The socialization of natural scientists in Russia in the 18th and first half of the 19th century: The formation of cognitiveinstitutional structures of biological and biomedical sciences

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: S. I. Vavilov Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Affiliation: S. I. Vavilov Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameVoprosy istorii estestvoznaniia i tekhniki
EditionVolume 39 3

This paper examines the process of socialization of scientists engaged in the research ofliving nature in Russia in the 18th and first half of the 19th century. Our research wasfocused on personalities (practicing physicians, pharmacists, professors at academiesand universities, agronomists, etc.) as well as on the cognitive-institutional structures ofbiological and biomedical sciences (chairs, laboratories, expeditions, botanical gardens,anatomical theatres, museums, etc.). Parallels were drawn with the socialization ofEuropean naturalists in the 16th to 18th century. We have analyzed the mechanisms oflaying the groundwork for the development of Russian science, described differentpatterns of socialization of foreign specialists in Russia, and identified natural-historyinstitutions during the formative period of the 18th century when the foundation waslaid for the stratification of professional scientific activities. In particular, we describedthe elements of European guilds that had been more or less successfully grafted intothe soil of the Russian absolutist monarchy (Academy of Sciences, universities andother educational institutions, scientific and research societies, scientific committeesunder various ministries and departments, etc.). We have outlined the frames and thedisciplinary matrix of biomedical disciplines (botany, zoology, anatomy, physiology,etc.), and depicted the careers of the scientists who made significant contributions tothe development of biological and biomedical sciences in Russia. It is emphasized thatphysicians and pharmacists were predominant in the emerging professional community.Considerable attention is given to the work of natural scientists during and afternumerous expeditions across the Russian Empire and beyond. It is concluded that theprocess of natural scientists’ socialization in Russia may be seen as the formation and change of the system of cognitive-institutional structures in the specific nationalcontext, with its development stages and disciplinary characteristics being specific forRussia. The emergence of these structures reflected both the logic of sciencedevelopment and changes in socio-cultural context of Russian society in the 18th andearly 19th century.

Keywordshistory of the 18th and 19th century science, biology, medicine, socialization, Russia, cognitive and institutional structures, natural scientist, physician, pharmacist, scientific discipline, Academy of Sciences, universities, expeditions, scientific society, scientific community
Publication date11.10.2018
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