Workshops and Conferences 2013-2014

During the first and second term, there are normally ten weekly meetings of seminars. However, occasionally workshops/small conferences can also be organised during the first two terms. In the third term, there are (mainly, but not exclusively) intensive workshops/small conferences, usually of ten hours duration and often with visitors.

All workshops carry credits for 10 hours unless otherwise specified.

Credits are awarded to first-years and second-years for regular attendance.   

Printable version of all workshops offered during this term


Introduction to Causal Inference

Date/Location: 12 - 13 June 2014, Meeting Room, Villa Sanfelice

Organiser: Fabrizio Bernardi

Guest speaker: Elias Dinas (University of Oxford)

Credits: 10

Abstract:  Do hospitals make people healthier? Is it a problem that more people die in hospitals than in bars? Does an additional year of schooling increase future earnings? Do parties that enter the parliament enjoy vote gains in subsequent elections? The answers to these questions (and many others which affect our daily life) involve the identification and measurement of causal links: an old problem in philosophy and statistics. To address this problem we either use experiments or try to mimic them by collecting information on potential factors that may affect both treatment assignment and potential outcomes. Customary ways of doing this in the past entailed the specification of sophisticated versions of multivariate regressions. However, it is by now well understood that causality can only be dealt with during the design, not during the estimation process. The goal of this workshop is to familiarize participants with the logic of casual inference, the underlying theory behind it and introduce research methods that help us approach experimental benchmarks with observational data. Hence, this will be a much applied course, which aims at providing participants with ideas for strong research designs in their own work.


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Conference "Agon and Agorá: Politics and Political Community in the City"

Date/Location: 12 June 2014, Theatre Room, Badia Fiesolana

Organisers: Rainer Bauböck (SPS), Fran Meissner (MWF), Matthew Hoye (MWF)

Credits: 10

Abstract: Theories of the state have always been spell-bound by various abstractions, be it the state’s monopoly of violence, the monolithic claims of sovereignty, the political homogeneity of the nation, or the unifying will of the sovereign. Hobbes raised these flags, and various permutations of those statist concepts and ideas still abound today

The purpose of this conference is to refocus on the city. The conference will explore the development of theories of the city as a political space in early modern times, following the rise of the modern nation state and in contemporary contexts of globalization and supranational governance. The conference will bring together scholars working in the fields of intellectual history, political theory, urban studies, sociology, law, and political economy in a dialogue across disciplinary boundaries. This conference will focus on three topics corresponding to three historical periods: (1) The fraught politics regarding the status of the city in the early-modern period at the moment of the emergent sovereign state; (2) the city as a political space in the era of state- and nation-building; (3) the role of the contemporary city as the political space where political membership and civil society are rearticulated through migration and social protest movements. 

The conference brings together an international group of scholars who present new or recent works on their respective topics.

Requirements: Researchers are asked to attend the conference and write a commentary/term paper (approx. 2.500 words) on two different papers, presented during the conference (nota bene deadline: 16 June 2014 12:00).


The conference will be followed by the keylecture by prof. Saskia Sassen (Columbia University).

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Dynamic Models in Social Sciences: Time Series Analysis and Beyond

Date/Location: 4-6 June, Seminar Room 2 (Badia Fiesolana)

Credits: 10

Organisers: Saara Hämäläinen & Martín Portos García; sponsor: Fabrizio Bernardi 

Guest Speaker: Jørgen Bølstad (ETH Zurich)

Abstract: Time series data offer major advantages in tackling the fundamental challenge of causal inference. However, time series also differ from random samples in that they generally violate core assumptions of ordinary least squares (OLS) regression. This workshop will therefore not only show how different types of time series analyses can facilitate the identification of causal effects, but also show how common challenges arising from time series data can be diagnosed and properly modeled. In doing so, the workshop will also provide a more general discussion of the assumptions underlying OLS regression.

Aims and Format: A key aim of this intensive three-day workshop is to equip researchers with practical skills they can apply in their own research. Accordingly, the workshop will consist of a mix of lectures and hands-on exercises. Researchers are strongly encouraged to bring their own data to diagnose and model in class. They will also be invited to present their research designs and models. Relevant data include single time series (a large number of repeated observations for a single unit), or multiple series - possibly with fewer (though at least two) repeated observations for a larger number of units. The focus will be on longer series, but many of the issues to be discussed are also relevant to shorter panels.


