Thesis ID: CBB001561036

Studies of Science before “Science Studies”: Cold War and the Politics of Science in the U.S., U.K., and U.S.S.R., 1950s--1970s (2012)


Aronova, Elena (Author)

University of California, San Diego
Oreskes, Naomi
Gere, Catherina M.

Publication Date: 2012
Edition Details: Advisors: Oreskes, Naomi; Catherina M. Gere
Physical Details: 330 pp.
Language: English

This dissertation investigates the history of Science Studies (or Science and Technology Studies, STS) as it became a distinct area of expertise and academic inquiry during the Cold War. The dissertation pursues five distinct histories, each focused on a confined mode of analysis of science that articulated, evaluated, and rationalized Cold War sensibilities and concerns. The case studies in question are: (1) UNESCO and the framework of "scientific humanism" promoted by its two visionary founders, Julian Huxley and Joseph Needham, and implemented in UNESCO's major history of science project, History of Mankind, in the 1950s and 1960s; (2) the Congress for Cultural Freedom and its quest, in the 1960s and 1970s, to promote "science studies" as part of its broader agenda to offer a renewed, "post-Marxist," framework for liberalism, (3) the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which in the first ten years of its existence, 1962-1972, undertook the bold initiative of launching a sustained inquiry into social studies of modern biology; (4) the short-lived "philosophical phase" in medical ethics, marked by medical ethicists' interest in and appropriations from post-positivist philosophy of science, which I explore by analyzing the series of workshops organized under the auspices of the Hastings Center in the late 1970s and early 1980s; and (5) a particular mode of reflection on science and its intellectual foundations developed by Soviet philosophers in the 1960s-1970s under the name of "naukovedenie." All these modes of analyses of science represent roads not taken. The "vision" of science studies all these groups were promoting is different from science studies as we know it today. Yet these alternative visions, in which the issues of science politics were inseparable from those of science policy, science organization, and science governance, constitute an important "pre-history" of Science Studies. I argue that the promotion of the studies of science as a politically relevant area of expertise, undertaken within existing powerful institutional structures outside academia, helped to legitimize the disciplinary identity of science studies in the age of the Cold War.


Description Cited in ProQuest Diss. & Thes. (2012). ProQuest Doc. ID 1095115807.

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Authors & Contributors
Sáez de Adana, Francisco
Camprubi Bueno, Lino
Weiner, Sharon K.
Unger, Corinna R.
Tsukahara, Togo
Thompson, Nicholas
Social Studies of Science
Journal for the History of Knowledge
Science as Culture
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Journal of Social History
Journal of Contemporary History
Stanford University Press
Yale University Press
Times Books
The MIT Press
Los Libros de la Catarata
Science and politics
Cold War
Nuclear weapons; atomic weapons
Science studies, theoretical works
Science studies, as a discipline
Cross-national interaction
Huxley, Julian Sorell
Dewey, John
Tereshkova, Valentina
Marx, Karl
Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich
Huxley, Aldous
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
United States
Soviet Union
Great Britain
United Kingdom
Arctic regions
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; Partial Test Ban Treaty; Limited Test Ban Treaty (1963)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

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