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Title: Building Manchester biology 1851-1963 : national agendas, provincial strategies
Author: Kraft, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 9503
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis examines the development of biology as an academic discipline in Manchester from the second half of the nineteenth century until the early 1960s. During the late nineteenth century, as has been well documented by a number of studies, the life sciences underwent rapid and radical change. However, as this thesis emphasises, the opening decades of the twentieth century were also crucial to the institutionalization of biology, bringing as they did the rise of applied biology and the growth of specialization. Biological departments are the locus of the discipline-building process. The changes that transformed biology over the decades in question are therefore explored as they manifested themselves in the growth and development of the Botany and Zoology departments of Manchester University. The study situates Manchester within the wider national institutional and disciplinary context and examines the influence of political and economic factors on Manchester Biology. While others have examined aspects of the history of British biology through studies of individual institutions, the present study is the first to explore the particular dynamics involved in building biology in a civic university. The study therefore brings a much needed `provincial' perspective to bear on a national picture characterized by an uneven distribution of resources. The thesis therefore has broader relevance for the question of the changing relationship between science, the universities and the state in the twentieth century. This thesis is concerned with three major currents of change that shaped the content and organization of academic biology in the period under study: the `New Biology' of the late nineteenth century, the rise of applied biology in the early twentieth century and the growth of `experimental zoology' in the interwar period. The emphasis is on research, although pedagogical change is also considered at particular points. The first shift took biology into the laboratory. The rise of applied biology led to the mobilization of state funds for biology and widened career opportunities for biologists. The third current is associated with specialization and the move beyond whole organism biology: for example, to the cellular and molecular levels.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available