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Abstracts for Max Weber Lectures 2016-2017

Kalypso Nicolaidis (University of Oxford)

MW PosterNikolaides
"Three meanings of Brexit"

26 October, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio

Chair: Alexis Katsaitis (RSC)
Presenter: Brigit Laffan (Director RSC)






I will discuss three meanings of Brexit – starting with a definition of “meaning” as narrative, as opposed to explanation, rationalisation or implication.  

Meanings matter, I argue, for which narrative dominates the next two years and will determine not only the nature of the Brexit deal but also the nature of the EU itself.

The three meanings are labelled exceptionalism (“Brexit means that the UK should leave”) a narrative shared by hard-Brexiters and Euro-federalists; scepticism (“Brexit mean that you all should leave”), a narrative shared by Euro-sceptics around Europe and left-wing Brexiters in the UK; and pluralism (“Brexit means that you can leave”).

The lecture will explore the ways in which this last narrative can both draw on the other two and help transcend them. It will draw on the four disciplines of the EUI and the Max Weber programme, namely history, politics, law and economics.


Philippe Van Parijs (Université Catholique de Louvain)




"Just Europe" 

16 November 2016, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio

Chair: Christine Hobden
Presenter: Rainer Bauboek





How should we think  about justice within the European Union? As a fair sharing of the benefits of voluntary cooperation between member states? Or on the model of domestic distribution justice, i.e. as the equalization of opportunities between European citizens? Or both? Or neither? In his only explicit discussion of the European Union, John Rawls, the founding father of contemporary political philosophy, takes a clear stance on this issue. The lecture will spell out this stance but argue for the opposite view. And it will sketch the implications for the struggles ahead, in Europe and elsewhere.


Ngaire Woods (University of Oxford)


'Backlash:  Is globalization killing democracy?'

14 December 2016

Badia, Refettorio

Chair: MW Fellow Marta Musso (HEC)
Presenter: Jennifer Welsh (SPS Professor)





About the speaker:

Professor Ngaire Woods is the inaugural Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor  of Global Economic Governance. Her research focuses on global economic governance, the challenges of globalization, global development, and the role of international institutions. She founded and is the Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme.

She is co- founder (with Robert O. Keohane) of the Oxford- Princeton Global Leaders Fellowship programme. She led the creation of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University.

Ngaire Woods has served as an Advisor to the IMF Board, to the UNDP’s Human Development Report, and to the Commonwealth Heads of Government.

She has also served as a member of the IMF European Regional Advisory Group, and Chair of a World Economic Forum’s  Global Agenda Council. She is currently a Rhodes Trustee, a Non-Executive Director of Arup, a member of the Advisory Group of the Center for Global Development (Washington DC), a member of the Board of the Center for International Governance Innovation (Waterloo), a member of the Academic and Policy Board of Oxonia, a member  of the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation,  and a Trustee of the   Europeaum.


She was a regular presenter of the Analysis Program for BBC Radio 4, and in 1998 presented her own BBC TV series on public policy. 

Her recent books include: The Politics of Global Regulation (with Walter Mattli, Oxford University Press, 2009), Networks of Influence? Developing Countries in a Networked Global Order (with Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, Oxford University Press, 2009), The Globalizers: the IMF, the World Bank and their Borrowers (Cornell University Press, 2006),Exporting Good Governance: Temptations and Challenges in Canada’s Aid Program (with Jennifer Welsh, Laurier University Press, 2007), andMaking Self-Regulation  Effective  in  Developing Countries (with Dana Brown, Oxford University Press, 2007).  

Barbara Petrongolo (Queen's Mary University of London)

MWLpetrongolo  Posterweb

"Women at work: Trends, current perspectives and policy responses"
18 January 2017, 17:00-19:00
Badia refettorio

chair: Pablo Gracia (SPS)
Presenter: Andrea Ichino (ECO EUI Professor)





Women's increased involvement in the economy has been the most significant change in labour markets over the past century, resulting in clear gender convergence in human capital investment, employment prospects and outcomes.

However, there are remaining gender gaps in pay and employment levels, as well as in the types of activities that men and women perform in the labour market.

I discuss historical forces that eased female labour market entry, as well as current perspectives on the factors that hinder further convergence, including: (i) gender differences in preferences and psychological attributes, (ii) social norms and gender identity, and (iii) work-life balance considerations.

I conclude with a discussion of policy responses and recent evaluations of family policies.

