The great man theory is the effect of influential figures who have had an impactful historical effect. These forces are both larger and smaller than the individual itself, but those like Marx and have change societies’ views on how we interact with our surroundings. Marx himself identified three primary forces, the class struggle, the evolution of capitalism, and the innovation of technology. This theory then bleeds into the next: The paradigm shift, introduced by Kuhn. The paradigm shift occurs when revolutionary science is born from the data that cannot be explained, which is a deviation from the normality of the structural side of science. This deviation creates new rules and conventions that will untimely collapse the old system. The ecosystem theory helps to develop a commonality in understanding the actors in science that help us understand our earth’s ecosystem or the “long zoom” science. Each method helps to explain that historical change is activated by what most cannot see. This academic change, therefore, seeks to push the boundaries and create new norms and expectations that allow us to see the bigger picture of our world and its functions. Lastly, it connects such micro fields to help better understand the bigger picture we are starting to finally see.
Johnson uses the example of the coffeehouse culture to illustrate Priestley’s discovery of oxygen. This example talks about how the public space of the coffeehouse turned out to be the perfect environment to spark intellectual and academically innovative conversations. This created a network of relationships of enlightenment, with the help of coffee of course. An example of this method could be in the form of clubs, academic or not, but it is an environment which stimulates passion, mutual understanding of the subjects, and excitement for discussion.