Multidisciplinary Research Workshops 2007-2008

4 June 2008, 'Beyond Regression in Social Sciences: The Need for Logical Models', Rein Taagepera, Research Professor, Political Science, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine & Professor Emeritus, Tartu University.

Rein Taagepera has been awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science of 2008, 'for his profound analysis of the function of electoral systems in representative democracy'.

Readings: Graph more than just the data

From Rein Taagepera's book, Beyond Regression in Social Sciences: The Need for Logical Models, Oxford University Press, 2008 Contents - Preface - Chapter 1 (pdf. 13 pp.)


28 May 2008, The Virtues of Mendacity: On Lying in Politics (pdf.), Martin Jay, Department of History, University of California Berkeley

Going beyond traditional moralistic critiques or consequentialist defenses of political mendacity, Jay's paper examines a series of arguments that seek to understand its role in the political realm. Looking at various definitions of 'the political', he unravels the implications each has for lying and hypocrisy.


14 May 2008, A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Human History, Barry Weingast, Department of Political Science, Stanford University


7 May 2008, Norms, Narratives, and NATO Military Transformation, Theo Farrell, Professor of War in the Modern World, Dept. of War Studies, King's College London

Readings: Transnational Norms and Military Development: Constructing Ireland’s Professional Army (pdf.)

Strategic Culture and American Empire (pdf.)


9 April 2008, Fellows MRW, Presentation of Working Papers & Work in Progress, Sergio Catignani, Max Weber Fellow, EUI, 'Organizational Culture and Organized Hypocrisy: Explaining the U.S. Military's Resistance to Counter-Insurgency in Iraq'

This paper adopts an organizational analysis approach to examine the extent to which cultural factors within the US Army and the nature of civilmilitary relations within the US have influenced the US Army’s adaptation to the counter-insurgency/nation-building mission in Iraq. By applying the concepts of organizational culture and hypocrisy to the study of the US Army case study, the paper sheds light on the constraints and opportunities that conventional militaries face when seeking to adapt to the complex reality of low-intensity conflicts. While traditional notions of organizational adaptation have relied on unitary conceptions of organizational learning, the question of learning in organizations that are not homogenous and that have various intra-organizational routines, identities and aims that may be challenged by their members as well as by external actors, has been to a certain extent overlooked in research. As a result when applying the concepts of organizational culture and hypocrisy to the issues of organizational adaptation and learning, the paper analyzes the predicaments organizations deal with when identities within them are actually not shared, when norms and routines are varied and perhaps at odds with each other (Fiol, 1994), and when such organizations are subject to often contradictory demands for reform and adaptation both from within and from without their organizational setting. Under such conditions, organizations often resort to the organization of hypocrisy in order to cope with such multiple demands.

Eszter Bartha and Joanna Wolszczak-Derlacz, Max Weber Fellows, EUI, The Power of Silence

This paper investigates opinion contagion in collective behaviour, using an extension of Granovetter’s (1978) and Krassa’s (1988) threshold models. The theoretical background is the concept of spiral of silence developed by Noelle-Neumann (1974) arguing that people only assert their opinions if they perceive a minimal support from the relevant proportion of others. We apply the model to explain the wrong electoral forecast of the Polish parliamentary and presidential elections in 2005. It is shown that the minority opinions were higher than the actual votes as a consequence of the different distribution of the threshold values of the opinion assertion.


2 April 2008, Hans-Henrik Holm, Jean Monnet Professor of International Relations at the Danish School of Journalism & Spring 2008 Visiting Professor RSCAS/SPS, EUI, 'Globalization and the Shaping of National Images'

How do we see other countries and regions? Are images of countries becoming globalized or nationalized?

The workshop will concentrate specifically at how the outside world perceives the United States, and we will discuss both data and methods.

