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Master Classes Abstracts 2016-2017

The Max Weber Master Classes are held by the Max Weber lecturers usually the day after the lecture itself. 

They are related to the Thematic Research Group sponsoring each lecturer and are mostly open to MW Fellows and members of the group.

Kalypso Nicolaidis (University of Oxford)

  "Demoi-cracy and its applications"

Thematic Group: Diversity and Unity 

27 October 2016, 11:15-13:15 
Seminar Room, Villa Paola


MW Fellows members of the Thematic Group can download the readings from Moodle

Other members of the EUI wishing to partecipate may contact Professor Richard Bellamy

Philippe van Parijs (Université Catholique de Louvain)


  "Gender justice, basic income and European democracy"

Thematic Group: Legal, Political and Social Theory

17 November 2016, 10:00-12:00
Seminar Room, Villa Paola


Professor Van Parijis will discuss themes from his Max Weber Lecture on "Just Europe" as developed in the following short pieces dealing with demos-cracy and a European basic income. He has also offered for discussion a piece on gender equality that raises the more general issue of which inequalities matter.


MW Fellows members of the Thematic Group can download the readings from Moodle

Other members of the EUI wishing to partecipate may contact Professor Richard Bellamy

Ngaire Woods (University of Oxford)

(University of Oxford)

‘Is Better Global Governance Possible?’

Thematic Group: Europe in the World 

15 December 2016, 11:00-13:00

Badia, Seminar Room 2



The International Monetary Fund is a controversial institution whose interventions regularly provoke passionate reactions. Ngaire Woods argues that there is an important role for the IMF in helping to solve information, commitment, and coordination problems with significant implications for the stability of national economies and the international monetary and financial system.

In executing these functions, the effectiveness of the IMF, like that of a football referee, depends on whether the players see it as competent and impartial. Woods argues that the Fund's perceived competence and impartiality, and hence its effectiveness, are limited by its failure to meet four challenges—concerning the quality of its surveillance (of individual countries, groups of countries, and the global system); the relevance of conditionality in loan contracts; the utility of the Fund's approach to debt problems; and the Fund's failure to adopt a system of governance that gives appropriate voice to different stakeholders.

These problems of legitimacy will have to be addressed in order for the IMF to play a more effective role in the 21st century.



The IMF's unmet challenges (on line)

Barbara Petrongolo (Queen Mary University London)

Gender Norms

Thematic Group: Inequalty and Efficiency in Education and Labour Markets

19 January 2017, 10:00-12:00
Villa La Fonte, 3rd floor Seminar Room



Fortin, N. (2005)  " Gender Role Attitudes  and the Labour Market Outcomes of Women Across OECD Countries",   Oxford Review of Economic Policy  21 : 416-438  (*.pdf)

Bertrand, M. (2011)  "New Perspectives on Gender",   in Orley Ashenfelter and David Card eds,  H andbook of Labor Ecomics  volume 4B, pp. 1545-1592

Bertrand, M., E, Kamenica and J. Pan (2015)  “Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households” Quarterly Journal of Economics   130: 571-614 .

Goux , D., E.  Maurin  and B. Petrongolo (2014)  "Worktime regulations and spousal labor supply " American Economic Review  104: 252-276, 2014.  

Olivetti, C. and B. Petrongolo (2017)
 The economic consequences of family policies. Drawing lessons from a century of legislation across OECD countries . Forthcoming,  Journal of Economic Perspectives

Olivetti, C. and B. Petrongolo (2016)   The evolution of the gender gap in industrialized countries.    Annual Review of Economics   8:  405-434, 2016.

Barry Heichengreen (University of California, Berkeley)


'Cables, Sharks and Servers: Technology and the Geography of the Foreign Exchange Market'

Thematic Group: Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa

15 February 2017, 14:00-16:00
Badia, Emeroteca


The talk is based on an article co-authored with Romain Lafarguette and Arnaud Mehl. We analyze the impact of technology on production and trade in services, focusing on the foreign exchange market.

We identify exogenous technological changes by the connection of countries to submarine fiber-optic cables used for electronic trading, but which were not laid for purposes related to the foreign exchange market.

We estimate the impact of cable connections on the share of offshore foreign exchange transactions. Cable connections between local markets and matching servers in the major financial centers lower the fixed costs of trading currencies and increase the share of currency trades occurring onshore. At the same time, however, they attenuate the effect of standard spatial frictions such as distance, local market liquidity, and restrictive regulations that otherwise prevent transactions from moving to the major financial centers.

Our estimates suggest that the second effect dominates. Technology dampens the impact of spatial frictions by up to 80 percent and increases, in net terms, the share of offshore trading by 21 percentage points. Technology also has economically important implications for the distribution of foreign exchange transactions across financial centers, boosting the share in global turnover of London, the world’s largest trading venue, by as much as one-third. 

Download article (pdf)

Rhacel Salazar Parrenas, (University of Southern California)

"Mobilising morality: Migrant domestic workers in Dubai"

21 March 2017, 15:00-17:00

Villa Schifanoia, Sala Triaria 


This Master Class with Professor Rhacel Salazar Parrenas (University of Southern California) describes labour conditions in Dubai using 85 in-depth interviews with Filipino domestic workers.

While the talk calls attention to the indenture and absence of labour protection for domestic workers, it establishes and describes their labour conditions as falling under three prevailing cultural patterns: a) dehumanisation; b) infantilisation; c) recognition.

The analysis of Professor Parrenas invites for caution in labellinig all domestic workers in Dubai as nothing-but-abuse-victims, consider the kafala (sponsorship) system as a form of "structural violence".

Rhacel Parrenas suggests a more critical understanding of how market activities can be intertwined with moral justifications challenging and shaping the structures of domination even if they do not subvert them.

Download the following readings in PDF in preparations for the master class:

1. What Is Human Trafficking? A Review Essay

2. The indentured mobility of migrant hostesses

3. Domestic workers refusing neo-slavery in the UAE

4. Servants if globalization. Preface

Sally Engle Merry (New York University)

“Cultural Dimensions of Power/Knowledge:
The Challenges of Measuring Violence against Women.” 

27 Aprile, 10:00-12:00
Villa Paola, Seminar Room



International governance, like all contemporary modes of governance, increasingly operates by means of quantitative measurements.

Issues such as corruption, the rule of law, academic achievement, compli-ance with human rights norms, and accountability are generally translated into numbers and indicators.

As quantification becomes ever more central to governance, it is critical to examine the cultural and socialtheoretical frameworks within which measurement systems are developed.

A comparison of four cultural approaches to measuring violence against women globally shows that there are significant differences in what is made visible and what is disappeared in each one.

Moreover, the organizations that promote these different approaches vary significantly in power and resources. Those generated by better resourced orga-nizations come to dominate the definition of a phenomenon, such as violence against women, and the wayit is understood.

Ultimately, this shapes the way it is governed. Since regulation and governance depend onwhat quantitative data makes visible, these slippages have important implications for the practice of global governance.


Download the readings:

1. 'Quantification and the Paradox of Measurement: Translating Children’s Rights in Tanzania' (pdf)

2. 'Cultural Dimensions of Power/Knowledge:The Challenges of Measuring Violence against Women' (pdf)


Page last updated on 17 August 2017