A new scientific landscape
in Medical societies and scientific culture in nineteenth-century Belgium
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This chapter considers societies’ shifting position in the scientific landscape during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. It measures the effects of the specialization and professionalization of medical research. Medical societies, the chapter shows, were again ‘refashioned’ during a period of intense organizational reform, comparable to the medical reforms of the 1830s and 1840s. As the relationship between ‘specialized’ and ‘general’ research fully shifted in favor of the first ‒ an evolution exemplified most clearly in the bifurcating of new, specialized research institutes ‒ societies saw their scientific role finally eroded. Yet this did not necessarily lead to their disappearance. As ‘general’ institutions, they took up new functions as mediators between the specialized disciplines and by offering postgraduate education to a broad medical community.

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