Title

Natural history as stamp collecting: a brief history

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Publication Title

Archives of natural history

Department

Science, Technology and Society

Abstract

The endeavour of natural history has often been ridiculed as “mere stamp collecting” by those unwilling to see anything scientific in naturalists' work. This paper traces some of the ways the term “stamp collecting” has been used in scientific literature. It discusses how the term can be seen as a reflection of the changing methodological context in which science has been done in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also points to the importance of considering the relative status of certain sciences not as a problem of what type of science is better or more important but as a problem of scientific communities competing for both resources and prestige.

ISSN

1464-5297