1st Edition

The Knowledge Elite and the Failure of Prophecy

By Eva Etzioni-Halevy Copyright 1985
    146 Pages
    by Routledge

    First published in 1985, The Knowledge Elite and the Failure of Prophecy presents a demystification of the role of the Knowledge Elite, or the role many intellectuals have purported to play in modern, Western, society. The author debunks their role as self-proclaimed prophets in charge of foretelling (or ‘forecasting’ as it is more fashionably called) things to come and in charge of guiding society towards a better future – devised by themselves. Scholars who have converged on the idea of the ‘post-industrial’ society have argued that the theoretical knowledge provided by what they call the Knowledge Class has been more useful than ever in guiding society towards greater rationality, affluence, equity, and liberty. In contrast, this book presents the argument that it is precisely in these years that the benefits of the knowledge provided by intellectuals have petered out, that its dubious and even harmful effects have become more prominent, and that the knowledge provided by intellectuals has been instrumental in helping to bring about a more confused society – a society increasingly incapable of coping with its mounting problems.

    This is a book on intellectuals, for intellectuals, by an intellectual. It is a book of social commentary, critique, and polemic. It is designed not to please, but to challenge intellectuals and to provoke counter-critique and controversy.

    Part 1. Setting the Scene  1. The Intellectuals as Knowledge Elite  2. How Intellectuals Make a Difference   Part 2: The Argument  3. The Intellectuals in Post-Industrial Society: an Alternative View  4. The Intellectuals in a Groping Society  Part 3.: Illustrations   5. The Poverty of the Economist  6. The Scientist Giveth and the Scientist Taketh Away  Conclusion


    Eva Etzioni-Halevy is a Holocaust Survivor. She is Professor Emerita of Political Sociology at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. She has published many academic books and writes Biblical novels. Eva has previously taught at Tel Aviv University and Australian National University.