Social Science Makes Its Case

The Nationalization of the Social Sciences. Samuel Z. Klausner and Victor M. Lidz, eds. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1986. 296 pp. $34.95. Skilled scholarly archaeologists from Philadelphia apparently took a field trip to the canyons of New York City and discovered an important document in the archives of the Social Science Research Council. The document is the heretofore unpublished "Social Science: A Basic National Resource," drafted in 1948 by the late Talcott Parsons to a

Otto Larsen
Mar 8, 1987
The Nationalization of the Social Sciences. Samuel Z. Klausner and Victor M. Lidz, eds. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1986. 296 pp. $34.95.


Skilled scholarly archaeologists from Philadelphia apparently took a field trip to the canyons of New York City and discovered an important document in the archives of the Social Science Research Council. The document is the heretofore unpublished "Social Science: A Basic National Resource," drafted in 1948 by the late Talcott Parsons to assist the SSRC in lobbying for the inclusion of the social sciences among the concerns of the embryonic National Science Foundation.

The report was intended to persuade physical scientists and politicians that social science was important and that it proceeded from the same principles that guided the natural sciences. Parsons posted empirical achievements and proclaimed that such work grows in tandem with sound interdisciplinary social science theory. This argument was intended to remedy the invisibility...