ON INTELLECTUALS: Theoretical Studies, Case Studies by Philip--Ed. Rieff

ON INTELLECTUALS: Theoretical Studies, Case Studies

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Edited by a University of Pennsylvania professor, this is a stimulating collection of sociological and historical comment on the intellectual's role. Of the many themes which link the selections, the most persistent is the contrast between intellectuals as dissenters from, and as supporters of, established authority. This issue is drawn in the opening theoretical analyses by Talcott Parsons, Edward Shils, and Rolf Dahrenburg; their views are clarified and questioned in a long (70 page) statement by the late J.P. Nettl. The ""case studies"" which follow continue the discussion by example. Essays by Isaiah Berlin (on the Zionist and Communist Moses Hess) and by Stuart Samuels (on British leftists of the '30's) show the intellectual as alienated critic; Robert Nisbet's study of the disastrous Army-financed Project Camelot exhibits (and pointedly criticizes) intellectuals in fealty to power; Rieff's own essay on Oppenheimer depicts a man caught between opposition and servitude. Two excerpts from the original writings of 19th century theorists Horace Bushnell and August Comte provide self-portraits of intellectuals who defined themselves as creators and preservers of order. Though the inductive essays suffer from obfuscating jargon and overabstraction, the case studies are of exceptional high quality and interest. Thoughtful reading for intellectuals both uniformed and non-U.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday