Science, Reform, and Politics in Victorian Britain: The Social Science Association 1857-1886

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Overview

Lawrence Goldman examines the origins of social policies in the mid-Victorian period from the 1850s to the 1880s. He focuses on the Social Science Association (the SSA), a remarkable organization whose debates on Victorian society attracted many eminent and powerful contributors. The Association is famous for its influence over many different social policies, including the emancipation of women. It was the first and most important arena for the pioneer British feminists. Goldman depicts the SSA in the context of its age, and explains its relevance to politics, social life and intellectual development.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...extremely well-informed...He has successfully synthesized a huge amount of information and made a very useful contribution to the history of the Victorian public sphere." Thomas William Heyck, Northwestern University, Historian

"...magnificent in scope and relentlessly revealing about mid-Victorian culture, society, and politics. [Goldman] achieves the highest standards of scholarship and historical writing." Albion

"Goldman's research is impressive. A must read for advanced students of Victorian Britain. Essential." Choice

"Valuable." Victorian Studies

"Goldman brings together a range of arguments in favor of thinking more broadly about the nature and context of the British state between 1860 and 1880 and in ways beyond the purview of the SSA." American Historical Review

"Goldman's is a book of ambitious scope. He largely makes good on his ambitions." Victorian Studies

"Goldman demonstrates how the SSA was a crucial step in the development of the modern administrative state founded on professionalism, administrative expertise, and an apeal to scientific knowledge. These larger themes make this book of interest not only to historians of the social sciences, public health, and medicine but to all historians of nineteenth-century Britain as well as those concerned with the origins of the modern state." Journal of the History of Medicine

"Goldman has written an admittedly 'messy' book (345). For this he should be commended. His is the first full-scale history of the Bristish Social Science Association (SSA)—but it is more than just that. In Goldman's hands the SSA becomes 'a window through which to observe the mid-Victorian generation and...an opportunity to generalise about the age as a whole'. As a result this, also is a wide-ranging study of politics, administration, gender, class, and ideas in nineteenth-century Britain. It is complexed and nuanced—hence the messiness—and makes some suggestive comparisons with Germany and the United States." Journal of Modern History

"The book is impressively thorough in its attention to both historiographical context and Victorian context." Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521330534
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Pages: 446
  • Lexile: 1840L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence Goldman is Lecturer in Modern History at Oxford University and a Fellow of St Peter's College.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Note on citations in the text; List of abbreviations; Introduction: the contexts of the Social Science Association; Part I. Politics: 1. The origins of the Social Science Association: legal reform, the reformation of juveniles, and the property of married women in 'the Age of Equipoise'; 2. The Social Science Association and the structure of mid-Victorian politics; 3. Organising the Social Science Association; Part II. Reform: 4. Liberalism divided and feminism divided: women and the Social Science Association; 5. Transportation, reformation and convict discipline: the Social Science Association and Victorian penal policy 1853-1871; 6. Victorian socio-medical liberalism: the Social Science Association and state medicine; 7. Labour and capital: the Social Science Association, trade unionism, and industrial harmony; 8. The Social Science Association and middle-class education: secondary schooling, endowments, and professionalism in mid-Victorian England; 9. The Social Science Association and the making of social policy; Part III. Science: 10. Social science in domestic context: popular science, sociology, and a 'science of reform'; 11. Social science in comparative international context; Part IV. Decline: 12. The decline of the Social Science Association: Liberal division, specialisation, and the end of Equipoise; Conclusion: the Social Science Association and social knowledge; Appendices; Select bibliography; Index.

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