The Promise of Technocracy. Experts and International Organisations (1918–1968)
This project charts the proliferation of theories of technocracy and bureaucracy in mid-twentieth-century European thought. Investigating the writings of political practitioners, philosophers, and other intellectuals in Germany, France, and Great Britain, it reconstructs justifications for the primacy of administration. Against the currently widespread and often ahistorical animosity towards depoliticized forms of expertise, the project uncovers the emancipatory hopes driving the turn to administration in three distinct, yet related areas. In the political arena, technocratic ideas conveyed the hope of dampening social conflicts. In the economic realm, technocratic control of industries was meant to channel market forces to the benefit of all. In the field of international relations, committees of independent experts were entrusted with curbing the belligerent manifestations of nationalism.
Danilo Scholz is a historian of ideas who specializes in the history of European political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is a researcher at the KWI Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen, Germany. After earning a BA in History at the University of Cambridge, he relocated to Paris where he obtained a diploma in History and Philosophy from the École normale supérieure. His doctoral dissertation in History, completed at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris, investigated concepts and critiques of the state in French political thought since 1945. Before joining the KWI, Danilo was been a postdoctoral researcher at the European University Institute in Florence and at Columbia University in New York. He has also has written for cultural journals such as Merkur and broadsheets including Die Zeit and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In 2019, the German Academy of the Arts awarded him the Heinrich Mann Prize for non-fictional essay writing.
»Ein preußischer Schulstaat. Die Landesschule Pforta und ihre Zöglinge«, in: Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte 15 (Sommer 2021), Heft 2, S. 69–94; »Nouvelle Droite / Neue Rechte: Ein theoriegeschichtlicher Dialog zwischen Phillipp Felsch und Danilo Scholz«, in: Johannes Schütz u. a. (Hg.), Die neue Mitte? Ideologie und Praxis der populistischen und extremen Rechten, Köln u. a.: Böhlau Verlag 2021, S. 27–46; »Ins Bild gerückt. Zur Geschichte des französischen Kolonialismus», in: Merkur (November 2019), Heft 846, S. 18–38.
Mi / 17:00 – 19:30
Competition for resources has long been viewed as a driver of interstate rivalry and a source of geopolitical instability. By contrast, this talk will investigate how, over the last two hundred years, the extraction and distribution of key commodities could also favour new forms of cross-border cooperation and international governance.