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The X ClubPower and Authority in Victorian Science$
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Ruth Barton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226551616

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226551753.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Organizing Science

Organizing Science

(p.229) Four Organizing Science
The X Club

Ruth Barton

University of Chicago Press

Through examination of the activities of the X-men within scientific societies this chapter reveals much about the mundane operation of scientific societies, their characteristic organisational structure, the roles of officers, and Victorian expectations as to the roles appropriate to persons of different social statuses. The concerns of the X-men were chiefly with the public image of science, that science be dignified and socially respected, judged by scientific criteria alone. Their specifically professionalizing concerns focused on building the infrastructure for scientific research. They devoted considerable effort to getting themselves elected to high positions in the Royal Society, and ensuring that high birth was no longer a criterion for the presidency. In the Ethnological Society of London, Lubbock, Busk and Huxley sought both scientific and social respectability for the science of man. They succeeded in reuniting the squabbling Ethnological and Anthropological Societies, and in holding the amalgamated Anthropological Institute together. By contrast, in the Linnean Society Hooker lost his long control, largely because Busk and Lubbock refused to act as his lieutenants. Through the British Association they shaped public opinion more widely, using public lectures and presidential addresses to interpret the tendencies and directions of modern science to large audiences.

Keywords:   scientific societies, Ethnological Society of London, Anthropological Society of London, Anthropological Institute, Linnean Society of London, British Association for the Advancement of Science, Royal Society of London, the infrastructure for scientific research, maintaining the dignity of science, George Busk

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