What Becomes of Pollution?: Adversary Science and the Controversy on the Self-Purification of Rivers in Britain, 1850-1900, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

What Becomes of Pollution?

Adversary Science and the Controversy on the Self-Purification of Rivers in Britain, 1850-1900, 1st Edition

By Christopher Hamlin


634 pages

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Hardback: 9780367362089
pub: 2019-11-14
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Originally published in 1987, this volume examines the ideals and realities of river use in 19th Century Britain and the failure of legal and technological remedies for river pollution. It deals with the involvement of scientists, particularly chemists, in pollution inquiries and considers the effects on the normal workings of the scientific community of scientists’ participation in the adversary forums in which water and sewage policy was made. It discusses 19th ideas of decomposition, disease causation and purification and examines the gap between the abilities of science and the needs of society that developed as the existence of water-borne disease became increasingly clear. It also deals with the politicization of water bacteriology and the emergence of a technology of biological sewage treatment from a political context.

Table of Contents

1. Duties, Disputes and Deceptions: Rivers and British Society, 1850-1900 2. Routes to Reputation: Science in an Adversary Context 3. The Antithesis of Life: Decomposition in Victorian Science and Medicine 4. Biological Purification, 1850-1880 5. From Sensibility to Nihilism: Water Quality and Self-Purification, 1850-1860 6. The Triumph of Nihilism, 1860-68 7. The Radicalization of a Water Scientist: Edward Frankland and the London Water Controversy, 1866-69 8. Politics and Credibility: Frankland and Self Purification, 1868-1881 9. Biology Acquires a Constituency I: Organisms and the Politics of Water Supply 10. Biology Acquires a Constituency II: Organisms and the Politics of Sewage Treatment Conclusion: Society, Science and Self-Purification Appendix A: Samples of Water Analyses, 1828-72 Appendix B: Biographical Digest of Some Important but not well-known figures in the history of river self-purification

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Pollution, Climate and Change

The volumes in this set, originally published between 1931 and 1997 make major contributions to applied climatology. They include environmental debates about greenhouse gases, ozone, acid rain and land, water and air pollution and discuss:

  • The economic, social, political and strategic implications of weather and climate
  • The health & prosperity of future generations
  • The economics of a green economy
  • Sustainable security, poverty and inequitable land distribution
  • And will be of interest to decision makers in agriculture, economics and business, politicians

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
SCIENCE / Global Warming & Climate Change