Shaky Foundations: The Politics-Patronage-Social Science Nexus in Cold War America

Shaky Foundations: The Politics-Patronage-Social Science Nexus in Cold War America

by Mark Solovey

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“Solovey’s social scientists are neither naïve researchers exploited by the military-industrial complex nor greedy masterminds eagerly anticipating their patrons’ needs. Instead, he presents us with a series of encounters between program managers, disciplinary spokesmen, and political partisans, each of which demonstrates its participants’ unexpectedly complex positions. In what feels like a prelude to contemporary partisan investigations of the social sciences, Shaky Foundations recounts numerous instances of McCarthy-era attacks on social scientists as leftist agitators.” —Science
Shaky Foundations offers an important new argument about how the American social sciences interacted with wider social and political forces during the Cold War era. Solovey has done very important work in establishing the bitterly contested character of postwar epistemological and institutional shifts.” —Isis
“This is an important book. The brilliance of this book lies in pinpointing the origins of the terms that are still used in contemporary debates on the role of social science in the United States. This book is a critical tool in approaching the most essential question —what’s next for American social science?” —LSE Review of Books
“Solovey leaves readers with a sharpened understanding of the travails of social science research during the first two decades of the Cold War.” —Journal of American History
“Solovey makes a valuable contribution to the growing literature on the development of social sciences in the U.S. during the 20th century. A major achievement is the author’s presentation of this often complicated and complex story in a clearly written and well-documented manner. Highly recommended.” —Choice
Shaky Foundations impressively pulls back the curtain on American social scientists and their complex relationships with funding agencies, offering crucial insights into the past—and the future—of social science.” —David C. Engerman, author of Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America’s Soviet Experts
“In this clearly written and thoroughly researched book, Mark Solovey takes a new approach to writing the history of the social sciences in America by ‘following the money’ and examining how patrons and their agendas shaped the development of the field.” —Nadine Weidman, author of Constructing Scientific Psychology: Karl Lashley’s Mind-Brain Debates

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813571287
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 05/01/2015
Series: Studies in Modern Science, Technology, and the Environment
Edition description: First Paperback Edition
Pages: 266
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

MARK SOLOVEY is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. He is the coeditor of Cold War Social Science: Knowledge Production, Liberal Democracy, and Human Nature.

Table of Contents


1. Social Science on the Endless (and End-less?) Frontier

2. Defense and Offense in the Military Science Establishment

3. Vision, Analysis, or Subversion?

4. Cultivating Hard-Core Social Research at the NSF



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