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La gran dama: Science patronage, the rockefeller foundation, and the Mexican social sciences in the 1940s


  • Morcillo Laiz, Álvaro


The literature on the development of Mexican social sciences during the twentieth century has rarely considered universities as part of the state. If we do, then universities are characterized by traits similar to those of the state, such as clientelism. This plausible hypothesis has never been fully unexamined. Another trait of the literature that impairs our knowledge of the Mexican social sciences is the neglect of external actors, in particular by US philanthropies. In this manuscript I argue that the Rockefeller Foundation patronised liberal scholarship, practiced according to formal rational criteria, as an alternative to what foundation officers perceived as clientelism and amateurism at universities. While in the long run foundations were extremely consequential for Latin American social sciences, and therefore frequently considered part of a US imperialistic drive towards cultural hegemony in Latin America, they were not unitary actors and frequently failed to predict the actual impact of their grants.

Suggested Citation

  • Morcillo Laiz, Álvaro, 2019. "La gran dama: Science patronage, the rockefeller foundation, and the Mexican social sciences in the 1940s," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Global Governance SP IV 2019-101, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbtci:spiv2019101

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