Gentlemanly Men of Science: Sir Francis Galton and the Professionalization of the British Life-Sciences [Book Review]

Journal of the History of Biology 34 (1):83 - 114 (2001)

Abstract
Because Francis Galton (1822-1911) was a well-connected gentleman scientist with substantial private means, the importance of the role he played in the professionalization of the Victorian life-sciences has been considered anomalous. In contrast to the X-clubbers, he did not seem to have any personal need for the reforms his Darwinist colleagues were advocating. Nor for making common cause with individuals haling from social strata clearly inferior to his own. However, in this paper I argue that Galton quite realistically discerned in the reforming endeavors of the 1860s, and beyond, the potential for considerably enhancing his own reputation and standing within both the scientific community and the broader Victorian culture. In addition, his professionalizing aspirations, and those of his reformist allies, were fully concordant with the interests, ambitions and perceived opportunities of his elite social group during the Victorian period. Professionalization appealed to gentlemen of Galton's status and financial security as much as it did to the likes of Thomas Huxley and John Tyndall, primarily because it promised to confer on the whole scientific enterprise an unprecedented level of social prestige.
Keywords Francis Galton  professionalization  scientific clerisy  Victorian life-sciences  X-club
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DOI 10.1023/A:1010357526856
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A Question of Merit: John Hutton Balfour, Joseph Hooker and the 'Concussion' Over the Edinburgh Chair of Botany.Richard Bellon - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (1):25-54.
Ideas About Heredity, Genetics, and 'Medical Genetics' in Britain, 1900–1982.William Leeming - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (3):538-558.
A Question of Merit: John Hutton Balfour, Joseph Hooker and the ‘Concussion’ Over the Edinburgh Chair of Botany.Richard Bellon - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (1):25-54.
Between the Beagle and the Barnacle: Darwin’s Microscopy, 1837–1854.Boris Jardine - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (4):382-395.
Ideas About Heredity, Genetics, and ‘Medical Genetics’ in Britain, 1900–1982.William Leeming - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (3):538-558.

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