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Max Weber Events by Max Weber Fellows Abstracts 2016-2017

Citizens, Democracy, and Global Responsibility

democracy globalization

Friday 9 December 2016, 11:15-17:30

Emeroteca, Badia


Organizers: Christine Hobden (SPS), Stefanie Reher (SPS),
Akisato Suzuki (SPS)





This workshop aims to discuss the actual or potential responsibility of citizens for democratic values and politics at the global scale.

Contemporary politics is inevitably transnational. International relations require pressing attention and careful navigation, but to what extent, if at all, is this the responsibility of citizens? What kind of responsibility do they owe, and to whom? Moreover, how should states balance their responsibilities towards other states and people with their need to be responsive to their own citizens? 

Despite often competing interests, coordination and compliance are required to effectively respond to collective challenges such as climate change, refugee crises, and terrorism.

Brexit has rekindled a fierce debate between the advocates of national sovereignty and proponents of European integration, and despite impressive progress toward a more peaceful international regime several inter-state relations remain hostile, unstable, or precarious. At the same time, coordination is increasing with far-reaching trade agreements such as TTIP.

Some citizens actively contest the terms of such agreements and campaign, for example, against multinational companies accused of labour exploitation and tax avoidance in developing countries. Yet, where citizens’ interests and global responsibilities diverge, a tension can arise.

Programme (pdf)


Critical Reflections on Asylum, Migration, and Xenophobia in Europe

regufees and xenophobia


24 January 2017, 10:00-17:00
Badia, Emeroteca

Organizers: Eva-Maria Muschik (HEC), Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi (LAW) and Ioannis Galariotis (SPS)





The European Union (EU) finds itself in the midst of a ‘refugee crisis.’ The arrival of increased numbers of asylum seekers raises moral, political, cultural, and institutional challenges.

EU member states have not been able to formulate a joint response. While member states at the fringe of the union raised physical barriers in the hope of curbing the refugee influx, others reinstated border controls, thus eroding the Schengen acquis.

Most importantly, refugees are risking their lives to reach EU territory and, once they arrive, often face deplorable conditions that barely meet their basic needs.

This situation has prompted much debate on how the EU should respond to the current challenge, and reap the opportunities that migration presents. Bringing together historians, legal scholars and political scientists, the aim of the workshop was to showcase new research related to the crisis to facilitate a better-informed public debate. Contributions ranged from analyses of xenophobia in Europe, to a review of migrants’ perceptions of the EU, and from investigations of current EU asylum policy, to an examination of international responses to the European refugee crisis at the end of World War II.  

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Survey Experiments

survey experimentswith Thomas J. Leeper (LSE)

18th January 2017, 9:00-16:00
Badia, Emeroteca

Organizers: Andrei Poama (SPS) and Paul Bauer (SPS). 





Survey experiments have emerged as one of the most powerful methodological tools in the social sciences. By combining experimental design that provides clear causal inference with the flexibility of the survey context as a site for behavioral research, survey experiments can be used in almost any field to study almost any question.

Conducting survey experiments can appear fairly simple but doing them well is hard.

This workshop introduced the logic of survey experimentation, introduced common survey-experimental "paradigms" that are widely used across the social sciences, explained how to connect social science theories to the design of experiments, addressed practical and inferential challenges, and included time for participants to discuss and receive feedback on their own planned or completed experiments. 

Persistent Inequalities: Studying Gender in the 21st Century

persistent inequality

14 March 2017, 10:00-17-30

Badia, Sala del Capitolo

Organizers: Ines Berniell (ECO), Pablo Gracia (SPS), Steven Klein (SPS), Nevena Kulic (SPS),





Even as more and more countries make gender equality a goal of public policy, gender hierarchies persevere across a range of contexts and metrics.

What explains the persistence of gender inequalities? What are the mechanisms that reproduce these inequalities? What public policies and political approaches have the best ability to overcome gender hierarchy? Finally, how is gender (in)equality at the societal level linked to within-household inequalities? To what extent does gender inequality emerge within families? How much of it is a by-product of a wider societal system?

Bringing together the approaches of scholars in sociology, political theory, and economics, this day-long multidisciplinary workshop will feature innovative research that examines, from a variety of methodological and thematic perspectives, the persistence of gender inequality.

