From Newspeak to Cyberspeak: A History of Soviet Cybernetics

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MIT Press, 2004 - History - 369 pages
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In this book, Slava Gerovitch argues that Soviet cybernetics was not just anintellectual trend but a social movement for radical reform in science and society as a whole.Followers of cybernetics viewed computer simulation as a universal method of problem solving and thelanguage of cybernetics as a language of objectivity and truth. With this new objectivity, theychallenged the existing order of things in economics and politics as well as in science.The historyof Soviet cybernetics followed a curious arc. In the 1950s it was labeled a reactionarypseudoscience and a weapon of imperialist ideology. With the arrival of Khrushchev's political"thaw," however, it was seen as an innocent victim of political oppression, and it evolved into amovement for radical reform of the Stalinist system of science. In the early 1960s it was hailed as"science in the service of communism," but by the end of the decade it had turned into a shallowfashionable trend. Using extensive new archival materials, Gerovitch argues that these fluctuatingattitudes reflected profound changes in scientific language and research methodology acrossdisciplines, in power relations within the scientific community, and in the political role ofscientists and engineers in Soviet society. His detailed analysis of scientific discourse shows howthe Newspeak of the late Stalinist period and the Cyberspeak that challenged it eventually blendedinto "CyberNewspeak."

 

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Contents

III
11
IV
14
V
18
VI
21
VII
26
VIII
31
IX
33
X
37
XXXVII
166
XXXVIII
173
XXXIX
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XL
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XLI
188
XLII
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XLIII
199
XLIV
200

XI
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XII
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XIII
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XIV
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XV
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XVI
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XVII
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XVIII
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XIX
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XX
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XXI
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XXII
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XXIII
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XXIV
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XXV
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XXVI
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XXVII
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XXVIII
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XXIX
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XXX
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XXXI
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XXXII
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XXXIV
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XXXV
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XXXVI
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XLV
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XLVI
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XLVII
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XLVIII
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XLIX
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L
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LI
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LII
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LIII
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LIV
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LVI
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LVII
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LVIII
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LIX
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LX
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LXI
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LXII
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LXIII
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LXIV
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LXV
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LXVI
300
LXVII
305
LXVIII
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Page xiv - O'Malley for full citation information. Research for this publication was supported in part by a grant from the International Research and Exchanges Board, with funds provided by the US Department of State (Title VIII) and the National Endowment for the Humanities. None of these organizations is responsible for the views expressed.

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About the author (2004)

Slava Gerovitch is a Dibner/Sloan Postdoctoral Researcher at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT and a Research Associate at the Institute for the History of Natural Science and Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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