About the lecturer 

Barbara Petrongolo is Professor of Economics at Queen Mary University, Director of the CEPR Labour Economics Programme and Research Associate at the Centre for Economic Performance of the London School of Economics.

She has previously held positions at the London School of Economics, the Paris School of Economics and the University of Carlos III (Madrid).

Her main area of interest is applied labour economics. She has worked extensively on the performance of labour markets with job search frictions, with applications to unemployment dynamics, welfare policy and interdependencies across local labour markets.

She has also carried out research on the causes and characteristics of gender inequalities in labour market outcomes, in a historical perspective and across countries, with an emphasis on the role of employment selection mechanisms, structural transformation, and interactions within the household.

Barry Eichengreen (University of California, Berkeley 


MWL_Eichengreen_February15 February 2017, 17:00-19:00

Minimal conditions for the survival of the Euro

Badia, Refettorio

Chair: Francesco Molteni (ECO)

Introduction: Youssef Cassis (HEC Professor)




This Max Weber lecture will look back at the history and forward at the prospects of the euro as Europe's single currency. 

The retrospective portion will revisit Bayoumi and Eichengreen's "Shocking Aspects of European Integration" which distinguished a European "core" and a European "periphery" and warned of problems for the periphery (composed, according to those early estimates, circa 1992, of Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Italy and the UK). 

The prospective part will look forward and ask whether monetary union without political union can be made to work, and if so how.

About the speaker

Barry Eichengreen is the George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1987. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London, England). In 1997-98 he was Senior Policy Advisor at the International Monetary Fund. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (class of 1997).

Professor Eichengreen is the convener of the Bellagio Group of academics and economic officials and chair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the Peterson Institute of International Economics. He has held Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships and has been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Palo Alto) and the Institute for Advanced Study (Berlin). He is a regular monthly columnist for Project Syndicate.

His most recent books are Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and the Uses--and Misuses--of History (January 2015), From Miracle to Maturity: The Growth of the Korean Economy with Dwight H. Perkins and Kwanho Shin (2012) and Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System (2011) (shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2011).

Professor Eichengreen was awarded the Economic History Association's Jonathan R.T. Hughes Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2002 and the University of California at Berkeley Social Science Division's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2004. He is the recipient of a doctor honoris causa from the American University in Paris, and the 2010 recipient of the Schumpeter Prize from the International Schumpeter Society. He was named one of Foreign Policy Magazine 's 100 Leading Global Thinkers in 2011. He is a past president of the Economic History Association (2010-11 academic year).

 Rhacel Salazar Parreñas (University of Southern California)

Parrenasposter'Labor Regimes of Indenture: A Global Overview of Migrant Domestic Work'


22 March 2017, 17:00-18:30

Badia, Refettorio

Chair: Rigo Mate (HEC)
Introduce the speaker Anna Triandafyllidou (RSC Professor)




Across the globe, migrant domestic workers are unfree workers whose legal residency is contingent on their continued employment as a live-in worker with a designated sponsor.

This talk examines the politics of their indenture. Providing a macro and micro perspective, it begins with a global overview of the incorporation of migrant domestic workers as indentured workers in key host countries in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, explains the cultural logic that undergirds their indenture, and then describes the conditions of domestic work in the ‘worst destination’ of the United Arab Emirates, where absconding is illegal and quitting one’s job requires a sponsor’s permission.

This talk interrogates various theoretical frameworks for thinking about contemporary unfreedoms – slavery, human trafficking and structural violence – and proposes the alternative concept of “indentured mobility,” which sees migration as simultaneously constituting of financial mobility from a life of poverty in the sending society but at the cost of servitude vis-à-vis a sponsoring employer in the receiving society. 

The concept of indentured mobility foregrounds not only the severe structural constraints that limit the options of domestic workers but also their agentic negotiations for improving their work conditions and maximizing the possible gains in their state of unfreedom. 

About the speaker

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. Previously, she was a tenure track faculty member at Brown University (Full), University of California-Davis (Associate to Full), and University of Wisconsin, Madison (Assistant).


Her areas of research include labor, migration, transnational feminism, economic sociology, gender and the family. Her earlier works examined the constitution of gender in women's migration and transnational household formations. Her more recent works focus on the intersections of human trafficking and labor migration and examine the experiences of "unfree" migrant workers, including migrant domestic workers in Dubai and Singapore and migrant sex workers in Tokyo. She analyzes how morals mediate the experience of unfree labor vis-a-vis the state, migrant community, and workplace, for example by examining how moral views on prostitution are negotiated by sex workers in the process of their labor migration or how the moral views of employers result in varying experiences for domestic workers who are outside the boundaries of legal protection.


