The Cabinet of Curiosities
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By David Nugent & Kate Murphy
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Second Section - Second Pair of Drawers

Networks within networks

Science is dependent on communication - networks of patronage, training, exchange and information. These networks often took on an imperial form, centred on the scientific institutions of Britain - Australian scientists were consigned to the periphery. Thus even an extremely well-credentialled scientist like Ferdinand von Mueller found himself at the wrong end of the exchange system - unable to prepare the Flora Australis from Australia! But Mueller himself was a centre for patronage and exchange, maintaining an active and diverse network of collectors around the country. When we examine the centre/periphery model closely we find a more complex picture - networks within networks. Who gains access to these various centres of authority and why? What about women scientists? What about amateurs? What roles do they find within these networks?

[ The Cabinet | Bright Sparcs | ASAPWeb ]

Prepared by Tim Sherratt (
for publication on ASAPWeb, 22 June 1997.