Bionote: Hans-Henrik Holm, born in 1951, is Professor of International Relations and Head of the World Politics Department at the Danish School of Journalism in Århus. He is author of 11 books and more than 50 articles on Danish Foreign policy and international relations. He is a consultant to the Danish Government on Third World issues. From 1982 he is professor at the Danish School of Journalism. In 2000-2001, he has been Visiting professor at the European University Institute in Florence. Between 1975 and 1989 he worked at the Institute of Political Science in Århus University and spent a year from 1983-1984 as a Visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been awarded the Jean Monnet Chair of European politics by the EU Scientific Council. In 2007 he was visiting professor at University of Berkeley and in spring 2008 at the EUI.


5 March 2008, Do the Human Sciences Need a Philosophical Upgrade? Mark Bevir, Department of Political Science, University of Berkeley, California

Many human scientists remain wedded to a concept of science defined by mid-20th century conceptions of empiricism, realism, and formal explanations. Philosophy, in contrast, has moved on, transformed by the rise of meaning holism. The goal of this workshop is to explore changes in philosophical thinking and their relevance for the human sciences.

Readings: On Tradition, Meta-Methodology, Concept Formation in Political Science


13 February 2008, The Use of Micro-History, Carlo Ginzburg, Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa


J. Revel (ed.), La micro-analyse à l'experience, Paris: Gallimard-Le Seuil, c1996.

Penser par cas/sous la direction de Jean-Claude Passeron, Jacques Revel. Paris: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, c2005 (Introduction)

C. Ginzburg, Microhistory: Two or Three Things That I Know About It (.pdf), Critical Inquiry, 20, Autumn 1993, pp. 10-35.

C. Ginzburg, Latitude, Slaves, and the Bible: An Experiment in Microhistory, Critical Inquiry, 31, Spring 2005, pp. 665-83


30 January 2008, 'The Emergence of Capitalism, the Empire of Fashion, and the Cultural Origins of the French Revolution', William Sewel, Department of History, University of Chicago

My project is an attempt to rethink the relationship between the rise of capitalism and the French Revolution. The earlier Marxist interpretation associated with Lefebvre and Soboul (now in disrepute) made capitalism a cause of the revolution, in the sense that the revolution was seen as a direct manifestation of the struggle between the rising bourgeois and declining feudal class. I am searching for a more diffuse connection, in which social and cultural forms characteristic of capitalist development provide the conditions of possibility for the egalitarian thrust of the revolution. In my presentation, I use the case of the Lyonnais silk industry to develop a model of fashion as a dynamic capitalist form, one based simultaneously on exploitation of labor; the development of innovative design and marketing; and unpaid labor that arises out of the desires stimulated in consumers. I end by sketching out some of the implications of fashion as a dynamic of capitalism for thinking about eighteenth-century French society and culture.


9 January 2007, 'On Economics as a Social 'Science', Andrea Ichino, Department of Economics, University of Bologna and Ramon Marimon, Department of Economics, EUI

Part I. Ramon Marimon (EUI) 'From Pasteur's Quadrant to the Rational Expectations Revolution and Beyond'

Part II. Andrea Ichino (Universita' di Bologna) 'Gender Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores'


18 December, 'The Bankruptcy of Statistical Fit as a Measure of Importance', Deirdre McCloskey, Departments of History, Economics, English, and Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago

Professor McCloskey has written with Stephen Ziliak (University of Michigan Press), The Cult of Statistical Significance. It is a full-scale review of the longstanding criticisms of t-tests, chi-square, R-square, and the rest---that is, measures of fit that since R. A. Fisher in the 1920s have been erroneously taken to measure 'importance.'  No serious theorist in statistics since Fisher has agreed with Fisher, but Fisher won in practice. It's time, say Ziliak and McCloskey, to stop. On Professor McCloskey's web page the paper replying to Hoover and Siegler (featured on the home page) is the place to go for further enlightenment, with the advertisement on the website linked to the book.