Professor Parreñas has co-edited three anthologies and has written five monographs as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles. She has received research funding from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and National Science Foundation, and fellowship invitations from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Study. Her work is translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Korean, and Japanese. 


Sally E. Merry (New York University)


'The Seductions of Quantification: 
Bureaucracy and the Politics of Measurement'

26 April 2017, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio
Chair: David Lebow (LAW)
Introduction: Nehal Bhuta (EUI LAW Professor) 







An intense preoccupation with numbers is sweeping the worlds of international and domestic governance, based on the idea that political decisions must be made on the basis of objective quantitative data.  

The use of statistics in governance was fundamental to the emergence of the modern nation-state.  With globalization, the scope of governance through quantification is growing even more. 

The expansion in quantification parallels the growth of bureaucracy; it is clear that bureaucracy runs on numbers.  Using examples from efforts to measure violence against women developed by the United Nations to assess the phenomenon globally.

This talk shows how bureaucracy and quantification complement each other.   They work with a shared approach to knowledge production based on conceptions of objectivity, rationality, and specificity.  

At the same time, the dependence of bureaucratic activity on quantification means that its work is shaped by the underlying cultural and interpretive work of quantification and its capacity to render the complex social world commensurable through classification and categorization.  

The talk concludes by asking, based on this analysis, what are the prospects that bureaucracies can resist the current trend toward nationalistic, charismatic leadership?  

About the speaker

Sally Engle Merry is Silver Professor of Anthropology at New York University. 

She is also a Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law, and past president of the American Ethnological Society.  

Her recent books include Colonizing Hawai‘i (Princeton, 2000), Human Rights and Gender Violence (Chicago,  2006), Gender Violence: A Cultural Perspective (Blackwell, 2009) and The Practice of Human Rights, (co-edited with Mark Goodale; Cambridge, 2007). 

Her most recent book, The Seductions of Quantification: Measuring Human Rights, Gender Violence, and Sex Trafficking (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016) examines indicators as a technology of knowledge used for human rights monitoring and global governance. 

She has co-edited two books on quantification, The Quiet Power of Indicators, with Kevin Davis and Benedict Kingsbury (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and A World of Indicators, with Richard Rottenburg, Song-Joon Park, and Johanna Mugler (Cambridge University Press 2015), 2015.  She is the author or editor of fifteen books and special journal issues.   

She received the Hurst Prize for Colonizing Hawai‘i in 2002, the Kalven Prize for scholarly contributions to sociolegal scholarship in 2007, and the  J.I. Staley Prize for Human Rights and Gender Violence in 2010  

In 2013 she received an honorary degree from McGill School of Law and was the focus of an Author Colloquium at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZIF) at the University of Bielefeld, Germany.  She is an Honorary Professor at Australian National University.  

Mark Philp (University of Warwick)

philp poster'The corruption of politics"

10 May 2017, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio
Chair: Katalin Straner (HEC)
Introduction: Richard Bellamy (Director of the Max Weber Programme)




In much of the literature on corruption, politics is seen as the source of corruption.  Identifying it as the thing that is being corrupted raises considerable difficulties, not least because of the intrinsically contestable nature of politics itself. 

This lecture makes the case for identifying corruption in relation to standards internal to politics and links disputes about the definition and analysis of corruption to recent work on realism in political theory. 

About the speaker

Mark Philp has been Professor of History and Politics at the University of Warwick since 2013.  Prior to this he was fellow and tutor in Politics at Oriel College, Oxford and was the founding Head of Department for the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford. 

His research has focussed on the history of political thought, the social and cultural history of late 18th Century Britain, and contemporary political theory and political sociology. 

Recent publications include Political Conduct (Harvard 2007); the Godwin Diary website: http://godwindiary.bodleian.ox.ac.uk; Reforming Political Ideas in Britain: Politics and Language in the shadow of the French Revolution (Cambridge, 2013); with Joanna Innes eds., Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions: America, France, Britain, Ireland 1750-1850 (Oxford, 2013); and a range of essays on the cultural and intellectual history of London between 1789 and 1815, political corruption and accountability, realism in political theory, and ageing. 


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