The workshop will feature three panels as well as two keynote speakers. Each panel will focus on a different aspect of gender inequality: (1) Social Policy and the Welfare State; (2) Labor Markets; and (3) Household Inequality.

Download full programme (pdf)

Registration is open to a restricted number of participants on a first-come first-served basis

When Institutions Fail: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on Institutional Change, Outcome Diversity and Unintended Consequences

institutional failure15 March 2017, 09:00-18:30

Badia, Emeroteca

Organizer: Aris Trantidis (SPS)





Institutions play a key role in reducing uncertainty, supposedly contributing to more predictable behavioural patterns and leading to path-dependent developments in society, politics and the economy. Yet institutions evolve in dynamic and unexpected ways. While human action is constrained by the normative and institutional environment in which it unfolds, social actors largely shape and modify environmental factors, prompting institutional change. Nothing is static. The interaction between human action and the institutional environment (broadly stated, between agency and structure) generates change, diversity of outcomes and, quite frequently if not always - unanticipated and/or unintended effects. Institutional theory tends to see these outcomes either as resulting from re-alignments in the strategic moves of rational actors or from an exogenous shock that disturbs existing institutional arrangements. 
The workshop’s presentations emphasize that unintended consequences and the diversity of outcomes have origins in the adaptive behavioural capacity of social actors and the network-like structure of interactions. The behaviour of one agent affects the behaviour of another, and the resulting dynamics produce novel and powerful self-organizing patterns. The purpose of the workshop is to prompt a critical exploration of the complex processes by which institutions evolve from an interdisciplinary perspective which involves political science, political economy, law, legal and political theory and historiography.

Download workshop Programme (pdf)

All for one and one for all? Coalitions in the fight against terrorism

640px-Lernaean_Hydra_Getty_Villa_83.AE.34617 March 2017, 10:00-13:00
Badia, Emeroteca

Organisers: Matteo Faini (RSC), Tine Gade (RSC),
Stefano Marcuzzi (RSC)







Like the mythological Hydra, multilateral coalitions have many heads and the potential to be extremely effective. Unlike the Hydra, however, the coalition’s heads often go their own way, following their own strategy even when it is at odds with the overall goal of the coalition. Managing these coalitions is an extenuating and yet vital task in the fight against terrorism. The workshop aims to explore the formation of multilateral coalitions, the way they fight, the dilemmas and trade-offs they face and to identify best practices in coalition management. For instance, what lessons can be drawn from the multilateral operations against the Islamic State in Mosul? How can multilateral coalitions share the intelligence their partners possess without compromising that intelligence? How have the EU and NATO fared in its fight against terrorism? The workshop brings together academics and practitioners, with keynote speeches by Ambassador Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, and Prof.Olivier Roy

Download workshop Programme (pdf)

European Hobbes Society Workshop

Hobbes society27 April (9:30-17:00)- 28 April (10:00-18:00) 2017

Badia, Emeroteca 

Organizer: Alexandra Chadwick (HEC)




This two-day workshop is organised under the aegis of the European Hobbes Society and supported by the Max Weber Programme and the Department of History and Civilization.

The workshop provides the opportunity for in-depth discussion of new work on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. Papers will be pre-circulated to registered participants. An hour is allocated to the discussion of each paper, divided as follows: 

  • Brief introduction from the author. It is assumed that those attending have read the paper in advance.
  • A short response from an invited respondent.
  • Opportunity for the author to reply.
  • Questions and discussion.

Download the Programme (pdf)


Evolution of Capitalism

evolution of capitalism


 5 May 2017, 10:00-16:30
Villa Paola, Seminar Room

Organizers: Marta Musso (HEC), Mate Rigo (HEC)



How can historical research on economies, economists, and economic policies enrich and reinvigorate the study of the mainstream of modern history, centred on the investigation of ethnicity, nationalism, and political history?

This workshop, showcases the possible contributions that the study of 19th and 20th century “histories of capitalism” can bring to the field of modern US, European and world history. At the same time, presenters will also point to the contributions that the study of history of capitalism can contribute to current debates on oil, colonialism, and trade liberalization.

Presenters will draw on case studies to address issues also relevant to global history as well as business history and transnational history. Some of the themes explored will include business networks, global development, property and expropriation, and relations between “centres” and “peripheries.”

Download the Programme (pdf)

Translation in transit: Interpreting culture in the modern world

17 May 2017, 11:00-18:30

translation in transitBadia, Emeroteca

Organizers: Jonathan Greenwood(HEC), Katalin Straner (HEC)





At the heart of every discipline is translation, the mediation between ideas fraught with problems due to discrepancies in language and interpretation. But how was this cognitive dissonance remedied in the modern world, a period that starts with the advent of print in 1450?

By treating translation in the broadest sense, this multidisciplinary workshop provides provisional answers to this thorny question by exploring the adaptation of European culture within the continent and the wider world.

Translation, a concept so rich, yet deeply problematic, compels a multivalent analytical methodology only possible with the aid of several disciplines from the social sciences and the humanities.

Among the topics to be explored in this workshop are the translation of science, law, politics, religion as well as literature and art from the sixteenth into the twenty-first centuries and from global, transregional, and transnational perspectives.

Download the Programme (pdf)

The return of economic nationalism?


22-23 May 2017, 
Badia, Seminar Room 2

Organizers: Prof. Dorothee Bhole (SPS), MW Fellows Vera Scepanovic (SPS), Line Rennwald (SPS)


To judge by the headlines, the age of liberal economic integration is over. From the UK's decision to leave the EU to surprise re-nationalizations of key services in some of its new member states, from the US Republicans' demands for greater isolation to the protests against the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on both sides of the Atlantic, the calls to protect national economic interest are making a grand comeback. 

This workshop will explore the origins and consequences of this return of the nationalist discourse in economic policy-making. Championed mostly from the far right, the mix of appeals for greater economic autonomy, sovereignty from the transnational capital and social justice has raised a daunting challenge not only to the liberals but also to the left. To what extent are these representative of broader political realignments? Which legal and political claims are being marshalled to legitimate certain interests over others? What are the forces and the coalitions that are behind the new turn to economic nationalism? And most importantly, to what extent have they actually challenged the current liberal regime governing the exchange of goods and capital? 

The issues outlined above lie at the intersection of political science, economic sociology, and law, and to address them this workshop proposes to bring together researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. In addition to contributions dealing with the current wave of economic nationalism, we also welcome participants who can add a historical dimension to our understanding of this problem. 
SPS researchers can gain 10 credits by presenting ongoing research on one of the panels, acting as panel discussant, or submitting a paper on the topic and questions raised at the workshop.

Download programme (PDF)


 Bayesian Statistics: Concept and Practice

with Johan A. Elkink (University College Dublin)
Monday 5 June 2017, 9:30-17:30

Badia, Emeroteca

Organizers: Akisato Suzuki (SPS), Amuitz Garmendia Madariaga (SPS), Paul Bauer (SPS) under the initiative of the Quantitative Methods Working Group. 



This workshop introduces the concept and practice of Bayesian statistical inference.

Bayesian statistics has gained more recognition than ever in the field of social sciences.

The workshop deals with the fundamental differences between Bayesian and more conventional frequentist statistics and introduces the basic logic of Bayesian inference. It then focuses primarily on computational methods in Bayesian inference, which allow for a high level of flexibility in statistical modelling.

Participants will not only learn the concept of Bayesian statistics but also practice computational Bayesian inference in lab sessions using Stan implemented in R.

Reducing migration flows by involvement in countries of origin: Assessment of EU and national policy

controlling migration Emeroteca, Badia Fiesolana

11 September 2017, 14:00-18:15

 Organizers: Mauro Lanati (RSC 2016-17), Tine Gade (RSC 2016-18)




The EU is facing an unprecedented inflows of immigrants from the southern Mediterranean and there’s a growing pressure on the European institutions to find an effective way to manage (and arrest) the migration flows in the short-medium term. A number of measures have already been adopted such as the so-called migration compacts (the Jordan compact and the ones for the transit countries), whose effectiveness is questioned by several analysts. The current debate at the EU Commission is about finding a proper mix between humanitarian and pro-development assistance to the countries of origin, with specific focus on countries that are hosting the majority of refugees such as Lebanon, Libya, Jordan and Turkey. 

The workshop brings together researchers from different areas to discuss the effectiveness of these policies in the countries of origin, particularly in the south med area. More precisely, how the EU assistance is responding to the migration crises (especially to the countries that are hosting the majority of refugees), how and to what extent these measures can affect the decision to migrate, and how can cooperation between EU and countries of origin can be further developed. 

Download the Programme (pdf)

Page last updated on 18 September 2018