Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.781955
Title: Truth seekers or power brokers? : the League of Nations and its Commissions of Inquiry
Author: Cloet, Quincy
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 5640
Awarding Body: Aberystwyth University
Current Institution: Aberystwyth University
Date of Award: 2019
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Abstract:
During its lifetime, the League of Nations aspired to gather reliable facts and produce accurate knowledge that could transform the conduct of international politics. Inquiry was one of many techniques the League actively deployed to find more rational means in which diplomacy was conducted and political decisions were made in Geneva. Truth Seekers or Power Brokers investigates the purpose and significance of international inquiry commissions in the inter-war years and asks to what extent they lived up to the high expectations of impartial knowledge created in a politicised environment. The thesis takes four thematically different case studies, concerning opium production in Persia, slavery and forced labour in Liberia, the Manchurian crisis that took East Asia by surprise, and the territorial dispute that emerged between Bolivia and Paraguay over the Chaco Boreal, to argue there is both coherence and reason behind the League's repeated reliance on the inquiry technique. The thesis situates international inquiry and the League 'experiment' in a wider frame of imperial internationalism, which aids to explore a scientific cosmology of developmentalism underscoring the various fact-finding methods, as well as a civilisational lens and imperial modes, idioms and repertoires that are prevalent in the case study material. The imperial internationalist framework is explored by means of three dimensions, namely the ad hoc institutional setting in which inquiry was embedded, the multi-level context of competing powers, contestation and rivalry in which investigations took place, and the myriad manifestations of personal and state agency, by way of truth seeking, technical innovation and the defence of national sovereignty, against attempts of foreign tutelage and territorial expansion. The thesis explains how inquiry, as a technique, brought about a softer face of empire in the inter-war years, through Western expertise and assistance, but equally was meant to preserve and reinvigorate the imperial hierarchies that underscored the post-war international system.
Supervisor: Finney, Patrick ; Shepherd, Alistair Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.781955  DOI: Not available
Keywords: League of Nations ; inquiry ; knowledge production ; empire ; internationalism
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