The Swiss Influence in the ITU´s decision-making process 1865-1914
Head of project at USI: Giuseppe Richeri
Starting date: 1 Settembre 2009
Duration: 24 months
- S265 Press and communication sciences
- Facoltà di scienze della comunicazione
The main aim of the project is to investigate how and to what degree the Swiss Confederation influenced the decision-making mechanisms of the Telegraph Union, focusing above all on the international regulation and standardization of telegraph and telephone communications between 1865, the year in which the Telegraph Union was founded, and the outbreak of the First World War. The project aims to answer the following questions: 1. Does the fact that Switzerland directly managed the permanent organ give it the means to control the decisions taken by the Union? 2. Did the presumed control exercised by Switzerland also affect the way the international network developed technically? If so, how? 3. How was this presumed hegemonic role played by the Swiss Confederation in telecommunications seen by the other European countries? 4. Which pressure groups or lobbies did the Swiss people who guided the International Bureau answer to (international economic groups, Swiss government, local businesses)? The answers to these questions may contribute to finding answers to other more general questions such as: 1. Can the Telegraph Union be considered one of the first institutions to promote a sort of multilateralism and European integration? If so, how did it influence these processes which would become a reality only after the Second World War? 2. Which long-term characteristics of the "Swiss way of government" can be found in the management of the Bureau International? 3. What lay behind Switzerland´s determination to have the headquarters of international organizations in its territory? What logics (industrial, economic, political-social, or other) drove it in particular to fight for the management of the Bureau International, permanent organ of the first international organization? Through study of a corpus of wholly unpublished data (mainly comprising communications and exchanges of opinion between various European Administrations and the permanent organ of the Union), we intend to shed light on some still little known aspects of the country´s political and social history, with special reference to the international role of the Confederation.
- Balbi G., Fari S., Calvo S., Richeri G. (forthcoming). Specialità svizzere. L’influenza della Confederazione elvetica sull’origini dell’Unione Telegrafica, 1855-1875. Tst: Transportes, Servicios y telecomunicaciones, expected in Número 22, 2013.
- Fari S. ., Balbi G., Richeri G. (2012). A common technical culture of telegraphy: the Telegraph Union and the significance of Technological Standardization, 1865-1875. HISTELCON (History of Electro-technology Conference), Session 3 "Telecommunications 2" (Pavia 5-7 September) .
- Fari S., Balbi G., Richeri G. (2012). Last in First Out. How the Telegraph Brought to International Organization Before Post and Trains. 39th Annual Meeting ICOHTEC, Panel: "Telecommuni‐cations:
Nationals Systems and
International Organizations" (Barcelona, 10-14 July).
- Calvo S., Balbi G., Fari S., Richeri G. (2011). La voie suisse aux télécommunications. Politique, économie, technologie et société (1850–1915). "Revue Suisse d'Histoire", 61(4): 435-453.
- Balbi G., Fari S., Calvo S., Richeri G. (2011). The Swiss Influence in the ITU’s Decision-Making Process, 1855-76. SHOT Conference. Panel "Do Politics Have Artifacts? The Promise of International Communications Networks" (Cleveland, 3-6 November).
- Balbi G., Calvo S., Fari Simone . (2010). The Austro-German and the West European telegraph unions as predecessors of the International Telegraph Union. Workshop "Verkehrs- und Kommunikationsinfrastructur: Strategien una Handlungsspielraume in Ostmitteleuropa 1867-1914", GWZO-Geisteswissenschaftliches Zetrum (Leipzig, Universitat Leipzig, 25 Mai).
- Balbi G., Calvo S., Fari S., Richeri G. (2009). Bringing together the two large electric currents that divide Europe’: Switzerland’s Role in Promoting the Creation of a Common European Telegraph Space, 1849-1865. ICON, Vol. 15: pp. 61-80.