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Abstracts of Max Weber Book Roundtables 2020-2021

Max Weber Book Roundtable November 2020

  Book cover Malesevic

 Grounded Nationalisms
Siniša Malešević (University College Dublin)

 18 November 2020, 17:00-18:30
Online, via Zoom


Siniša Malešević (University College Dublin), Professor of Sociology

Veronica Anghel (EUI), Max Weber Fellow, SPS Department; Jelena Dzankic (EUI), Part-time Professor in the Global Governance Programme (RSCAS) and Co-Director of the Global Citizenship Observatory; Benjamin Goossen (EUI), Max Weber Fellow, HEC Department; Hanspeter Kriesi (EUI), Part-time Professor (SPS Department) and Principal Investigator or the ERC-funded SOLID project.



Dorothee Bohle (EUI), Director of Max Weber Programme and Dean of Postdoctoral Studies


Book Abstract

Globalisation is not the enemy of nationalism; instead, as this book shows, the two forces have developed together through modern history. Malešević challenges dominant views which see nationalism as a declining social force. He explains why the recent escalations of populist nationalism throughout the world do not represent a social anomaly but are, in fact, a historical norm. By focusing on ever-increasing organisational capacity, greater ideological penetration and networks of micro-solidarity, Malešević shows how and why nationalism has become deeply grounded in the everyday life of modern human beings. The author explores the social dynamics of these grounded nationalisms via an analysis of varied contexts, from Ireland to the Balkans. His findings show that increased ideological diffusion and the rising coercive capacities of states and other organisations have enabled nationalism to expand and establish itself as the dominant operative ideology of modernity.


About the Speaker

Siniša Malešević is a Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University College, Dublin, and Senior Fellow at CNAM, Paris. He is an elected member of Royal Irish Academy and Academia Europaea. Previously he held research and teaching appointments at the Institute for International Relations (Zagreb), the Centre for the Study of Nationalism, CEU (Prague), National University of Ireland, Galway, the London School of Economics, the Institute for Human Sciences (Vienna), Université Libre de Bruxelles and Uppsala University. His recent books include Grounded Nationalisms: A Sociological Analysis (Cambridge University Press, 2019), The Rise of Organised Brutality: A Historical Sociology of Violence (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and Nation-States and Nationalisms: Organisation, Ideology and Solidarity (Polity Press 2013). He is author of 10 books, 8 edited volumes and over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. His work has been translated into 13 languages.


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Max Weber Book Roundtable December 2020

Book cover Schmidt  

 Europe's Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone
Vivien Schmidt (Boston University)


2 December 2020, 17:00-18:30
Online, via Zoom


Vivien Schmidt (Boston University), Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration; Professor of International Relations and Political Science; Paul Dermine (EUI), Max Weber Fellow, LAW Department; Sebastian Diessner (EUI), Max Weber Fellow, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies; Brigid Laffan (EUI), Director and Professor at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies


Dorothee Bohle (EUI), Director of Max Weber Programme and Dean of Postdoctoral Studies

Book Abstract

This volume examines the interrelationship between democratic legitimacy at the European level and the ongoing Eurozone crisis that began in 2010.

Europe's crisis of legitimacy stems from 'governing by rules and ruling by numbers' in the sovereign debt crisis, which played havoc with the eurozone economy while fueling political discontent. Using the lens of democratic theory, the book assesses the legitimacy of EU governing activities first in terms of their procedural quality ('throughput),' by charting EU actors' different pathways to legitimacy, and then evaluates their policy effectiveness ('output') and political responsiveness ('input'). In addition to an engaging and distinctive analysis of Eurozone crisis governance and its impact on democratic legitimacy, the book offers a number of theoretical insights into the broader question of the functioning of the EU and supranational governance more generally. It concludes with proposals for how to remedy the EU's problems of legitimacy, reinvigorate its national democracies, and rethink its future.

