Martin Grandjean

Complex structures and international organizations

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Confronted with the massification of data and embracing ever more global questions, the history of international organizations is concerned with increasingly complex objects. And if the term "network" is widely used in historical research, it is because it seems to be effective to describe these tangled, evolutionary and multi-level structures. Based on an analysis of tens of thousands of archival documents of the League of Nations' "Intellectual Cooperation" in the 1920s, this article questions the value of formal network analysis and data visualization as an exploratory tool. From the network used as a metaphor to the complex network of archival metadata, through the network drawn on the basis of informations found in heterogeneous sources and the network extracted from the contents of the documents themselves, this article establish a typology describing four levels of formalization and shows how these levels can be articulated.


  • International Organisations
  • Digital Humanities
  • History
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Data Visualizatio


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