Thinking About Think Tanks: Politics by Techno-Scientific Means

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The creation of think tanks has in part been motivated by the desire for an apolitical politics, a politics of facts and standards rather than a politics of interests and public ignorance, and opposed to political machines. This chapter brings out some of the features of this kind of politics in the USA through the historical example of the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor Statistics, which illustrates the place of the construction of a factual world by think tanks as part of policy processes. The history of this bureau also shows how think tanks become surrogates for party intellectuals—a non-category in the USA. Think tanks then proliferated elsewhere as surrogates for politics by normal means.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Thinking About Think Tanks: Politics by Techno-Scientific Means, in J. E. Castro, B. Fowler & H. Martins (Eds.), Time, Science and the Critique of Technological Reason, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 347-365