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Game Theory for Social Scientists

Date/Location: 3-6 June, 2014, Sala Belvedere (Villa Schifanoia)

Credits: 20 credits

Organiser: Katharina Meissner; sponsors: Diego Gambetta & Adrienne Héritier; guest speaker: Oliver Westerwinter (Univ. St. Gallen)

Abstract: Strategic interdependence is ubiquitous in socio-political life. Individuals exchange goods, firms compete for market access, and states bargain over territory, voting shares in international organizations, and other goods they care about. In these and numerous other situations, actors must anticipate others’ behavior to reach optimal decisions and maximize their utility. Game theory is a systematic framework for understanding and analyzing such strategic interaction. Conflict, cooperation, coordination, bargaining, auctions, and communication are topics that can be investigated within this framework. The course provides a systematic introduction to the fundamentals of game theory and their application to political science problems. It develops the basic concepts and results of game theory, including simultaneous and sequential move games as well as complete and incomplete information games. Applications will be drawn from legislative bargaining, agenda manipulation, electoral competition, and international conflict. The emphasis of the course is on the theoretical aspects of strategic behavior and the application of game theoretic concepts and models to questions of interest for political scientists. The primary objective is to enable students to understand research that uses game theoretic models. The course also provides students with the skills required to start analyzing strategic situations on their own.

Math Refresher (optional): Prior to class, it is possible to attend an optional, preparatory one-day math refresher course for Political Scientists. The supply of the math refresher depends on the demand of students. 

Requirements: In order to obtain full credits for this course, participants have to attend all lectures and in-class exercises, work through the assigned reading materials prior to classes and actively participate in the discussions and exercises. Participants who seek full credits will also have to submit the solution of a problem set (take-home exam) that builds on and further extends the in-class exercises.

Schedule: The course consists of a total of 20 hours over four days. 16 hours will be devoted to lectures that cover the main materials. Four hours of in-class exercises will complement the lectures. The course seeks to cover the following topics:

  • Probability theory, formal logic and sets (2 hours)
  • Decision-theoretic foundations (2 hours)
  • The ingredients of games (2 hours)
  • Elements of basic models (2 hours)
  • Static and dynamic games with complete information (4 hours)
  • Static and dynamic games with incomplete information (4 hours)

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EU Enlargement and Institution-Building in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe

Date/Location: 2-3 June 2014, Seminar Room 2, Badia Fiesolana

Organisers: László Bruszt, Nisida Gjoksi, Ludvig Lundstedt

Credits: 10 credits

Abstract: The literature on development has increasingly come to focus on state institutions, and the crucial role they play in fostering economic growth and delivering a range of public goods and services that provide societal benefits: from security to health care, education and roads. While existing accounts have provided convincing evidence for why the state is important there conflicting accounts on the question how a state, capable of providing public goods and services, emerge. The focal point of state building just is this: the creation of new institutions and the strengthening of existing ones.

The Balkan countries together with the Central and Eastern European ones provide a great opportunity for researchers to test theories on, and specify mechanisms of state building that involve the interplay between domestic and transnational actors. This is also the aim of the workshop: to shed light on the process of state building and the role played by domestic and international factors in creating and strengthening institutions at the domestic level. The workshop will give doctoral students in the area an opportunity to present their work.


• Attendance

• Act as discussant


Please register with Mariana Spratley

Workshop on Growth Curve Analysis

Date/Location: 2-3 June 2014, Seminar Room Villa Sanfelice

Organisers: Anne Christine Holtmann, Fabrizio Bernardi

Credits: 10 credits

Abstract: Most of us want to understand the process of change for whatever the topic happens to be. How much do we change? Do we get better? Worse? What explains how much we change? What mitigates adverse changes? What optimizes positive changes? We may use different terms for these issues: risk factors, protective factors, mediating effects. We may be interested in cognitive development, occupational attainment, income development etc. The point is we want to study change!

Growth modelling can also be used to asses for whom an intervention is effective and under what circumstance. An intervention may vary in impact and have an effect on certain groups in certain circumstances only.

Growth modelling facilitates to handle three level data on students, time points and schools by reducing it to a two level growth model where development within and between schools is analysed. The same applies to longitudinal family data with data on siblings, time points and families that can be reduced to development within and between families.

The workshop should enable participants to understand which kind of questions growth curve modelling answers, to use growth curve modelling with their own data, and to interpret their analysis correctly. The workshop will, thus, have a practical focus.


• Participation

• Assigned Readings

• Essay applying growth curve modelling on own data.


