Author Archives: Sandrine Kott

About Sandrine Kott

Professor of contemporary European history at the University of Geneva. She has published many books, including one on the history of social welfare in France and Germany since the end of the nineteenth century, L'État social allemand: Représentations et pratiques (Belin, 1995); and one on the social relations of real socialism, in particular in the German Democratic Republic, Le communisme au quotidien: Les entreprises d'Etat dans la société est-allemande (1949–1989) (Belin, 2001). She has developed the transnational and global dimensions of each of her fields of expertise in her utilization of the archives and resources of international organizations, particularly the International Labour Organization, as demonstrated in her new collection (co-edited with Joëlle Droux), Globalizing Social Rights: The International Labour Organization and Beyond (Palgrave, 2012).

The Forced Labor Issue between Human and Social Rights, 1947–1957

Kott considers the question of forced labor in the framework of human and social rights, as unfolding in the early Cold War period. A precise analysis of the discussion surrounding the convention on the abolition of forced labor within the International Labour Organization (ILO) between 1947 and 1957 forms a basis for her observations. The conflict between the two blocs, like the decolonization process, demarcated a favorable period for defining the juncture between human and social rights. The alliance between officials from southern and communist countries could have a catalyzing effect. Having had the intent of denouncing the Soviet labor camps at its inception, the convention in its final form reintroduced social rights as a condition of freedom of labor.