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Title: An international history of unemployment through the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization, 1931-1937
Author: Timpson, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 9326
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Late in 1931, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that worldwide unemployment had reached 20-25 million. The ILO was also mindful that the consequences of unemployment were borne by dependents and concluded that the number of people directly affected by unemployment was therefore probably in the region of 50-60 million. The thesis revisits this old theme of the 'Hungry Thirties' but considers it in a new and different way. Most histories of unemployment during the Great Depression have been presented in national terms but this study examines unemployment from an international perspective by utilizing the League of Nations and ILO as sites through which to explore how debates about unemployment and how to respond to it were being internationalized. Utilizing the vast archives of the League of Nations and ILO, the thesis focuses on a series of interconnected themes - public works and economic policy, migration, housing, and nutrition - themes that the League and ILO identified as being the 'fallout' from unemployment. It builds on recent research of the League and ILO that has revealed more complex histories of these two international organizations and that has recognized that the 'technical' agencies were core functions that consumed significant resources of personnel and money. Crucially, this work not only continued during the 1930s but thrived even as the political atmosphere darkened; it is, therefore, a history that offers another side to the autarky and nationalism of the 1930s. The thesis also connects the technical agencies of the League of Nations to the ILO and, in contrast to the customary treatment of the interaction of these two organizations that emphasizes inter-agency tension, it identifies how the collaboration was an important step in the rediscovery of the fundamental connection between economy and society by linking economic policy to social and physical welfare.
Supervisor: Clavin, Patricia M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Unemployment ; Great Depression ; League of Nations ; International Labour Organization ; nutrition ; housing ; economic policy ; migration ; 1930s