Rationalization and Reality in the Shaping of American Agricultural Research, 1875-1914
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CitationRosenberg, Charles E. 1977. Rationalization and reality in the shaping of American agricultural research, 1875-1914. Social Studies of Science 7(4): 401-422.
AbstractProblems in contemporary American agricultural research have origins in nineteenth-century economic and social realities and in the perceptions and responses of scientists and scientist-administrators who sought to forge careers within this context. The economic needs of agriculture in a highly competitive world market helped justify the support of would-be scientists. Emphasis on the necessary interdependence of pure science and applied science was one natural response of scientists who desired autonomy but could not question the power or legitimacy of farm and business constituencies. By 1900, growth and a policy of accommodation had begun to create conflict and even discontent in the minds of at least some scientists. However, the expanding of career options in the biological sciences, the elaboration of new applied science disciplines, the granting of generous federal support for extension (demonstration and education), and the increasing of support for research all served - in a period of institutional growth - to provide of a more varied set of career options for scientists and administrators and economic guidance for agricultural producers and agriculture-related business. Thus, America's agricultural research establishment moved into the twentieth century, rigid in ideology, wedded to a habitually compromising interaction with its client constituency - yet diverse and well-funded enough to support the varied ambitions and ideals of most scientists and administrators.
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