Insider Intellectual History

A new trend has emerged in transatlantic intellectual history. Within the past five years, several books have appeared that focus on European émigré intellectuals or internationally active Americans who helped build new political, legal, and economic institutions toward the middle of the twentieth century. These books feature people like the Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain, the diplomat and Protestant ecumenist John Foster Dulles, the political scientist Carl J. Friedrich, the sociologist Hans Speier, and the economist Wilhelm Röpke. The midcentury crisis of democracy prompted many such figures to reexamine the social role of intellectual elites and to devise new ways of institutionalizing ideas. This paper analyzes the phenomenon of “insider intellectuals” as well as the method shared by a new generation of intellectual historians, which I interpret as a return to the sociology of knowledge. Read the paper on Academia.edu.

Engineering Operations game with Milton Weiner (3rd from right), Olaf Helmer (2nd from right), and others, 1966. RAND Archives.

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