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Cybernetics for the command economy: Foregrounding entropy in late Soviet planning:

Published on May 12, 2020in History of the Human Sciences0.839
· DOI :10.1177/0952695119886520
Diana Kurkovsky West (AU: Auburn University)
Abstract
The Soviet Union had a long and complex relationship with cybernetics, especially in the domain of planning. This article looks at Soviet postwar efforts to draw up plans for the rapidly developing...
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This article positions the vogue for cybernetics as a key driver of the transformation of the institutional structures and epistemic order of Soviet technoscience that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. Inseparable from the rapid growth of Soviet military science, Soviet cybernetics was both the result and medium of surprising recombinations of different forms of scientific and engineering expertise to create novel military technologies. Military computing was the point of entry for cybernetics, w...
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This article follows the personal trajectory of Mikhail Lavrentiev from his early integration into the European mathematical community to his role in the construction of the Siberian science-city, Akademgorodok. Using biography as a privileged vantage point, it offers a revision of the conception of Akademgorodok as a remote utopia ultimately corrupted by political interference. It argues that, although built on a site geographically distant from the center, the project reflects Moscow’s aspirat...
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This article argues for the importance of Soviet forecasting and scientific future studies in shaping Soviet governmentalities in the post-Stalinist period. The de-Stalinization of Soviet governance not only involved the abolition of Iosif Stalin's personality cult but also led to wider intellectual changes in conceptions of the nature, possibilities, and tasks of governance. Some of these changes, such as the impact of cybernetics after its rehabilitation in 1956, have been explored by historia...
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This article examines the ways in which the future as a dimension of goal‑oriented behaviour was used to organise and legitimise informal practices of management and planning in the Soviet Union. This study introduces the hitherto unexplored history of reflexive management under an authoritarian regime, focusing on the work of Russian philosopher and management guru Georgii Shchedrovitskii. Drawing on the cybernetic notion of teleology, which posited reflexive goal‑setting as a key condition for...
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#1Slava Gerovitch (MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)H-Index: 8
This article examines several Soviet initiatives to develop a national computer network as the technological basis for an automated information system for the management of the national economy in the 1960s–1970s. It explores the mechanism by which these proposals were circulated, debated, and revised in the maze of Party and government agencies. The article examines the role of different groups – cybernetics enthusiasts, mathematical economists, computer specialists, government bureaucrats, and...
24 CitationsSource
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