Borders and History

in Landscapes and Labscapes

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780226450094
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226450117 | DOI:
Borders and History

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  • History of Science and Technology


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The border between laboratory and field science is one of the most important in the cultural geography of modern science, cutting across a range of biological and physical sciences and demarcating differences of standing and credibility, physical location, and modes of scientific practice. It marks different connections to the world of middle-class work and leisure. The differences between indoor and outdoor science have been a subject of debate among biologists since the late eighteenth century. In modern science, the difference between laboratory and field is also one between indoor and outdoor, sessile and mobile work; but it is more than that. Experimenters analyze and reveal causes and effects; field biologists more often describe, compare, name, classify, map. In fieldwork, spatial and locational ways of knowing have equal standing with causal reasoning. The domains of laboratory and field are cultural domains first and foremost, where different languages, customs, material and moral economies, and ways of life prevail. But these cultural differences are experienced in actual places, and the experience differs from place to place.

Keywords: border; modern science; field science; biologists; laboratory

Chapter.  9712 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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