Enacting the International: R.G. Watt and the League of Nations Union

TitleEnacting the International: R.G. Watt and the League of Nations Union
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBrown, Nicholas
EditorDeacon, Desley, Penny Russell, and Angela Woollacott
Book TitleTransnational Ties: Australian Lives in the World
Publisher Austrailian National University E-Press

As Julie Evans, Margaret Allen and Cindy McCreery have argued in this section of Transnational Ties, concepts of empire provided powerful ways of mediating the "authority" of trans-colonial governance, images of gender and competing identities for Australians in the nineteenth century. Moving into the twentieth century, however, and with the accelerating pressures of mobility, communication and consumption—in short, of modernity—empire became a less exclusive way of experiencing the authority of Australia's transnational ties. Akira Iriye has noted the extent to which an idea of international society came to define forms of conduct, activism, intervention and accountability early in the twentieth century. These forms in turn seemed—so H. G. Wells observed—to summon "a new kind of people," a "floating population" of figures associated with an increasingly formalised sector of international organisations. The authority these figures invoked in their ideals, and exercised in setting "standards" and "processes," continues to underpin much of the discursive power of the "international" and the experience of transnationalism.

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