Social Network Analysis of the League of Nations' Intellectual Cooperation, an Historical Distant Reading

Abstract : Founded in 1922 by the League of Nations on the observation that the pacification of Europe may pass through a better collaboration between scientific elites, the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (ICIC) is responsible for coordinating the restructuration of knowledge circulation. Bringing together leading researchers at the height of their career, as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie or George Hale, chaired by Henri Bergson, the Committee weaves a complex network between transnational scientific institutions and societies, congresses and individuals (Pernet 2014). This paper proposes an analysis of the work and functioning of the organization between 1919 and 1927 by setting up a database containing metadata of thousands of documents contained in the ICIC funds (United Nations Archives, Geneva). Visualized as a network of 3.200 people (tens of thousands of relationships), this work provides a new understanding of the internal organization of the Intellectual Cooperation, as well as completely new insights about its relations with the rest of the scientific and diplomatic world. In particular, we will show the necessity to compare the “micro” structure of relationships as mapped by the archive with the “macro” formal structure of the institution: does the thousands of documents, in a distant reading approach (Moretti 2013), confirm the internal organization of the League of Nations or do they show individuals/communities that bypass the official hierarchy?
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Martin Grandjean. Social Network Analysis of the League of Nations' Intellectual Cooperation, an Historical Distant Reading. DH Benelux, 2016, Luxembourg, Luxembourg. ⟨hal-01525570⟩

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