Adaptations, Organizations, and Intermediaries: Philanthropy and the Reception of Max Weber in Spanish-speaking Countries (1939-1973)

by álvaro Morcillo Laiz

Jan 1, 2014
The hypothesis I wanted to explore when I arrived to the Rockefeller Archive Center was as straight-forward as this: The reception of Max Weber's ouvre in the Spanish-speaking world could only be explained by the activities of the foundations and the SSRC committees. In certain countries the involvement of the foundations the social science enterprise decisively contributed to make US interpretations of Max Weber predominant. The readings of the most crucial for post-war social science that the Rockefeller and the Ford Foundations propounded superseded local, pre-existing interpretations. The main reason is that support from foundations made possible for specific intermediaries to wield enormous influence in the local scene. One main cause is that the foundation chose protégés that were extremely apt individuals and that they managed to establish superior academic bureaucracies. As a response to different difficulties in the large, patrimonial, and cash-strapped bureaucracies in Latin American public universities bureaucracies, foundations moved their protégés to establish new organizations more similar to the ideal type of legal authority with an administrative staff, full-time positions, provisions of the means of production, and appropriate training. Of course, this hypothesis does not purport to claim that the foundations and the SSRC were the only factors in Weber's reception, but it aims to assign these actors their appropriate place in our understanding of how certain adaptations of Weber became so prominent outside the U.S. Apart from the drawing the attention of the researchers towards the part played by the philanthropic foundations and the SSRC in Weber's reception in the Americas, the articles fills a gap in the scholarship on these organizations. Authors interested in philanthropies have reconstructed the impact of these organizations on broader intellectual trends, but not on how they shape the interpretation of individual, but crucial authors like Weber. Despite their significance for the current outlook of both political science and sociology, how these adaptions altered local agreements on what social science should consist of is scarcely known.
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