholars, whose work he collected.

This has fundamentally to do with industry, and with proto-industrial phenomena, as seen and formalized and varied internationally, with significant tie-ins to various notable individuals. More data will likely be on hand relative to Germany, for instance. For some data on these early or proto-corporate forms as treated within the Anglo sphere, see Bamfourth, Catherine Jill, Abbott, Malcolm, Entrepreneurs of the sky: Case studies on entrepreneurial learning from the early British aviation industry, 2019.

Ateliers, as a formal name, along the lines of incorporation, and as a general circumstance, are pertinent to a number of organizations and companies on which we are gathering data. They were key to the work of numerous key inventors. It is the essential meaning that is of most interest, and this behind the anglophone terms brought in as "affiliated concepts", below. There are deep analogues, all having to with dynamically small scale operations as precursors to later corporations.

An intriguing example in which the usage of the term in a company name, in which the atelier spirit, if will, characterizes the company, is the Grands Ateliers aérostatiques du Champ de Mars with which several big names in airship construction (Gabriel Yon, one of the messieurs Godard, Édouard Surcouf and so forth) are associated.


Enclosing categories Industry
Keywords workshop, communities of practice, apprenticeships, working groups, groupe industriel, Industry
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