About the Speaker

Vivien A. Schmidt is Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and Professor of International Relations and Political Science in the Pardee School at Boston University, where she also served as Founding Director of its Center for the Study of Europe. Her work focuses on European political economy, institutions, and democracy as well as political theory ( with a special focus on the role of ideas and discourse in political analysis).   In addition to her latest book Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone (Oxford 2020),  recent publications include Resilient Liberalism in Europe’s Political Economy (co-edited, Cambridge 2013), and Democracy in Europe (Oxford 2006; La Découverte 2010 Fr. trans.)—named in 2015 by the European Parliament as one of the ‘100 Books on Europe to Remember.’  Recent honors and awards include decoration as Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor, the European Union Studies Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for her new project on the ‘rhetoric of discontent,’ a transatlantic investigation of the populist revolt.


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 Max Weber Book Roundtable February 2021

 Book cover - Katharina Pistor 

 The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality
Katharina Pistor (Columbia Law School)

3 February 2021, 17:00-18:30
Online, via Zoom


Katharina Pistor (Columbia Law School), Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law; Katarzyna Doniec (EUI), Max Weber Fellow, SPS; Martijn Hesselink (EUI), Professor of Transnational Law and Theory, LAW; Alvaro Pereira (EUI), Max Weber Fellow, LAW; Giacomo Tagiuri, Max Weber Fellow, LAW


Dorothee Bohle (EUI), Director of Max Weber Programme and Dean of Postdoctoral Studies

Book Abstract

Capital is the defining feature of modern economies, yet most people have no idea where it actually comes from. What is it, exactly, that transforms mere wealth into an asset that automatically creates more wealth? The Code of Capital explains how capital is created behind closed doors in the offices of private attorneys, and why this little-known fact is one of the biggest reasons for the widening wealth gap between the holders of capital and everybody else.

In this revealing book, Katharina Pistor argues that the law selectively “codes” certain assets, endowing them with the capacity to protect and produce private wealth. With the right legal coding, any object, claim, or idea can be turned into capital—and lawyers are the keepers of the code. Pistor describes how they pick and choose among different legal systems and legal devices for the ones that best serve their clients’ needs, and how techniques that were first perfected centuries ago to code landholdings as capital are being used today to code stocks, bonds, ideas, and even expectations—assets that exist only in law.

A powerful new way of thinking about one of the most pernicious problems of our time, The Code of Capital explores the different ways that debt, complex financial products, and other assets are coded to give financial advantage to their holders. This provocative book paints a troubling portrait of the pervasive global nature of the code, the people who shape it, and the governments that enforce it.

About the Speaker

Katharina Pistor is a leading scholar and writer on corporate governance, money and finance, property rights, and comparative law and legal institutions.

Pistor is the author or co-author of nine books. Her most recent book, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality, examines how assets such as land, private debt, business organizations, or knowledge are transformed into capital through contract law, property rights, collateral law, and trust, corporate, and bankruptcy law. The Code of Capital was named one of the best books of 2019 by the Financial Times and Business Insider. 

Pistor publishes widely in legal and social science journals. In her recent essay “From Territorial to Monetary Sovereignty” in the Journal on Theoretical Inquiries in Law (2017), she argued that the rise of a global money system means a new definition of sovereignty: the control of money. She has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Institutional EconomicsEuropean Business Organization Law ReviewAmerican Journal of Comparative Law, and Columbia Journal for European Law. 

Pistor is a prominent commentator on cryptocurrency and has testified before Congress on the lack of regulatory oversight of proposed international cryptocurrencies. As the director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation, Pistor directs the center’s work to develop research projects and organize conferences to examine ways in which law shapes global relations and how they, in turn, transform the law. 

Before joining Columbia Law School in 2001, Pistor held teaching and research positions at Harvard Law School, the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Law in Hamburg. She has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, New York University Law School, Frankfurt University, London School of Economics, and Oxford University. 

Pistor is a research associate with the Centre for Economic Policy Research and has served as principal investigator of the Global Finance and Law Initiative (2011–2013) and member of the board of directors (2011–2014) and 2019 fellow of the European Corporate Governance Institute. In 2015, she was elected a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.

In 2012 she was co-recipient (with Martin Hellwig) of the Max Planck Research Award on International Financial Regulation, and in 2014 she received the Allen & Overy Prize for the best working paper on law of the European Corporation Governance Institute. She is also the recipient of research grants by the Institute for New Economic Thinking and the National Science Foundation.

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Page last updated on 15 January 2021

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