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10 Years of the New Europe. Conference on the Occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Eastern Enlargement

Date/location: 29-30 May 2014, Teatro (Badia Fiesolana)

Credits: 10 credits

Organisers: Michal Matlak, Tomasz Wozniakowski

Sponsor: Ulrich Krotz

Description: The Conference aims, firstly, to understand and assess the impact of the European Union on the new Member States, i.e. to take a closer look at the process of Europeanization. On the other hand, it proposes to examine the influence of the new member states on the EU as a whole, on its policies (including foreign and security policies), governance and institutions. 

Two further aspects of the conference will be of special importance: first, the reflection on geopolitics, as the Enlargement profoundly impacted the geopolitical situation of the continent. Secondly, the economic integration and the enlargement of the single market, as well as the relationship between new member states and the Eurozone, as some new member states are already in, and some others are now debating the accession. 

In order to discuss these issues, we have invited several distinguished political scientists, economists and lawyers working on different aspects of the Enlargement. The conference will be closed by a Roundtable with the participation of politicians that were involved in the process of Enlargement.

Requirements: in order to receive credits for this Conference, researchers will have to attend the event in full. Additionally, they will need to submit a policy response or critique to one of the panels. This paper should be a maximum of 2 pages long, to be sent to the event organisers with the administrative assistant in copy.


Please register with Mariana Spratley

Contentious Politics and Space: Constraints and Opportunities

Date/location: 29-30 May 2014, Sala del Capitolo (Badia Fiesolana)

Credits: 10 credits

Organisers: Daniela Chironi, Anna Subirats Ribas

Sponsor: Donatella della Porta

Abstract: This workshop will address the main theoretical and methodological aspects of the relationship between space and contentious politics, which has been a fast growing sub-field in social sciences since the 1990s. Following the critical geography approach, the workshop will start from the assumption that space is produced by social and political action rather than ontologically given. We will discuss the different ways in which the concept of space has been conceptualized and operationalized in different disciplines and how socio-spatial thinking has been incorporated in the study of social movements. In particular, we will analyse how space represents both a constraint and an opportunity for the constitution of social movements and how social movements strategically approach and produce space. We have invited speakers from different disciplines, such as geography, sociology, political science, and architecture, and scholars who have analysed some of the most significant and recent movements that have based their actions on the defence of a common space, such as the Italian No TAV, the Spanish Indignados, and the Turkish Gezi Park movements.


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Varieties of Capitalism

Date/location: 29-31 May 2014, Cappella (Villa Schifanoia)

Credits: This workshop does not grant credits

Organiser: Philippe Schmitter

Guest speaker: Brigitte Unger (Institute of Economic and Social Research of the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung)

Programme: tbc


Lab-in-the-field experiments, methods and examples

Date/location: 26-28 May 2014, Seminar Room 4 (Badia Fiesolana)

Credits: 10 credits

Organiser: Diego Gambetta

Guest speaker: Benedikt Hermann (European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Ispra)

Abstract: In the past social sciences relied mostly on introspection or field observation of social behavior as tools of revealing the nature of human behavior. Recently social sciences took inspiration from natural sciences and medical sciences, and adopted different kinds of experimental research, first of all lab experiments. In lab experiments usually students are invited to investigate under well controlled conditions the nature of human decision making. These lab experiments are very helpful to challenge established ideologies on the nature of human behavior. However, due to very artificial laboratory context and focus on university students only, findings from these experiments are often perceived of limited value for conclusions on the nature of human behavior in the “real world” outside the university labs.  

In this course, we therefore would like to give an introduction into the growing experimental work of social scientists trying to get the experiments out of the university into the field, closer the “real life”. I will focus on the following two main approaches:  


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The Welfare State and the Radical Right

Date/Location: 20-21 May, 2014, Seminar Room 4 (Badia Fiesolana)

Credits: 10 credits

Organisers: Hämäläinen, Saara Marika & Elie Michel; sponsor: Hanspeter Kriesi

Guest speakers: Nonna Mayer (Centre d'Etudes Européennes, SciencesPo, Paris)
External presenters:   Dominik Geering (Univ. Zurich); Koenraad Abts (Univ. Louvain)

