Discovering the Possible

  • The Surprising World of Albert O. Hirschman

  • by Luca Meldolesi

  • 352 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Hardcover | 9780268008772 | April 1995

  • eBook (PDF) | 9780268077532 | April 1995


Internationally recognized as a leading thinker in the fields of economic development and Latin American studies, Albert O. Hirschman has, more recently, turned to the study of social science at large. His pioneering work has had reverberations in economics, political science, sociology, and other disciplines affecting specialists and nonspecialists alike. In Discovering the Possible Luca Meldolesi recounts over half a century of Hirschman's work, exploring the motivations, methodology, and unexpected developments of his research. Tracing Hirschman's intellectual journey-from his European origins and education during the tormented 1930s to his escape to the US in 1941, from his extended stays in South America to his far-reaching research interests across three continents—Meldolesi identifies recurrent themes and shows how they fit together, revealing a remarkable unity of inspiration. Focusing on Hirschman's major works, such as The Strategy of Economic Development, Journeys toward Progress, Exit, Voice and Loyalty, and The Passions and the Interests, as well as his lesser-known writings, Meldolesi suggests that the flexibility of Hirschman's methodology, together with the extraordinary range of his results, contribute to his successful endeavor to reconcile research and commitment, and to introduce readers to his dream of "a social science for our grandchildren." Published simultaneously in Italian, Spanish, and English, Discovering the Possible is the first book to probe the whole corpus of Hirschman's work and to highlight the wealth of his ideas and the sharp self-irony with which his intuitions are forged into thoughts. The book will interest students and professionals in economics, sociology, political science, and moral philosophy, as well as those who focus on the development sector of these disciplines.