Six Legs Better: A Cultural History of Myrmecology

Sleigh, Charlotte (2007) Six Legs Better: A Cultural History of Myrmecology. Animals, History, Culture . John Hopkins University Press, UK, 336 pp. ISBN 0-8018-8445-4. (Submitted) (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

Ants have long fascinated linguists, human sociologists, and even cyberneticians. At the end of the nineteenth century, ants seemed to be admirable models for human life and were praised for their work ethic, communitarianism, and apparent empathy. They provided a natural-theological lesson on the relative importance of humans within creation and inspired psychologists to investigate the question of instinct and its place in the life of higher animals and humans. By the 1930s, however, ants came to symbolize one of modernity's deepest fears: the loss of selfhood. Researchers then viewed the ant colony as an unthinking mass, easily ruled and slavishly organized. In this volume, Charlotte Sleigh uses specific representations of ants within the field of entomology from the late nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries to explore the broader role of metaphors in science and their often unpredictable translations. Marking the centenary of the coining of "myrmecology" - the study of ants - as a science, "Six Legs Better" demonstrates the remarkable historical role played by ants as a node where notions of animal, human, and automaton intersect.

Item Type: Book
Projects: [23] Six Legs Better: A Cultural History of Myrmecology (Leverhulme fellowship)
[78] The Natural History of the Human Mind (British Academy)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: L.J. Brown
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:35
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2014 08:43
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/922 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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