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UNIVERSALISM IN ACTION: IDEALS AND PRACTICES OF INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC COOPERATION

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Chapter Summary

In 1934 and 1937 the International Council of Scientific Unions, the world’s over-arching organization of the natural sciences, issued a number of declarations speaking out against ‘a too exclusive nationalism’. The economic crisis and the rise of fascism had created a climate of chauvinism and belligerence that, it was claimed, ran counter what science stood for: peace, cooperation and internationalism. These statements are remarkably political coming from an official scientific body. They are also surprising in the light of recent experiences with international cooperation in science, which had been highly strained since Versailles. This chapter analyses the background of the statements. Rather than the reflection of timeless scientific values, they should be seen as the result of a particular movement of left-wing scientists who organised themselves transnationally and used the ICSU as a platform for a largely socialist voice, with the sound of science.

10.1163/9789401210775_008
/content/books/b9789401210775s008
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