Tags

Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

The conquest of vitalism or the eclipse of organicism? The 1930s Cambridge organizer project and the social network of mid-twentieth-century biology.
Br J Hist Sci. 2014 Jun; 47(173 Pt 2):281-304.BJ

Abstract

In the 1930s, two concepts excited the European biological community: the organizer phenomenon and organicism. This essay examines the history of and connection between these two phenomena in order to address the conventional 'rise-and-fall' narrative that historians have assigned to each. Scholars promoted the 'rise-and-fall' narrative in connection with a broader account of the devitalizing of biology through the twentieth century. I argue that while limited evidence exists for the 'fall of the organizer concept' by the 1950s, the organicism that often motivated the organizer work had no concomitant fall--even during the mid-century heyday of molecular biology. My argument is based on an examination of shifting social networks of life scientists from the 1920s to the 1970s, many of whom attended or corresponded with members of the Cambridge Theoretical Biology Club (1932-1938). I conclude that the status and cohesion of these social networks at the micro scale was at least as important as macro-scale conceptual factors in determining the relative persuasiveness of organicist philosophy.

Authors

No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Historical Article
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

24941735

Citation

Peterson, Erik. "The Conquest of Vitalism or the Eclipse of Organicism? the 1930s Cambridge Organizer Project and the Social Network of Mid-twentieth-century Biology." British Journal for the History of Science, vol. 47, no. 173 Pt 2, 2014, pp. 281-304.
Peterson E. The conquest of vitalism or the eclipse of organicism? The 1930s Cambridge organizer project and the social network of mid-twentieth-century biology. Br J Hist Sci. 2014;47(173 Pt 2):281-304.
Peterson, E. (2014). The conquest of vitalism or the eclipse of organicism? The 1930s Cambridge organizer project and the social network of mid-twentieth-century biology. British Journal for the History of Science, 47(173 Pt 2), 281-304.
Peterson E. The Conquest of Vitalism or the Eclipse of Organicism? the 1930s Cambridge Organizer Project and the Social Network of Mid-twentieth-century Biology. Br J Hist Sci. 2014;47(173 Pt 2):281-304. PubMed PMID: 24941735.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The conquest of vitalism or the eclipse of organicism? The 1930s Cambridge organizer project and the social network of mid-twentieth-century biology. A1 - Peterson,Erik, PY - 2014/6/20/entrez PY - 2014/6/20/pubmed PY - 2014/7/6/medline SP - 281 EP - 304 JF - British journal for the history of science JO - Br J Hist Sci VL - 47 IS - 173 Pt 2 N2 - In the 1930s, two concepts excited the European biological community: the organizer phenomenon and organicism. This essay examines the history of and connection between these two phenomena in order to address the conventional 'rise-and-fall' narrative that historians have assigned to each. Scholars promoted the 'rise-and-fall' narrative in connection with a broader account of the devitalizing of biology through the twentieth century. I argue that while limited evidence exists for the 'fall of the organizer concept' by the 1950s, the organicism that often motivated the organizer work had no concomitant fall--even during the mid-century heyday of molecular biology. My argument is based on an examination of shifting social networks of life scientists from the 1920s to the 1970s, many of whom attended or corresponded with members of the Cambridge Theoretical Biology Club (1932-1938). I conclude that the status and cohesion of these social networks at the micro scale was at least as important as macro-scale conceptual factors in determining the relative persuasiveness of organicist philosophy. SN - 0007-0874 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/24941735/The_conquest_of_vitalism_or_the_eclipse_of_organicism_The_1930s_Cambridge_organizer_project_and_the_social_network_of_mid_twentieth_century_biology_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -
Try the Free App:
Prime PubMed app for iOS iPhone iPad
Prime PubMed app for Android
Prime PubMed is provided
free to individuals by:
Unbound Medicine.