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Volume 4

European Conceptual History

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Basic and Applied Research

The Language of Science Policy in the Twentieth Century

Edited by David Kaldewey and Désirée Schauz

352 pages, 6 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-810-6 $130.00/£92.00 Hb Not Yet Published (April 2018)

Hb   Recommend to your Library


“This is an important and timely contribution to the conceptual history of science in the twentieth century, with a laudably thorough discussion of methodological and conceptual concerns.” · Julian Bauer, European University Association


The distinction between basic and applied research was central to twentieth-century science and policymaking, and if this framework has been contested in recent years, it nonetheless remains ubiquitous in both scientific and public discourse. Employing a transnational, diachronic perspective informed by historical semantics, this volume traces the conceptual history of the basic-applied distinction from the nineteenth century to today, taking stock of European developments alongside comparative case studies from the United States and China. It shows how an older dichotomy of pure and applied science was reconceived in response to rapid scientific progress and then further transformed by the geopolitical circumstances of the postwar era.

David Kaldewey is Junior Professor for Science Studies and Sociological Theory at the University of Bonn and leader of the research group “Discovering, Exploring, and Addressing Grand Societal Challenges” funded by Stiftung Mercator. He holds a doctorate in sociology from Bielefeld University. He is the author of Wahrheit und Nützlichkeit (2013) and various publications dealing with the changing relationship of science and politics.

Désirée Schauz is a senior researcher at the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities and a habilitation candidate at the Technical University of Munich, where she was previously a Dilthey Fellow. She has published widely on the role of concepts in science policy in journals such as Minerva, History of Science (with Benoît Godin), Forum interdisziplinäre Begriffsgeschichte, and NTM.

Subject: 20th Century History Sociology
Area: Europe

Basic and Applied Research: The Language of Science Policy in the Twentieth Century edited by David Kaldewey and Désirée Schauz is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

This edition is supported by the University of Bonn.

OA ISBN: 978-1-78533-811-3


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Why Do Concepts Matter in Science Policy?
Désirée Schauz and David Kaldewey

List of Abbreviations


Chapter 1. Categorizing Science in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Britain
Robert Bud

Chapter 2. Professional Devotion, National Needs, Fascists Claims and Democratic Virtues: The Language of Science Policy in Germany
Désirée Schauz and Gregor Lax

Chapter 3. Transforming Pure Science into Basic Research: The Language of Science Policy in the United States
David Kaldewey and Désirée Schauz


Chapter 4. Fundamental Research and New Scientific Arrangements for the Development of Britain’s Colonies After 1940
Sabine Clarke

Chapter 5. 
Basic Research in the Max Planck Society: Science Policy in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1945–1970
Carola Sachse

Chapter 6. Beyond the Basic/Applied Distinction? The Scientific-Technological Revolution in the German Democratic Republic, 1945–1989
Manuel Schramm

Chapter 7. Applied Science in Stalin’s Time: Hungary, 1945–1953
György Péteri

Chapter 8. Theory Attached to Practice: Chinese Debates over Basic Research from Thought Remolding to the Bomb, 1949–1966
Zuoyue Wang


Chapter 9. The Language of Science Policy in the Twenty-First Century: What comes after Basic and Applied Research?
Tim Flink and David Kaldewey

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