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Anthropologists in the Stock ExchangeA Financial History of Victorian Science$
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Marc Flandreau

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226360300

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226360584.001.0001

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The Violence of Science

The Violence of Science

(p.189) Chapter Nine The Violence of Science
Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange

Marc Flandreau

University of Chicago Press

This chapter brings into the narrative the politics of empire as they began to be reshaped in the mid 1860s as part of Benjamin Disraeli’s first term as Chancellor of the Exchequer, then Prime Minister. The chapter argues that during the period under study, the attractiveness and success of learned societies helped, and was helped by, their transformation into collective action institutions. Societies such as the Geographical, or the Anthropological, just as the Ethnological Society before, began to play an active role in domestic politics and the politics of empire. The chapter details the mechanism at work in the context of the British Expedition to Abyssinia, which played such an important role in helping Disraeli articulate what he meant by a new, assertive, imperialism. The criticisms that learned societies voiced against the previous administration (by the Liberal Premier John Russell) came to play an important role in public debates. The Abyssinian War to release King Theodore’s hostages (two of whom being members of the ASL) was supported by such pressure groups as the Anthropological who asserted their right over foreign policy by talking about “practical anthropology” (an expression that would be reinvented by anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski in the 20th century).

Keywords:   Benjamin Disraeli, empire, Reform Bill, Abyssinian Expedition, King Theodore of Abyssinia, Tewodros II, practical anthropology, Bronislaw Malinowski

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