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Endeavour. 1998;22(1):7-11.

Galvanic cultures: electricity and life in the early nineteenth century.

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Department of Social Anthropology, Queen's University, Belfast.


Electricity has long proved to be a powerful tool for investigating the properties of life. Towards the beginning of the nineteenth century new discoveries and inventions in electricity stimulated a new popular fascination with such questions. Electricity seemed a good way of understanding the machinery of life. It was the key to unlocking the secrets of vitality. Looking at these early nineteenth-century debates and discussions provides a good way of focusing on the cultural connections and ramifications of science. As electricity provided tools for understanding life, it provided tools for understanding culture also.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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