The always interesting Tanner Greer has an excellent review
of Lawrence Freedman’s book Strategy: A History
. Greer says that he was struck while reading that the post-war theorists of strategy seem far less brilliant than their predecessors and wants to explain it. He lays out a simple model of how disciplines develop and their intellectual vibrancy rises and falls.
At first, there is no discipline and no barrier to entry, so contributors tend to be “gentlemen amateur”-types with diverse intellectual backgrounds. Second follows a golden period where resources flow to the new discipline and powerful explanatory frameworks are developed. But then, in a third phase, the field becomes bogged down in credentialism that may not correlate with actual progress:
What had once been an exciting, open-ended pursuit that defied existing categories had been nailed down into domains of licensed expertise