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Mandarins of the Future : Modernization Theory in Cold War America, Paperback / softback Book

Mandarins of the Future : Modernization Theory in Cold War America Paperback / softback

Part of the New Studies in American Intellectual and Cultural History series


Ideas about how to "modernize," particularly when developed countries apply them to countries less fortunate, clearly have consequences, intended and unintended. Modernization theory must be among the most important constructs of the twentieth century, certainly in the story of the social sciences. Nils Gilman here offers the first (or second) attempt to treat its development as a problem in intellectual history.

The dimensions of the problem call for special ambition and competence, and Gilman has turned in a highly creditable performance. His study ranges from concepts of "modernism" to the post-World War II/Cold War American sense of global mission and responsibility. Gilman examines rising energy levels at the most prestigious university departments in the social sciences, with an entire chapter exploring Talcott Parsons and the Harvard social relations program and another on Walt Rostow and the attempt to rationalize foreign aid/foreign policy at MIT. Gilman thus supplies the background and context for the nation's "generous" Third World programs during the period of competition with the Soviet Union-and the same for our most grievous postwar blunder, the notion that our power and good intentions could save the South Vietnamese from poverty, themselves, and the post-colonialists to the north. "Nils Gilman effectively charts the development of "Modernization theory" in American intellectual life after World War II, examining the intstitutional networks that usstained it and helped make it a keystone of academic and foreign-policy discourse in the 1950s and early 1960s." --Howard Brick, Washington University, St.

Louis "Gilman provides not only the fullest history of modernization theory, and its linkages to actual government policy formation, we have to date, but he explores in depth a fascinating slice of American intellectual history in the 1960s and early 1970s. His analysis of foundation and academic politics and their interface with government agencies is detailed, original and compelling...He also has some provocative things to say about its resurrection, however uncertain, following the collapse of commmand communism in Eastern Europe. ..No serieous author (or teacher) will be able to tackle this subject without considering his arguments and mastering his history of one of the most influential ideologies of the late 20th century." --Michael Adas, Rutgers University "Wonderfully written ...based on marvelous archival work.

The [sections] on the Social Science Research Council committess and and on the internal workings of gropus at MIT and elsewhere is simply terrific...[Gilman's] interviews with Gabirel Amond, Albert Hirschmann, and others were very successful." --David A.

Hollinger, University of California, Berkeley


  • Format: Paperback / softback
  • Pages: 344 pages, No
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Social issues & processes
  • ISBN: 9780801886331

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