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Armed with ExpertiseThe Militarization of American Social Research during the Cold War$
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Joy Rohde

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449673

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449673.001.0001

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A Democracy of Experts

A Democracy of Experts

Knowledge and Politics in the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex

(p.37) 2 A Democracy of Experts
Armed with Expertise

Joy Rohde

Cornell University Press

This chapter identifies the role of expertise in democracy. The basis of modern scientific authority lies in the supposedly objective and disinterested character of its empirical claims. If scientists could provide universally valid, impersonal, nonideological conclusions about society and politics, they could transform questions of power and politics into the subjects of rational, value-neutral inquiry. Thus, social science might be a powerful tool for decision making in democracies. However, many Americans long suspected that applying social science to political questions not only threatened to bring scholarship into the subjective areas of moral argument and individual values, but also raised fundamental questions about public accountability and popular participation in debates about social and political goals. The chapter then studies the interrelationship between expertise, militarization, and democracy.

Keywords:   expertise, democracy, scientific authority, social science, public accountability, militarization

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