Abstract: This workshop's goal is to examine the relation between the radical right and the welfare state, both in terms of eletoral demand and offer, this means considering both voting behaviour determinants and policy preferences and implementation. Aside from the traditional cutlural explanations fo the radical right vote, economic explanations are often mobilized. More precisely, recent literature has shown that attitudes towards the welfare state significantly determined the radical right vote. This workshop aims at examining the relation between welfare attitudes and the radical right vote, notbly for overrepresented social groups in this electorate (self-employed, workers...). On the supply side of electoral politicsk radical right parties ahve developed specific welfare agendas, which have remained understudied. Due to their electoral success, radical right parties in Europe have become a potential coalition partner in the formation of governments, at national and local level. In the 2000s, some radical right parties supported right-wing governments in Europe (e.g. Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands). However, surprisingly little is known about the policy-impact of the radical right on different varieties of captialism and welfare states. The workshop wants to address this question by analysing the govenrment performance of far-right parties in the politics of social solidarity. To sum up, the principal aim of the workshop will be to stimualte a transdisciplinary debate between Election Studies and Comparative Political Eocnomy to discuss and evaluate the phenomenen of right-wing populism from a broader perspective. The workshop will try to bridge these disciplinary boundaries by collecting contributions fo various experts and having a debate that involves the broader academic community of the EUI.


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Bringing Capitalism back in: resistance to corporate power and austerity policies

Date/Location: 20-21 May, 2014, Sala del Capitolo (Badia Fiesolana)

Credits: 10 credits

Organisers: Donatella della Porta, Alice Mattoni, Philip Balsiger

Guest speakers: tbc


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Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

Date: 15-16 May, 2014

Credits: 10

Location: Seminar Room 3, Badia Fiesolana

Organiser: Alexander H. Trechsel

Guest Speaker: Claudius Wagemann (Univ. Frankfurt)

Abstract: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) has become a broadly recognized and applied tool in the social sciences over the last three decades. It is firmly rooted in set theory and presents an alternative to conventional case studies and statistical analysis. Allowing for systematic case comparisons, it can especially easily applied to mid-sized numbers of cases. Thus, it is very helpful for a lot of researchers at the EUI who work comparatively, independently from their particular topics. The aim of the workshop is to enable the participants to use QCA properly in their own research.


Programme: 1. What is QCA? What is Set Theory? 2. Sets and Set Membership Calibration. 3. Set Relations. 4. Truth Table Analysis. 5. Parameters of Fit. 6. Limited Diversity and Logical Remainders. 7. Standard Analysis, Enhanced Standard Analysis and Theory-Guided Enhanced Standard Analysis. 8. Extensions of QCA.

N.B. As for software, participants should bring their own laptop on which they have to download the software. It is freeware and can be found here:  (We only need the fsQCA software, not the older DOS version9.


Requirements: a short paper is required for the credit award.

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Masterclass on Ibn Khaldun

Dates:  8 May 2014 (11:00 - 13:00), 9 May 2014 (9:00 - 13:00), 12 May 2014 (9:00 - 13:00), 13 May 2014 (11:00 - 13:00), 14 May 2014 (9:00 - 13:00)

Location: Seminar Room, Villa Sanfelice

LecturerStephen Holmes (NYU) 

Credits: 20

Abstract: The secular and religious sources of social solidarity, why individuals identify with their group and subordinate their interests to its norms, why they accept the authority of their political leaders, the tensions between nomadic and sedentary or desert and urban societies, organizational and tactical factors in military success, the division of labor and the economic transition from subsistence to surplus, demographic expansion and collapse, luxury and the decay of tribal solidarity in urban conglomerations, and the social conditions of scientific and artistic flourishing: these are the principal themes of what is often described as the founding text of the philosophy of history and the history of civilizations, the Muqaddimah, written by the Maghrebian Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun and usually dated around 1377.  The Master Class will involve a close reading of the six chapters of the Muqaddimah: general social theory, the theory of Bedouin society, the theory of political authority, the theory of urban society, the theory of economic development, and the sociology of science. 

The recommended reading: Ibn Khaldūn, 1332-1406. "The Muqaddimah: An introduction to history", translated from the Arabic by Franz Rosenthal. Imprint New Jersey : Princeton University Press, 1967 (available on the SPS bookshelf).

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English School Approaches to the Study of International Relations

Date/Location: 8 – 9 May 2014, Seminar Room Villa Sanfelice

Credits: 10

Organised by Jennifer Welsh 

Guest speakers: Prof. Andrew Hurrell (University of Oxford), Prof. Iver B. Neumann (London School of Economics and Political Science), Dr. Edward Keene (University of Oxford), Dr. Molly Cochran (Oxford Brookes University) 

This day-and-a-half long workshop will review the core assumptions and debates within the English School of international relations, and assess the implications for how those working within this broad school approach and structure their research. The aim is to: 1) consolidate students’ knowledge about the place of the English School within the larger landscape of IR theory; and 2) provide concrete examples on how to conceive and design research that falls broadly within this school.

