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The Decisionist Imagination: Sovereignty, Social Science and Democracy in the 20th Century

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The Decisionist Imagination

Sovereignty, Social Science and Democracy in the 20th Century

Edited by Daniel Bessner and Nicolas Guilhot

320 pages, 1 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-915-8 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-916-5 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


The Decisionist Imagination is more an effort to rethink specific aspects of an existing literature and will find a keen readership amongst those who know it.” • Journal of Contemporary History

The Decisionist Imagination expertly outlines the development of a key component of social scientific thought, placing it into historical context across the whole of the twentieth century, providing a systematic analysis and evaluation of a core concept present in virtually all academic fields.” • Inderjeet Parmar, City University of London


In the decades following World War II, the science of decision-making moved from the periphery to the center of transatlantic thought. The Decisionist Imagination explores how “decisionism” emerged from its origins in prewar political theory to become an object of intense social scientific inquiry in the new intellectual and institutional landscapes of the postwar era. By bringing together scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, this volume illuminates how theories of decision shaped numerous techno-scientific aspects of modern governance—helping to explain, in short, how we arrived at where we are today.

Daniel Bessner is the Anne H. H. and Kenneth B. Pyle Assistant Professor in American Foreign Policy in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. He is the author of Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual (Cornell University Press, 2018).

Nicolas Guilhot is a research professor at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris and a visiting scholar at New York University. His publications include After the Enlightenment: Political Realism and International Relations in the Mid-20th Century (Cambridge University Press, 2017), The Democracy Makers: Human Rights and the Politics of Global Order (Columbia University Press, 2005), The Invention of International Relations Theory: Realism, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the 1954 Conference on Theory (Columbia University Press, 2011).

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present
Area: North AmericaEurope


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