Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-2570-1 • Hardback • December 2015 • $109.00 • (£84.00)
978-1-4985-2571-8 • eBook • December 2015 • $103.50 • (£80.00)
Richard G. Olson is professor emeritus of history at Harvey Mudd College and adjunct professor of history at Claremont Graduate University.
Chapter 1: Scientism among the Engineers: Origins of the Scientific Management Movement
Chapter 2: Scientific Management Enters the Public Domain: The Birth of the Administrative State and the Rise of Modernism in the Arts
Chapter 3: Taylorism goes Global: The Spread of Technocratic/Scientistic Ideologies, 1910–1943
Chapter 4: Technocracy during the Cold War, 1945–1990
Chapter 5: Technocracy/Scientism in the Developing World, 1900–2000
Chapter 6: Mitigated Scientism and Technocracy: The Evolving Character of Technical Expertise and Advice at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century
Chapter 7: Continuing Concerns about the Role of Expertise in a Democracy
Chapter 8: Conclusion: On the Mixed Blessings of Scientism and Technocracy
Scientism and Technocracy in the Twentieth Century covers far more ground than a brief review can detail.... Comparing the career of scientific management across such a wide scope is an ambitious and interesting project, and Olson ably synthesizes a variety of literatures from business history, the history of the social sciences, the history of imperialism, and much more, offering many tantalizing narrative lines.... Because of its transnational comparative approach...Olson’s work has something new to offer to scholars of a variety of geographic specialities interested in the historical and contemporary relationship between science, technology, and democracy in the twentieth century.
This is a masterful addition to an extensive body of work analyzing the complex relationships between modern science and society. Beginning with Science Deified and Science Defied (1982) Richard Olson has produced a series of insightful, general studies of the ways science has influenced, been appropriated by, and critically challenged social orders. Scientism and Technocracy in the Twentieth Century is a worthy addition to his many previous publications and significantly deepens his search for appropriate ways to think and act to enhance ‘the quality of our public and private lives’ in a world increasingly dependent on both scientific knowledge and engineering prowess.
— Carl Mitcham, Colorado School of Mines
We often think of technocracy as a failed movement of the early twentieth-century United States. However, as Richard G. Olson shows in this definitive survey of a century of scientific management's global reach, its principles continue to play a profound role in politics and society throughout the world.
— Matthew Wisnioski, Virginia Tech
Richard Olson is one of the world’s keenest observers and thinkers on the evolution of the relationship between science, culture, and society. In this lucid, insightful, and global historical exploration of Taylorite scientific management, scientism, and technocracy in the modern era ranging from the United States and Europe to China and Africa, he shows both their potent influences and severe limitations, providing a timely reminder that the single-minded pursuit of efficiency could lead to disasters if not combined with broader concerns for democracy, equality, and other human values.
— Zuoyue Wang, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona