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Reluctant Cold WarriorsEconomists and National Security$
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Vladimir Kontorovich

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190868123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190868123.001.0001

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The Origin and Structure of Sovietology

The Origin and Structure of Sovietology

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 The Origin and Structure of Sovietology
Source:
Reluctant Cold Warriors
Author(s):

Vladimir Kontorovich

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190868123.003.0002

American academic study of the Soviet economy was created to help parry the strategic challenge of the USSR and received lifetime government support for reasons of national security. The military sector of the economy was one of the most important topics that the sponsors of Sovietology expected it to address. To understand how the field dealt with this task, I describe its organization. The minuscule size of Sovietology meant that there were not enough specialists to cover the range of problems arising in the analysis of a modern economy. Some sub-fields were the sole preserve of a single researcher, resulting in lack of debate. Most of the debates that did occur were between American Sovietologists and outsiders of various kinds. These characteristics of the field reduced the reliability of findings and resulted in fragmentation, when mutually exclusive propositions were held at the same time.

Keywords:   Sovietology, Soviet economy, military sector, national security, Government support, Minuscule size, Lack of debate, Reliability of findings, fragmentation

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