Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-544b6db54f-kbvt8 Total loading time: 0.233 Render date: 2021-10-16T13:20:49.299Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }
Coming soon

Introduction

Get access

Summary

In 1875 David Page, geologist and enthusiast for intellectual culture, published a pamphlet-length plea for an increase in the number of field clubs and science associations. In his petition Page deployed the well-worn themes that had marked countless calls made in Victorian towns entreating local publics to participate in scientific pursuits. Botany, geology and meteorology among other subjects were recommended to Page's readers as physically and mentally invigorating pastimes. For Page, natural history, more than other forms of intellectual culture, offered a stimulating distraction from the debilitating effects of routine urban existence. Page was careful to point out the dangers of narrow scientific professionalism, a condition incompatible with ‘the duties of brotherly sympathy, honest manliness, and good citizenship, which render life sweet and society enjoyable’. Recreative science, on the other hand, united the pursuit of general happiness and individual intelligence and provided a hopeful way forward amidst signs of social decay.

Page's estimation of the social benefits of a widespread and collective interest in natural science was shared by the Revd Charles Kingsley. In a preface to a series of lectures on ‘town geology’ first published in 1872 Kingsley presented the political advantages associated with diffusing a scientific spirit among Britain's urban classes. The ‘dream’ that Kingsley offered to his readers was of a ‘true working aristocracy’ that functioned according to the habits of mind acquired through active participation in scientific work. The patient study of town geology (or any other branch of natural history) would supply the basis for the freedom, equality and brotherhood, which state government could not by itself provide. As ‘a student of society and history’ Kingsley urged his readers to heed the prognosis – inductively derived – that ‘power will pass more and more, if all goes healthily and well, into the hands of scientific men’.

The testimonies of Page and Kingsley typify a pervasive rhetoric attached to attempts at enlarging participation in scientific pursuits.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Pickering & Chatto
First published in: 2014

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×