Soviet Scientists and the State

An Examination of the Social and Political Aspects of Science in the USSR

By Peter Kneen

Paperback : 9780873958967, 138 pages, June 1985
Hardcover : 9780873958950, 138 pages, June 1985

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Table of contents

List of Tables

1. Introduction: The Social and Political Relations of Soviet Natural Scientists
The Organisation of the Book
Soviet Scientists and the State: Some Recurring Questions
The Party's Conflicting Goals: Dominance v. Efficiency

2. Soviet Natural Scientists: Institutions and Status
Natural scientists and the Academics of Sciences
Natural Scientists as an Academic Elite
Natural Scientists as Members of Economic and Political Elites
Economic status
Political status

3. The Educational Background and Social Characteristics of Soviet Natural Scientists
The Desirability of a Scientific Career and the Factors affecting its Attainment
Age, Gender and Ethnicity
Conclusion: A Social Profile of Soviet Natural Scientists

4. Soviet Scientists and World Science: The Effectiveness and Social Relations of Soviet Natural Scientists
The Analysis of Science by means of Citations
The Relative Effectiveness of Soviet Scientists as shown by Citations
The Social Relations of Soviet Scientists: Clues from the Explanations of the Level of Soviet Research Performance
The communication problem
The quality of equipment and personnel

5. Planning and Leadership in the Soviet Scientific System
Institutions: The Hybrid Character of the USSR Academy of Sciences
Planning: The Pressures of Technology and Bureaucracy
Leadership: The Advantages of Flexibility

6. Natural Scientists and the Communist Party: Structure, Functions and Membership
Communist Party Organisation and Natural Scientists
Communist Party Functions and Natural Scientists
The ideological function
The personal function
The managerial function
Communist Party Membership and Natural Scientists
Party membership by academic qualifications and post
Party membership by discipline and type of institution

7. Communist Party Policy Towards Natural Scientists: Impact and Response
Enhancing the Party's Role in Science: The Lebedev
Decree and the Right of Party Supervision
Enhancing the Role of the Party in Higher Education
Party Policy Summarised
The Response to the Party Policy
Persisting Problems: Party Policy in the late 1970s and 1980s
Conclusion: The Incompatibility of Party Goals

8. Conclusion: Science and the Centralised State
Universal Science - Insulated Scientists
The Role of the Party
Sources of Change
Science and Political Reform

Notes and References


Soviet Scientists and the State examines the constraints place upon the natural scientist in the Soviet Union. The book brings into sharp relief the social and economic consequences arising from the highly centralized character of Communist Party rule. Because conditions regarded as essential for effective scientific research conflict with the form of political control prevailing in the Soviet Union, the Soviet scientists' working environment provides a fruitful context for assessing the methods adopted by the Communist Party. This study is an excellent base from which to explore some important sources of change in contemporary Soviet politics.

The book is also a survey of the present state of natural science in the U. S.S. R. Topics of concern range from the scientists' background and social characteristics, institutions, status, and leadership to their social relations and effectiveness. The relationship of the Communist Party to the scientists is examined in detail.

Peter Kneen is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Durham, England.