The Interplay Between Narrative, Education, and Exposition in an Emerging Science

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Drawing upon eleven volumes of articles published between 1890 and 1990 in The Auk, journal of American ornithology, this study shows the path to professionalization through four phases of ornithological discourse history. In the science of ornithology, the interests of conservationists, science students, and scientists themselves were originally served by a single discourse form— the personal narrative of natural history. But, with professionalization, scientists increasingly associated such narratives with amateur performance. The resulting gap between professional science and public understanding of science was reinforced by the establishment of a university program of study in ornithology, by an emerging sense of a scientific community, and by the forces of environmentalism.