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Dreamscapes of ModernitySociotechnical Imaginaries and the Fabrication of Power$
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Sheila Jasanoff and Sang-Hyun Kim

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226276496

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226276663.001.0001

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Our Monsters, Ourselves

Our Monsters, Ourselves

Reimagining the Problem of Knowledge in Cold War America

Chapter:
(p.56) Three Our Monsters, Ourselves
Source:
Dreamscapes of Modernity
Author(s):

Michael Aaron Dennis

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226276663.003.0003

What was the status of American scientists working with the US military during the Cold War? Were they the equals of their military patrons, or were they employees, doing jobs to which they had been assigned? Answers from two leading science policy experts reveal the presence of competing sociotechnical imaginaries in early Cold War America. In one imaginary, articulated by Vannevar Bush, science and politics were separate domains and breaching their boundaries was akin to the Soviet Union's monstrous Lysenkoist moment of politics corrupting science. In another, expounded by Bush's most influential reader, Don Price, the freedom of science rested upon the incorporation of science into the American state's postwar foundation. Reading Price's influential 1954 work, Science and Government, this essay explores how Price sought to convince researchers that what had once been a problem could be solved by properly training a cadre of policy professionals who could mediate between truth and power.

Keywords:   sociotechnical imaginary, US science policy, Cold War science, military, research and development, Lysenkoism, expertise

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