We discuss the rise of modern physics in Spain during Francoism (1939–1975) within the context of culture, power, and the ongoing historical assessment of science during the dictatorship. Contrary to the idea that Francoist policy was indifferent if not hostile to modern science, and that ideology did not go deeper than the rhetorical surface, we discuss the ways in which the physical sciences took advantage of, and in turn were used by, the regime to promote international relations, further the autarkic economy, and ultimately generate power. In order to understand what physics meant within the National Catholic political order, we contrast the situation in the post–Civil War decades with the situation before the war. First we discuss how the war transformed the physicists’ community, molding it around certain key fields. We then turn to the work of right-wing ideologues and conservative scientists and philosophers, who stressed the spiritual dimension of the discipline and argued for the integration of science into the Christian scheme of the world. The cultural realignment of the discipline coincided with the institutional changes that harnessed physics to the military and economic needs of the autarkic state, which we discuss in the final section. To conclude, we reflect upon the demise of autarkic physics in the late 1960s and the overall implications of our argument with regard to the development of physics in Spain.
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Research Article| April 01 2013
An Autarkic Science: Physics, Culture, and Power in Franco’s Spain
*OSU Ecce Terra, Tour 46/00, Bureau 412, Case courrier FL 112, Université Pierre et Marie Curie; 4 place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France; firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Centre for the History of Science (CEHIC) and Department of Philosophy, Facultat de Ciències, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain; email@example.com.
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences (2013) 43 (2): 202–235.
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Néstor Herran, Xavier Roqué; An Autarkic Science: Physics, Culture, and Power in Franco’s Spain. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 1 April 2013; 43 (2): 202–235. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/hsns.2013.43.2.202
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