Copyright Sociological Research Online, 1996
The commitment to 'academic science' and the strengthening of the professionalization process placed the social sciences above reproach. These 'new intellectuals' could then become the technical experts who would provide unbiased, objective solutions to social problems... Rockefeller philanthropy was actively involved in confirming through reproduction those parts of the dominant ideology that placed faith in objectivity, professionalism, science and the academy. (Fisher, 1983: p. 224).
It is inadvisable to attempt to influence the findings or conclusions of research and investigations through the designation of either personnel, specific problems to be attacked, or methods of inquiry to be adopted.... (RAC)
...the only way to judge a proposal is by virtue of the intellectual capacity, the record of imagination, of dedication, and of interest of the man who proposes to do this work. The specification of the problem is almost always unimportant.... (RFOH: p. 430)Regarding the famous methodological work of the American Soldier (Stouffer et al., 1950):
...remember that the Carnegie interest in Stouffer started with the applied problem of morale. ... The methodology was Stouffer's interest ... appropriations from the Carnegie Corporation ... were rarely ... for straight methodological development, they were always focused on an important social question. (CCOH: p. 77)
|Empirical articles|| Non-empirical articles
|Date||%||N||%|| N |
|1920s||94||50||100|| 81 |
|1930s||81||102||98|| 57 |
|1940s||83||121||98|| 54 |
|1950s||60||116||100|| 41 |
|1960s||41||108||84|| 25 |
|1970s||41||134||77|| 26 |
|1980s||31||126||38|| 16 |
|Funded articles|| Unfunded articles |
|Date||%||N||%|| N |
|1920s||(50)||2||41|| 41 |
|1930s||(89)||9||47|| 73 |
|1940s||60||20||35|| 88 |
|1950s||74||43||55|| 65 |
|1960s||92||68||67|| 42 |
|1970s||96||75||78|| 50 |
|1980s||92||85||74|| 35 |
2 There are works on other aspects of Rockefeller philanthropy, several taking a line similar to Fisher's (Alchon, 1985; Brown, 1979).
3 A problem for the adequacy of the data is caused here by the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial policy that their support should not be publicly mentioned (Bulmer and Bulmer, 1981: p. 382); this, however, affects only the 1920s.
4 This picture is supported by Robinson's estimates (1983: p. 36), which show the proportion of funding provided for social-science research by foundations declining from 22% in 1956 to 5% in 1980, while government funding rose from 31% to 61%. (The remainder is university funding).
5 Blalock's undergraduate degree was in maths with a physics minor (Blalock, 1988: p. 108); Coleman started in chemical engineering (Coleman, 1984); Sewell majored in sociology but also had met the prerequisites for medical school with the intention of becoming a physician (Sewell, 1983).
6 Why this should have been so is an issue which this paper cannot address; for some discussion relating to it, see Platt, 1996.
7 cf. Crawford and Biderman (1970: p. 76): '...publications have not been moving away from an academic-centred pattern toward one expected of a bureaucracy-serving field ... Federal sponsorship seemingly has been accommodated more to academic sociology than academic sociology has accommodated to its federal sponsors ... one would conclude from these data that [science rather than the state] possessed the preponderance of power.
8 It would be interesting, in future research, to compare the situation in Britain, or in other countries where the funding pattern has historically been somewhat different. Such a comparison would be complicated by both the differences in national intellectual traditions and structures of cross-national sociological hegemony.
9 The US left critique of quantification pays curiously little attention to the public arguments from the right in the 1950s which saw scientism as virtually subversive, because of its absence of value-commitment to Americanism (Platt, 1986; 1994). Left and right have sometimes shared an objection to styles of work which do not guarantee support for their preferred conclusions.
RAC - Rockefeller Archive Center, 'Program and policies in social sciences', 1/3/29, p. 29039, RG 3.1: 910: box 1, folder 1.
RFOH - Oral History Archive, Columbia University: Rockefeller Foundation Oral History Project, Warren Weaver.
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