The conflict identified in this book between academic incentives and the needs of national security has broad relevance. The fields of social science that are important for national security are those that study other societies. They are likely to be peripheral in their academic disciplines, where the mainstream deals with American, or at any rate Western, problematics, and sets the research agenda accordingly. Practitioners in peripheral fields may be expected to seek professional respectability by adopting topics and approaches from the mainstream of their discipline, even if ill-fitting to the task at hand. The case of Sovietology shows the professional and political incentives operating in academia to be stronger than the government’s power of the purse in determining the direction of research. This casts a doubt on the strain of “Cold War science” writing that argues that government funding of university research deformed, and perhaps corrupted, academic disciplines.
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