Not surprisingly, Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation and Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order do not appear on the reading list. ? TN Editor
Professor Alexander Nützenadel
This course is available on the MA in Asian and International History (LSE and NUS), MA in Modern History, MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in History of International Relations, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International and Asian History, MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
This course explores the relation of technocracy, social engineering and politics in the period of the two world wars. Industrial warfare, social conflicts and economic instability led to scientists and technical experts gaining a strong political influence. The emergence of technocracy, however, meant more than finding 'technical' solutions to social and economic problems. It was linked to the fundamental crisis of parliamentary democracy and the appearance of authoritarian movements. Both fascist and socialist regimes adopted technocratic concepts in order to improve economic efficiency and to control social conflicts. However, during the Great Depression, technocratic movements also gained ground in democratic societies, in particular in the United States during the 'New Deal'. This course combines methods of comparative and transnational history. While technocracy was linked to the nation state and often went hand in hand with concepts of economic autarchy, there were strong transnational trends and cross-border transfers as well. Moreover, we will view this topic through the perspectives of various historical sub-disciplines (including political history, economic and social history, history of science and technology). The seminar will also discuss the legacies of technocracy and its revival in recent political debates and practices.