Druckfrisch with Sandrine Kott: Organiser le monde. Une autre histoire de la guerre froide

Sandrine Kott (U de Genève); Martin Deuerlein (U Tübingen), Katja Castryck-Naumann (GWZO) & Antje Dietze (SFB 1199)


By adopting an international perspective, the book challenges the usual interpretation of the post-World War II period too often reduced to the Cold War seen as a global conflict between the United States and the USSR that would have dominated international affairs. This book looks at international organizations and associations as stages on which the Cold War discourse was deployed, but which are above all, especially their secretariats, spaces for dialogue and working together across the ideological divisions of the Cold War. It tells the story of this period through the prism of internationalism as an ideology and a social practice. This perspective allows us to highlight the bridging role played by the middle powers, including the Eastern European and neutral countries. It gives the newly decolonized and “third world” countries their full role as international actors which, together with the second world, insistently challenged the global distribution of power and wealth. In international arenas, global inequalities became central concerns and, until the 1970s, international officials and experts defended and promoted the idea that they needed to be corrected to ensure peace. This conviction culminated in the proposal for a New International Economic Order in 1974. Its failure in the 1980s under the influence of a coalition of actors from Western governments and business associations marked the entry into the neo-liberal world dominated by the logic of competition between nations and individuals.

Biographical Note

Sandrine Kott (Université de Genève)

Sandrine Kott is professor of Modern European history since 2004. She studied in Paris, Bielefeld (Germany) and Columbia (New York) and holds an habilitation from the Sorbonne University. She was a member of the Institut Universitaire de France between 1997 and 2001. She is a member of the academia europeae. Since 2018 she is a visiting professor at NYU (New York University) where she teaches during the fall semester.

Sandrine has been invited professor at Humboldt Universität (Berlin), University of Santa Barbara (California) and at Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris).

She is a social historian of modern Europe as well as an international historian. Her principal fields of expertise are the history of labor and social welfare in France and Germany since the end of the nineteenth century and labor relations in those countries of real socialism, in particular in the German Democratic Republic. Sandrine Kott has developed the transnational and global dimensions of each of her fields of expertise by taking advantage of the archives and resources of international organizations and particularly of the International Labor Organization. In 2009, she has initiated the History of International Organizations Network, a collaborative online research platform and seminar series.

She has published over 130 articles in French, German and American journals and collective volumes, edited 20 volumes and special issues (in French, Polish, German and English) and published eight monographs.