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July 2009
272 pages  

6 x 9
9780822944843
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Natural History Societies and Civic Culture in Victorian Scotland
Finnegan, Diarmid
Winner of the Frank Watson Prize in Scottish History, 2011

The relationship between science and civil society is essential to our understanding of cultural change during the Victorian era. Science was frequently packaged as an appropriate form of civic culture, inculcating virtues necessary for civic progress. In turn, civic culture was presented as an appropriate context for enabling and supporting scientific progress. Finnegan's study looks at the shifting nature of this process during the nineteenth century, using Scotland as the focus for his argument. Considerations of class, religion and gender are explored, illuminating changing social identities as public interest in science was allowed—even encouraged—beyond the environs of universities and elite metropolitan societies.

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"Gives us a rich understanding not only of where but also of how Victorian science was practised . . . deserves to be read by scholars of identity, cultural geography and, especially, nineteenth-century science." —British Society for the History of Science

"A fascinating and engaging read." —Victorians Institute Journal

"Should be on the shelves of anyone interested in nineteenth-century science in the British Isles." —Isis

"In his subtle exploration [of these groups and their practices] Finnegan both advances our understanding of the Victorian man of science and points toward a new kind of history of the scientific self." —Victorian Studies

"A valuable contribution to the histories and geographies of science." —H-Net Reviews

"Fascinating and instructive." —Archives of Natural History

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Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century
History of Science
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Winner of the Frank Watson Prize in Scottish History, 2011

The relationship between science and civil society is essential to our understanding of cultural change during the Victorian era. Science was frequently packaged as an appropriate form of civic culture, inculcating virtues necessary for civic progress. In turn, civic culture was presented as an appropriate context for enabling and supporting scientific progress. Finnegan's study looks at the shifting nature of this process during the nineteenth century, using Scotland as the focus for his argument. Considerations of class, religion and gender are explored, illuminating changing social identities as public interest in science was allowed—even encouraged—beyond the environs of universities and elite metropolitan societies.

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