The opening session will be devoted to a brief overview of the features shared by those working within the English School. The next four sessions will then address specific methodologies and themes: the ontology and epistemology of English School research; English School approaches to the history of the international system; English School approaches to normative theorizing; and English School approaches to power politics and power transitions.

Requirements: Researchers will be asked to read 2-3 articles/chapters before attending the seminar, and to act as discussants on presentations by guest speakers. Their discussion presentations will be a assessed by the convenor.


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'Contemporary Issues in Migration, Voting, and Citizenship': Legal and Political Theory Perspectives

Date/Location: 25 April 2014, Seminar Room 2, Badia Fiesolana

Credits: 10

Abstract: State boundaries are physical referents, and State-centered democratic processes are territorially situated. However, the spatial and human dimensions of the polity are not congruent. The foundational constituency does not overlap with and is not encased in the political and territorial boundaries of the state. Not all territorially present persons are members of the political community and, increasingly, not all the territorially absent (temporarily, indefinitely, or permanently) are excluded therefrom.

Concomitantly, certain groups of resident citizens remain electorally excluded. Against this background, the workshop will explore jurisprudential and theoretical approaches to the significance of the interrelations between voting and State citizenship by considering challenges arising from, inter alia, State practices of (temporary or permanent) electoral exclusion of convicted adult citizens, expatriates’ voting rights, and non-citizen suffrage. The full-day workshop will include several themed sessions.



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Rwandan Genocide: Its Impact Twenty Years On

Date/Location: 25 April, 2014. Seminar Room 3 (Badia Fiesolana)

Guest Speakers: Jens Meierhenrich (LSE), Filip Reyntjens (University of Antwerp)

Organized by: Dirk Moses and Jennifer Welsh

Abstract: This half-day workshop will engage in discussion of the domestic and international impacts of the Rwandan genocide. Speakers will reflect on how and to what degree Rwandan society has been transformed by the events of 1994, and how it has approached issues of accountability and reconciliation. They will also discuss the steps which particular states and international organisations, such as the United Nations, have taken to fulfil their responsibilities to prevent and respond to genocide. 


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Populism in the Shadow of the Great Recession

Date/Location: 21-22 March, 2014. Seminar Room 2 (Badia Fiesolana)

Credits: 10

Abstract: This workshop is organized in the framework on a book project on populism in the shadow of the Great Recession. Authors of a series of country chapters will present their drafts. Interested students will be able to act as discussants. At a time when the former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti appealed to electorates to avoid “a return to populism”, the French President François Hollande warns against “populist excesses”, and EU President Herman van Rompuy sends alarming messages about the “winds of populism” currently threatening Europe, the authors of the book project seek to offer a precise assessment on whether, and to what extent, populism has interacted with the crisis. Furthermore, working on the distinction between the economic and the political aspects of the crisis, but also being sensitive to the timing of events in each of our country cases, they will try to assess the different effects of the two types of crisis on populism at both the national and the EU levels. At the end, the project also hopes to be in a position to offer a theoretically robust and time-dynamic evaluation of contemporary European populism, and make credible predictions about its future course.

Requirements: attendance and a specific discussant task

Programme (provisional)

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How do Citizens Understand and Evaluate Democracy?

Date/Location: 6-7 March, Sala del Capitolo (Badia Fiesolana)

Credits: 10 (N.B. Registrations for this workshop need to be sent by 21 February, 2014)

Organiser: Hanspeter Kriesi

Abstract:The aim of the workshop is to present and discuss theoretical approaches and empirical analyses of the ESS Round6 on the way European citizens understand and evaluate democracy. The papers presented at the workshop are written by the contributors to an edited volume based on the ESS Round6 data (see the program of the workshop), which will be submitted to publisher later on this year. These data are available for 24 countries by now and the analyses will cover these countries. More countries will be added to the data file later on.

Requirements: Researchers are invited to participate in the workshop as discussants of the papers that are presented by the contributors to the edited volume. Researchers who wish to participate will be assigned one of the papers (the papers are expected to be available by the end of February at the latest) for discussion within the framework of the workshop (participants may indicate their preferences for these assignments). Participants need to write a three-pages comment (double-spaced) and are, of course, expected to present the comments also orally at the workshop. The written comments should be sent until March 5 to both Hanspeter Kriesi and Maureen. 


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Workshops 2012-2013

Workshops 2011-2012

Workshops 2010-2011 

Page last updated on 09 June 2014