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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.
1 Founding Narratives
2 Fieldwork and Excursion Culture
3 Natural History and Civic Pride
4 Natural History and Self Culture
5 Organizing Subscriber Science
6 Scientific Motives and Civic Virtue
Conclusion: Between Science and Civic Society
"Finnegan's book offers its readers a spectacular feast for the eyes in the form of period illustrations [...] a fascinating and engaging read."
– Albert Pionke, Victorians Institute Journal
" [...] should be on the shelves of anyone interested in nineteenth-century science in the British Isles."
– Richard A Jarrell, 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."
– Jan Golinski, Victorian Studies
"a valuable contribution to the histories and geographies of science'"
– Kirsten Greer, H-Net Reviews