Purges in Comparative Perspective: Rules for Exclusion and Inclusion in the Scientific Community under Political Pressure

TitlePurges in Comparative Perspective: Rules for Exclusion and Inclusion in the Scientific Community under Political Pressure
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsBeyler, R, Kojevnikov, A, Wang, J
JournalOsiris
Volume20
Pagination23-48
ISBN Number0369-7827
Keywordsarticle, CONTROLLING GERMAN SCIENCE, Discipline, History &amp, Homicide, institutions, Nazism, PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE, Political Violence, purges, Stalinism
Abstract

During the intense political upheaval that dominated the middle decades of the twentieth century, modern states intensified their drives to discipline broad sectors of society and ensure their political reliability. Subjected to such pressures, scientific institutions faced the challenge of admitting new, officially mandated criteria into the regulation of scientific life. We examine the effects of these policies on the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in National Socialist Germany, the Max Planck Society in occupied Germany after 1945, the USSR Academy of Sciences throughout the Stalin era, and the National Academy of Sciences in early cold war America. In all these cases, while academic elites largely accepted the required radical changes in the rules for membership in the scientific community, they also sought to manipulate the process to their own institutional advantage.