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Recognition of the economic, social, and political problems facing the Soviet Union has awakened the Soviet leadership to the need for social scientific analysis to help formulate new policies. Glasnost and perestroika have also created the opportunity to reform and restructure disciplines and to build capabilities for basic research. Significant reorganization within the Soviet Academy of Sciences (ASUSSR) and other parts of the academic establishment is under way. All of these changes have made the Soviets unusually open to contacts with Western social and behavioral scientists. Dozens of new joint programs in all fields have begun or are under discussion. The opportunities are too great for any single American organization or institution to handle. Although significant roles are available for many participants, there is also the risk of duplicating effort and straining limited resources.

The Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (CBASSE) of the National Research Council believed there was a genuine need to bring together scholars and representatives of funding organizations and professional associations to exchange information and to think strategically about how the American social science community can best respond to the opportunities. With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the commission sponsored a meeting on August 24-25, 1989 for these purposes. Soviet Social Science: The Challenge for the American Academic Community is the summary of that meeting. This report offers interested individuals and organizations a sense of the thinking of a diverse group of informed people about the possible roles of American social and behavioral science vis-a-vis the ongoing changes in Soviet social science, as of the meeting date.

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 1990. Soviet Social Science: The Challenge for the American Academic Community: Summary of a Meeting. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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41 pages |  5 x 8 |  DOI:

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