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Disrupting Science:
Social Movements, American Scientists, and the Politics of the Military, 1945-1975
Kelly Moore

Winner of the 2011 Robert K. Merton Book Award, Science, Knowledge, and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association
Honorable Mention for the 2009 Charles Tilly Best Book Award, Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section of the American Sociological Association

Paperback | 2013 | $28.95 | £23.95 | ISBN: 9780691162096
328 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
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In the decades following World War II, American scientists were celebrated for their contributions to social and technological progress. They were also widely criticized for their increasingly close ties to military and governmental power--not only by outside activists but from among the ranks of scientists themselves. Disrupting Science tells the story of how scientists formed new protest organizations that democratized science and made its pursuit more transparent. The book explores how scientists weakened their own authority even as they invented new forms of political action.

Drawing extensively from archival sources and in-depth interviews, Kelly Moore examines the features of American science that made it an attractive target for protesters in the early cold war and Vietnam eras, including scientists' work in military research and activities perceived as environmentally harmful. She describes the intellectual traditions that protesters drew from--liberalism, moral individualism, and the New Left--and traces the rise and influence of scientist-led protest organizations such as Science for the People and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Moore shows how scientist protest activities disrupted basic assumptions about science and the ways scientific knowledge should be produced, and recast scientists' relationships to political and military institutions.

Disrupting Science reveals how the scientific community cumulatively worked to unbind its own scientific authority and change how science and scientists are perceived. In doing so, the book redefines our understanding of social movements and the power of insider-led protest.


"In Disrupting Science, Kelly Moore attempts to explain how scientists' attitudes about the proper role of science and scientists in public life changed so dramatically within two generations....Moore's well-researched account introduces the pacifists, petition writers, newsletter publishers, and protestors--who doggedly drew attention to the ways that militarism was infiltrating the practice of science in the United States."--Audra J. Wolfe, Science

"Disrupting Science is an important scholarly addition to the literature in the sociology of science and history of science. The book's examination of archival sources shows a complex relationship between scientists and the military from 1945 to 1975."--G.D. Oberle, Choice

"The book prompts intriguing questions about the professional role, the boundaries by which it is constituted, and the potential consequences of overstepping those boundaries."--Joseph C. Hermanowicz, American Journal of Sociology

"As the U.S. government's budget for national and homeland security approaches three-quarters of a trillion dollars in fiscal year 2009, and the roles of science and technology continue to expand in our daily lives, our collective need for nuanced studies of the relations between the military and science is ever more pressing. Moore's thoughtful study points the way."--William J. Astore, H-Net Reviews

"Disrupting Science is first rate work. . . . Moore's account serves as an exemplary case study in what she and Scott Frickel have billed in their 2006 book as 'the new political sociology of science.' I expect her new book to be read widely across the discipline."--Steven Epstein, Mobilization

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Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments vii
List of Abbreviations ix
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 1
CHAPTER 2: The Expansion and Critiques of Science-Military Ties, 1945-1970 22
CHAPTER 3: Scientists as Moral Individuals: Quakerism and the Society for Social Responsibility in Science 54
CHAPTER 4: Information and Political Neutrality: Liberal Science Activism and the St. Louis Committee for Nuclear Information 96
CHAPTER 5: Confronting Liberalism: The Anti-Vietnam War Movement and the ABM Debate, 1965-1969 130
CHAPTER 6: Doing "Science for the People": Enactments of a New Left Politics of Science 158
CHAPTER 7: Conclusions: Disrupting the Social and Moral Order of Science 190
Notes 215
Bibliography 269
Index 293


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