Social Scientists as Experts and Public Intellectuals

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Book Chapter

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Adam Smith, Austrian school, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Cameralism, Cameralists, Comte, Corrado Gini, Fabianism, Friedrich Hayek, Harriet Martineau, Jane Addams, John Maynard Keynes, Johns Stuart Mill, Max Weber, Nationalökonomie, Patrick Geddes, Policy science, Positivism, R.H. Tawney, Raymond Aron

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Experts and intellectuals in the social sciences have a long history of relating to the state and the public. These relations vary in kind from those based on technical knowledge applied to policy to cults to social scientists in organic relations to social movements to organized attempts to develop public policyguided by social science knowledge. The most successful early attempts were cameralism and official statistics, but intellectuals like John Stuart Mill also reached a wide public audience in the nineteenth century. In the late nineteenth century, social reformmovements claimed expert knowledge. As the social sciences entered the university, however, the forms of influence changed. Under the influence of the Rockefeller philanthropies, social science became more ‘realistic’ and the emphasis shifted to creating professions dependent on academic knowledge and certification. Think tanks and other forms of knowledge intervention developed which relied on academic social science. Public intellectuals, however, speaking not to professions or bureaucrats, remained important.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Social Scientists as Experts and Public Intellectuals, in J. D. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (2nd Ed.), Elsevier, p. 695-700