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The professions of science in America: their ambivalent history

Kevles, Daniel J. (1981) The professions of science in America: their ambivalent history. Humanities Working Paper, 67. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

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Science started to become professionalized in the United States during the Jackson~an period. A principal aim of professionalization was to secure the goals and standards of research from interference by laymen by the institutionalization of scientific autonomy. Then and since, the scientific professions have sought to legitimate themselves by promising various quid pro quos to the society in exchange for the privilege of autonomy. The promises have included the claim that the study of science would foster morally disinterested habits of thinking and that the results of research would lead to practical., material benefit. Since the turn of the century, the claims of legitimation have in many respects been substantially validated, and the scientific professions have grown and prospered. But the very success of science, particularly after it became a favored ward of the federal government, combined with the arrangements of autonomy to provoke popular resentment and, in the era of Vietnam, rebellion. The turmoil revealed that the American scientific professions, at once respected and suspected, esoteric yet indispensable, were destined to live in tension with the larger society indefinitely.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:Prepared for Delivery in the Notre Dame Lecture Series on The Professions in American History November 10, 1981
Group:Humanities Working Papers
Series Name:Humanities Working Paper
Issue or Number:67
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090818-132859857
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Official Citation:Kevles, Daniel J. The professions of science in America: their ambivalent history. Pasadena, CA: California Institute of Technology, 1981. Humanities Working Paper, No.67.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15154
Deposited By: Lindsay Cleary
Deposited On:20 Aug 2009 20:46
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 00:55

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