Joy Rohde. Armed with Expertise: The Militarization of American Social Research during the Cold War.
Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.
Christian Dayé. Address for correspondence: Institut für Soziologie, Universität Graz,
Universitätsstr. 15, 8010 Graz, Austria. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The question of whether and, if yes, to what extent the Cold War influenced the social sciences has recently attracted increasing attention from American scholars. The book under review fits into this burgeoning literature. It traces the “optimistic rise, anguished fall, and unexpected rebirth of Pentagon-sponsored social research” (6) since the end of World War II and investigates how social scientists thought of themselves and their work for the government and military. The book’s chapters follow a historical chronology. Using the metaphor of a gray area to denote the interstitial networks uniting the armed forces, government agencies, and social science research, chapter 1 investigates how this area was created. The most important institutional form in the gray area, Joy Rohde argues, was the Federal Contract Research Center (FCRC); the US government entertained a total of 66 FCRCs in 1962, most of them funded by the Pentagon (23). Describing selected FCRCs, Rohde leads the reader to the core themes of her book: the militarization of social research, the freedom of science, the responsibilities of scholars, and the relation between expertise and democracy