Various conferences organized over the last few years as newly published historical works show that prominent characters in the process of European construction often belong to more or less structured or official networks. Sometimes, these networks are created in order to achieve a common purpose. Their members gather because they share the same academic or professional aims, similar social backgrounds, the same faith or values, the same economic and political interests. Such associations can be somewhat informal and unofficial, even secret, and may represent a place where ideas are formed and exchanged, as well as instruments of influence over events.
The Institute for European Studies of the Université Catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve) seeks to organize a three days workshop (October 16th-18th 2002) on that topic in order to improve our knowledge of this rather unexplored issue. The languages of the conference will be French and English. The aim of the event is to bring together historians who have been confronted with networking issues in their research on European construction. The aim consists in defining methods and sources in this research area. New research and methodological approaches will be favoured as far as possible in the time table.
The conference will focus attention on the period 1930-1960. The interwar period appears to be a learning and training time for many people in postwar positions of importance. The second world war was a time for work, thoughts and important meetings for many of them. The post second World War period reflected a period to implement or to readjust plans and to search for practical achievements for the second half of the 20th century.
We enclose the framework of the conference. We are looking for a social or political scientist’s contribution in order to make our concept (network) better. The other contributors should propose a case study within a particular kind of network : the "common purpose" network, the "education" network, the "intellectuals" network, … General talks about methods and sources are also wanted for each network type. These last contributions will open the sessions and will be illustrated afterwards by case studies prior to discussion. On day 3, the workshop will be followed by the study of a specific issue. It will concern the networks after the Second World War which are connected by one way or another to the famous Belgian born economist Robert Triffin.
Academic case : Robert Triffin and postwar economic 'milieux'
This study day which closes the workshop on networks within the process of European construction will give the opportunity to test methodology and check its relevance within the framework of an example : Robert Triffin, moving within a forest of different networks.
The goal of the first session consists in focusing on how actors involved in monetary matters gather together at international level in order to form the "critical mass" necessary to make their voice heard. Proposed themes include :
Central bankers / The Bank for International Settlements
International Monetary Fund
O.E.E.C. – O.E.C.D.
The Paris Club
The Group of Ten
The Group of Thirty
Fundamental networks represent natural human organisations around an institution for which they are working, around their own country (such a network organisation is possible, but not certain. We might then get negative results which are as revelatory as positive ones). Given devolution of power to the national level, we consider here on the one hand institutions classified by country, on the other European Union Community institutions.
Belgian economic 'milieux' (IRES, École de Louvain, National Bank of Belgium…)
American economic 'milieux' (The U.S. Federal Reserve, The Council of Economic Advisers,…)
Italian economic 'milieux'
Hungarian economic 'milieux' (in Western Europe)
Swedish economic 'milieux' (Sveriges Riksbank, Per Jacobsson Foundation,…)
French economic 'milieux' (Conseil d'Analyse Economique auprès du Premier ministre,…)
British economic 'milieux'
German economic 'milieux'
Community institutions (Monetary Committee, Committee of Governors of the central banks, European Monetary Institute, European Central Bank)
The third session is concerned with the objective of deepening understanding of networks organised around the idea of information exchange.
Action Committee for the United States of Europe (Jean Monnet)
European League for Economic Cooperation
Finally, we will focus on networks built around the defence of a specific project, sometimes around short-lived arrangements.
Economic 'milieux' in London / Washington / New York (1940-1945)
The Gold Block (à 1935) and the Gold Pool (1962-1968)
The European Payments Union
The Euro Committee
East-West monetary cooperation in the framework of the fall of the Soviet Union (Szirák-Triffin Foundation,…)
The proposals for a general talk or for a case study should be submitted by e-mail to Ms Arthe Van Laer (Institut d'études européennes, UCL ; email@example.com) by the end of October 2001 deadline. They will consist of a one-page long description of the topic, methods and sources. Selection will take place in November 2001. The selected papers are to be published.
Organisation : Working Group History of Contemporary Europe (GEHEC)
The Working Group History of Contemporary Europe (Groupe d'Etudes Histoire de l'Europe Contemporaine) was founded in 1987. Its main aim is to co-ordinate the dissertation of students who are studying the European history since 1945 as well as the researches of young graduated. The GEHEC also endeavours the organisation of colloquiums and seminars, the publication of papers and documents (edited by Peter Lang in the series EUROCLIO) and the collection of archives (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GEHEC members are : Béatrice BENFARÈS-RÖH, Luc BLANCHART, Jan Willem BROUWER, Yves CONRAD, Pascal DELOGE, Etienne DESCHAMPS, Geneviève DUCHENNE, Vincent DUJARDIN, Michel DUMOULIN, Thierry GROSBOIS, Catherine HOREL, Gilbert NOËL, Daniel ROCHAT, Hubert ROLAND, Pierre TILLY, Yves STELANDRE, Nathalie TOUSIGNANT, Arthe VAN LAERE et Jérôme WILSON.
Ms Arthe VAN LAER
Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)
Institute for European Studies
Place des Doyens, 1
Phone: (+32) 478550
Fax: (+32) 478549
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