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Séminaire Savoir et Pouvoir – 1e séance – 26/06/2018

26 juin- 10 h 30 min - 12 h 00 min

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1ère séance du nouveau séminaire Savoir & Pouvoir, récemment labellisé par la MSH Paris-Saclay.

Avec Jeff Pooley, Muhlenberg College, USA

The Remobilization of the Propaganda and Morale Network, 1949–1953

In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. social scientists serving in Washington and abroad returned—most of them—to their universities. A large share of those returnees had staffed the U.S. government’s sprawling propaganda and morale bureaucracies. Shuffling between agencies, these scholars-on-loan forged informal ties and something like a network. Back on campus, they resumed teaching and research. A raft of published work based on wartime projects soon appeared, under a label— »communications research »—that had taken hold during the war. But few of the returning social scientists identified with the new field.

The thesis is that the Cold War brought them back together. The new national security state, in other words, recruited a remarkably similar cast of social scientists to run its propaganda research initiatives. Some of those projects were self-conscious revivals, but even the fresh initiatives were staffed by veterans of the earlier campaigns. The mix of military, civilian, and foundation sponsors in the early Cold War, moreover, resembled the WW II configuration. The propaganda and morale network was, in effect, remobilized.

The first mobilization is widely considered a pivotal moment in the history of U.S. social science, one that reverberated for decades. The second mobilization—in full swing from 1949 until the Korean armistice in 1953—is rarely invoked in these terms. One of this paper’s claims is that the second enlistment was crucial too, if only because the lessons of the war were institutionalized in these years. Yoked together again, around a similar set of propaganda and morale problems, scholars used the funded, networked projects to re-enact, and in some cases formalize, their intoxicating World War II experience. The blueprints, in other words, were drafted in the first half of the decade, but only built out years later against the new, Cold War backdrop.


La séance aura pour objet la discussion de l’article en cours de Jeff Pooley.

Mardi 26 Juin 2018 (10h30-12h), Salle de réunion de l’ISP, 4ème étage du Bâtiment Laplace, ENS Paris Saclay


Organisateurs :

Virginie Albe, ENS Paris-Saclay

Delphine Berdah, Université Paris-Sud

Ioana Popa, Université Paris Nanterre



Date :
26 juin
Heure :
10 h 30 min - 12 h 00 min
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