Christian Müller Synopsis
The Politics of Expertise. Social Science, Political Reform, and Transnational Networks in Europe during the Culture Wars, 1848 – c.1880 The Politics of Expertise is a study of the relationships between social thought, political reform, and the international congress networks that dealt with social sciences from the 1850s through the 1870s. It focuses on the Association Internationale pour le Progrès des Sciences Sociales, the English and the American Social Science Associations as well as their preceding, following and linked organisations and networks. Their participants included European, British and North American politicians, intellectuals, public administrators, legal scholars, and reformers, as well as the pioneering feminists of the age. For three decades, they gave rise to the social sciences as a tool to classify and compare ‘positive’ data on societies and legal frameworks, and urged for indirect and direct advice and influence on governments. Its analysis discloses how social sciences became an important factor in political decision-making. The aim of such congress networks was to change policy and legislation on diverse matters such as international law and its codification in the name of peace, public health and welfare, crime and the death penalty, the diffusion of proportional representation, school legislation and State – Church relations, and solutions for class conflicts and the social question. The social science movements have an important place in the history of social thought, showing the complex roots of the role of expertise in politics. Most notable features of this role were the increasing ‘wordy wars’ between religious and secular advocacy of science, the influence of transnational connections on the origins of the “Culture Wars”, and the birth of modern peace movements and international legal networks from the social science congresses. The book will disentangle the complex relations between international non-governmental expert congress networks, national parties, and governments. Furthermore, it will offer an analysis of the modes in which ideas were exchanged over time and space, transformed in specific contexts, and implemented in national politics. The global character of the study allows for a comparative and entangled approach to a political and intellectual history of internationalism in the age of nationalist ascendency. The book will present an innovative and interdisciplinarily researched narrative to the progressive development of non-governmental actors in international politics and draws on new archival and published sources which have never been analysed so far. Furthermore, the book will be accompanied by a source edition on the establishment of the “Institut de Droit International” in the 1860s and 1870s in order to render accessible some of the new archival sources to a broad readership interested in history, international law and politics, and network analyses.