Chapter

Marketing Geology

in The Earth on Show

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780226616681
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226616704 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226616704.003.0006
Marketing Geology

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This chapter discusses how popular science in the early Victorian period was not a coherent or stable entity, but a battlefield or marketplace. Svante Lindqvist has compared eighteenth-century public science to “a mediaeval market fair, with several itinerant troupes erecting their stages and competing for the attention of the public,” and his analogy seems, if anything, even more applicable to the early nineteenth-century scene. In the field of earth history, the public was assailed by a cacophony of competing accounts, many of them lacking labels. Those who wished to see a particular theory fixed as “orthodoxy” were continually dismayed by the persistence of alternative theories, which called for louder popularization on their own part. Proponents of the new model of scientific expertise repeatedly urged this lesson on the experts themselves.

Keywords: popular science; early Victorian period; geology; earth history

Chapter.  10178 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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