Science and Citizenship
possesses a university? That, to be sure, would be a criterion of civic status unrecognised by, and unknown to, the lawyer and the politician. But universities are not institutions that appeal to juristic and political minds. In Russia, the state corrects academic exuberance by occasional application of the military musket and the police baton; in India by proscribing progressive literature; in England by the more subtle processes of financial starvation. There is in the normal undergraduate mind a youthful ardour that is highly resistant to the juristic ideals which lawyers and politicians call stability, and physiologists call ossification. Is, then, this popular conception of the vital civic importance of the university a useful starting-point for the sociological investigator? In any case, it is a well-recognised truth that popular conceptions are, for science, more convenient points of departure than culture ones, since they are nearer to that naked and unadorned order of nature, to which the scientist must constantly return for the verification of his thought.
Assuming, then, as a provisional criterion, the possession of a university as a determinant of civic status, we have in the university cities of the world two hundred and thirty-six objects which actually exist in time and space. Here is an abundance of concrete objects for observation, without which the scientific investigator, whether of cities or other phenomena, cannot get to work at all. His methods,