This research was supported in part by a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship from York University. I thank the staff at the following archives for their assistance: Archives of the History of American Psychology, the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, the Harvard University Archives, and the Syracuse University Archives.
“Education for Democracy”: SPSSI and the Study of Morale in World War II
Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2011
© 2011 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Journal of Social Issues
Volume 67, Issue 1, pages 12–26, March 2011
How to Cite
Faye, C. (2011), “Education for Democracy”: SPSSI and the Study of Morale in World War II. Journal of Social Issues, 67: 12–26. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2010.01680.x
- Issue online: 14 MAR 2011
- Version of Record online: 14 MAR 2011
Many scholars have noted that, by 1950, the early radicalism and devotion to change that was characteristic of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues had faded. It was slowly overshadowed by a more orthodox adherence to the principles of science and objectivity. This article demonstrates that the difficulties faced by the Society in their work on morale during World War II contributed to this shift. The Society had little success finding support for their work on morale, partly because of the association between “morale” and “propaganda.” Thus, funding agencies refused to back what they saw as a partisan propaganda agency and other groups questioned the ability of social scientists to step out of the ivory tower and conduct practical morale work. The Society therefore further retreated from their activist position and began to adopt a more cautious and tailored approach to the study of social issues.