Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 03 Issue 02

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Volume 03, No. 2
Pages 62 - 63

BOOK REVIEW • A Fragile Power: Scientists and the State

Andrew G. Dickson
First Paragraph

What does the state expect for its research dollars? What intellectual and political compromises does a scientist make by seeking government grants or contracts? Do such questions haunt you as you write your final reports, your new proposals? Perhaps they should. In her recent book, Chandra Mukerji, professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego, studies oceanographers as paradigms of soft-money scientists at large (those who seek government funds to further their research, not solely those whose salary depends on such funds) and concludes that most scientists delude themselves as to the extent of their individual scientific autonomy—that scientists have sold their “voice” for a mess of pottage.


Dickson, A.G. 1990. Review of A Fragile Power: Scientists and the State, by C. Mukerji. Oceanography 3(2):62–63, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.1990.13.