© 2016

Science Studies during the Cold War and Beyond

Paradigms Defected

  • Elena Aronova
  • Simone Turchetti

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Science Studies in the “West”

  3. Studies of Science Behind the “Curtain”

  4. National Agendas of the Studies of Science Beyond the “Two Blocs”

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 289-328

About this book


This book examines the ways in which studies of science intertwined with Cold War politics, in both familiar and less familiar “battlefields” of the Cold War. Taken together, the essays highlight two primary roles for science studies as a new field of expertise institutionalized during the Cold War in different political regimes. Firstly, science studies played a political role in cultural Cold War in sustaining as well as destabilizing political ideologies in different political and national contexts. Secondly, it was an instrument of science policies in the early Cold War: the studies of science were promoted as the underpinning for the national policies framed with regard to both global geopolitics and local national priorities. As this book demonstrates, however, the wider we cast our net, extending our histories beyond the more researched developments in the Anglophone West, the more complex and ambivalent both the “science studies” and “the Cold War” become outside these more familiar spaces. The national stories collected in this book may appear incommensurable with what we know as science studies today, but these stories present a vantage point from which to pluralize some of the visions that were constitutive to the construction of “Cold War” as a juxtaposition of the liberal democracies in the “West” and the communist “East.” 


Cold War science policy national policy science studies Poland China Latin America Sweden

Editors and affiliations

  • Elena Aronova
    • 1
  • Simone Turchetti
    • 2
  1. 1.University of California at Santa BarbaraSanta BabaraUSA
  2. 2.University of ManchesterManchesterUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Elena Aronova is an Assistant Professor at the History Department of the University of California at Santa Barbara, USA. She is completing her book, which examines the ways in which ideas about science have become a sphere of Cold War competition, on both sides of the “iron curtain.” Her current project, Doing Things with Data, examines the politics of environmental data collection, archiving, and exchange during the Cold War.



Simone Turchetti is Lecturer at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester, UK. His research focuses on the interplay between scientists, intelligence officers and diplomats during the Cold War period. He is the author of The Pontecorvo Affair: A Cold War Defection and Nuclear Physics (2012), and more recently he has co-edited The Surveillance Imperative. Geosciences during the Cold War and Beyond.

Bibliographic information


“This volume explores the Cold War politics of ‘science studies’ in less familiar historical contexts across the East-West and Global North-South settings of the Cold War. … The book provides a much-needed plural description of the different local agendas which defined and shaped the boundaries of ‘science studies’ in the geopolitical and intellectual context of the Cold War.” (Francesco Cassata, ARO - Annali Rezensionen Online, Issue (02), September, 2018)

“‘Science Studies during the Cold War and Beyond’ provides an occasion for self-reflection where the contours of institutional geography and intellectual hierarchies gain salience, personalities and intellectual identities interlock, and the stories that one may hear at a conference dinner table turn into historiographical questions relevant beyond the confines of our community. This alone is a reason enough to make the volume a must-read for all STS scholars and to attract a broader audience.” (Ksenia Tatarchenko, H-Soz-Kult,, October, 2017)