Armed With Expertise: The Militarization Of American Social Research During The Cold War by Joy RohdeArmed With Expertise: The Militarization Of American Social Research During The Cold War by Joy Rohde

Armed With Expertise: The Militarization Of American Social Research During The Cold War

byJoy Rohde

Hardcover | September 17, 2013

Pricing and Purchase Info

$39.11 online 
$44.95 list price save 12%
Earn 196 plum® points

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon launched a controversial counterinsurgency program called the Human Terrain System. The program embedded social scientists within military units to provide commanders with information about the cultures and grievances of local populations. Yet the controversy it inspired was not new. Decades earlier, similar national security concerns brought the Department of Defense and American social scientists together in the search for intellectual weapons that could combat the spread of communism during the Cold War. In Armed with Expertise, Joy Rohde traces the optimistic rise, anguished fall, and surprising rebirth of Cold War–era military-sponsored social research.

Seeking expert knowledge that would enable the United States to contain communism, the Pentagon turned to social scientists. Beginning in the 1950s, political scientists, social psychologists, and anthropologists optimistically applied their expertise to military problems, convinced that their work would enhance democracy around the world. As Rohde shows, by the late 1960s, a growing number of scholars and activists condemned Pentagon-funded social scientists as handmaidens of a technocratic warfare state and sought to eliminate military-sponsored research from American intellectual life.

But the Pentagon's social research projects had remarkable institutional momentum and intellectual flexibility. Instead of severing their ties to the military, the Pentagon’s experts relocated to a burgeoning network of private consulting agencies and for-profit research offices. Now shielded from public scrutiny, they continued to influence national security affairs. They also diversified their portfolios to include the study of domestic problems, including urban violence and racial conflict. In examining the controversies over Cold War social science, Rohde reveals the persistent militarization of American political and intellectual life, a phenomenon that continues to raise grave questions about the relationship between expert knowledge and American democracy.

Joy Rohde is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
Title:Armed With Expertise: The Militarization Of American Social Research During The Cold WarFormat:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:September 17, 2013Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801449677

ISBN - 13:9780801449673

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

Introduction: Hearts, Minds, and Militarization

1. Creating the Gray Area: Scholars, Soldiers, and National Security

2. A Democracy of Experts: Knowledge and Politics in the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex

3. Deeper Shades of Gray: Ambition and Deception in Project Camelot

4. From Democratic Experts to "Automatic Cold Warriors": Dismantling the Gray Area in the Vietnam Era

5. Fade to Black: The Enduring Warfare State

Epilogue: Militarization without End?


Editorial Reviews

"In Armed with Expertise, Joy Rohde analyzes a pivotal debate over expert knowledge and democracy in the context of the Cold War. As she convincingly argues, the attack on university-centered, state-sponsored social research produced powerful, unintended consequences. Rohde's writing is clear and direct, and this impressive book will appeal to a broad range of scholars interested in the histories of social science, the Cold War, public policy, and education. Rohde also raises compelling questions about the relationship between academia, intelligence, and national security in our own time."—Michael E. Latham, Fordham University, author of The Right Kind of Revolution: Modernization, Development, and U.S. Foreign Policy from the Cold War to the Present