1900 – Popular science as the work of Lucifer: the tensions between ‘enlightenment of the people’ and ‘popular science’ in Denmark

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In this article, the use of the term ‘popular science’ will be analysed within a specific national and linguistic context; namely the Danish cultural and religious climate around 1900. The Danish case demonstrates that the concepts of ‘popular science’ and ‘popularising of science’ cannot be uncritically used as descriptive terms by historians, since the concepts functioned as normative identity markers in cultural and educational struggles. Thus, from the 1870’s, the concept of ‘popular science’ became a contested actors’ category embraced by urban radical popularisers and rejected by rural Grundtvigian educators, who preferred ‘enlightenment of the people’ (folkeoplysning) as a non-paternalistic alternative to ‘popular science’ (populærvidenskab).
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)504-509
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2019

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