5 December 2007, 'Rationality in Historical  Research. A Controversy in the Assessment of the Stalinist Model of Economic Modernisation', Arfon Rees, Department of History, EUI

This presentation examines a recent controversy in the field of Soviet history as an illustration of the  way in which historians explore the aims and intentions of  political actors in determining strategies of economic modernisation. It analyses the extent to which rational choices in determining priorities might be impeded by ideological, political and other considerations. It examines how far it is possible to isolate  priorities in development strategies, how far priorities are shaped by available information, and the way outcomes are measured in relation to initial objectives.


Vincent Barnett, “Understanding Stalinism-The ‘Orwellian Discrepancy’ and the ‘Rational Choice Dictator’, Europe -Asia Studies, vol. 54, No 3. May 2006, pp 457-466

Stephen G. Wheatcroft, “Understanding Stalinism-A Reply”, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 58, November 2006, pp 1141-1148

Mark Harrison, “ The Rational-Choice Dictator-A Reply, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 58, November 2006, pp 1148-1154

R.W. Davies, “Understanding Stalinism-A Reply” Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 58, November 2006, pp 1154-1156

Vincent Barnett, “Stalinist Logic, Excess Morality and the Rational Fool: A response to Davies, Wheatcroft and Harrison”, Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 59, No 3, May 2007, pp 521-527


21 November 2007, Fernando Gómez-Pomar, Department of Law, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Nuno Garoupa, College of Law, University of Illinois 'The Economic Approach to European Consumer Protection Law'

The goal is to provide a different perspective to analyze the role and effects on social welfare of consumer protection legislation, and specially of European consumer protection Law. 

Nuno Garoupa, 'Rationality and the Law: The Judges'


25 October 2007

Aldo Rustichini, Department of Economics, University of Minnesota and Cambridge University, 'Introduction to Neuroeconomics and refer to some of his recent work Dominance and Competition' (.pdf).

On Neuroeconomics: Economics, psychology, and neuroscience are converging today into a single, unified discipline with the ultimate aim of providing a single, general theory of human behavior. This is the emerging field of neuroeconomics in which consilience, the accordance of two or more inductions drawn from different groups of phenomena, seems to be operating. Economists and psychologists are providing rich conceptual tools for understanding and modeling behavior, while neurobiologists provide tools for the study of mechanism. The goal of this discipline is thus to understand the processes that connect sensation and action by revealing the neurobiological mechanisms by which decisions are made (see article in Science, Oct. 2004, v. 306; joint with P.W. Glimcher).

On Dominance and Competition: I propose and test two possible explanations of envy and its opposite, gloating. One explanation views them as a learning process, just as regret and rejoice are in the private domain: envy is the social correspondent of regret. The other explanation traces envy back to the natural tendency of individuals to seek higher positions in the social ranking, that is a dominant position, a tendency with very strong evolutionary motives. We show experimentally that these two functional reasons for envy coexist. Competition is the product of the desire for dominance, rather than the artificial output of a social arrangements.


3 October 2007, 'The Chicken or the Egg? The Origins of Electoral Systems and Political Parties', Josep M. Colomer, Higher Council of Scientific Research and Department of Economics and Business, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.

Political parties and electoral systems have been analyzed in political science both as a cause and as a consequence of each other. A long tradition of empirical studies has focused on the consequences of electoral systems on party systems. The typical assumption is that political parties derive from given elections and electoral systems that can be taken as the independent variable.

However, I show that this relationship can be upsided down by postulating that it is the parties that choose electoral systems and manipulate the rules of elections. In particular, proportional representation rules were introduced after multiple parties had been formed, not the other way around. With this approach it is assumed that it is the political parties that can be taken as given and work as the independent variable to explain the emergence of different electoral rules.

I also try to clarify this discussion by going further back to more remote past periods and specifying the type of assembly and electoral conditions that can be located at the oldest origins of the creation of political parties. Tensions between the opportunities and restrictions imposed by existing electoral rules have led, in general, to the adoption of pluralistic rules able to re-establish the consensual representation of the community.


Page last updated on 26 June 2019

Back to top