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Multidisciplinary Research Workshops 2011-2012 - Abstracts


Legislative Behaviour in the EU Parliament

Gerard Roland

30 May 2012, 11.15-12.45, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

With Gerard Roland, University of California, Berkely, Visiting Professor, EUI

Do procedural rules influence the behavior of legislators in the European Parliament? Do they affect voting outcomes? How does the observability (roll call votes) of the legislators' behavior affects party discipline? And accountability?

In this workshop, Professor Gerard Roland investigates some of these questions, and explores whether there is a selection bias in the Roll Call votes in the European Parliament. Katrin Huber, a former European Parliament insider, will discuss Professor Roland's paper from a practitioner’s viewpoint, and Pedro Riera (reseacher SPS) will comment on the paper's analysisStatistical analysis of roll call votes has been increasingly used to analyze voting behavior in democratic legislatures.

Programme (pdf)

Organizers: Agustin Casas, Justin Valasek, and Tomás Rodriguez Barraquer, Max Weber Fellows

"The Evolution of Social Norms"

Ken Binmore

23 May 2012, 10.00-12.15, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

with Ken Binmore, ESRC Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution, University College London, and Giulia Andrighetto, CNR, Rome

How are humans able to cooperate and how has their ability to do so evolved over time?

There is a growing inter-disciplinary literature that attempts to understand the foundations of human cooperation and the ways in which these have been shaped by evolutionary processes. 

This workshop seeks to provide an introduction to this rich field of inter-disciplinary research by   relying on lectures by two scholars that approach it from quite different angles.   

Giulia Andrighetto is a philosopher working at the Institute of Cognitive Science and Technologies at the Italian National Research Council in Rome and was a Max Weber Fellow in 2010-2011. She specializes in the philosophy of mind, social and cognitive psychology and cultural evolution.   Using agent based social simulations she has concentrated her research efforts on understanding how social norms and conventions work and on how they emerge. She will be talking to us on how actually talking about norms may lead us to be more compliant. 

Kenneth Binmore Professor emeritus of the University of London is a mathematician and economist specialized in game theory and in experimental economics. Throughout his very prolific career Binmore has made seminal contributions to a variety of areas, including auction theory (he designed the UK' s 3G telecommunications auctions), bargaining theory and political and moral philosophy. He is one of the founding members of the University College based interdisciplinary center ELSE (Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution). He will talk to us about the evolution of fairness norms. 

Programme (pdf)

Two papers serve as background reading - to receive them please contact [email protected].

Organizers: ECO Academic Practice Group, Tomás Rodriguez Barraquer, Agustin Casas, Justin Valasek, Yane Svetiev, Max Weber Fellows

“Changing Industrial Relations: Societal Responses to Market Expansion at Multiple Levels?”

Industrial Relations

16 May 2012, 11.00-13.00, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

Over recent decades, labour markets and their regulatory institutions in Europe have undergone profound changes.

This multidisciplinary workshop addresses the broad question of the relationship between the economy and society by looking at collective regulation of labour markets.

As we observe an intensification of political struggles accompanying the commodification and de-commodification of labour at various societal levels – supranational, transnational, national, and sectoral – the question of how society and trade unions respond to markets in terms of politics, legislation, and more or less formalized types of action becomes even more relevant.

The workshop invites scholars from the fields of law, political science, sociology, economics and history to discuss dynamic processes in industrial relations, which requires an analysis of the interrelations between different levels of regulation.

For instance, while it has been suggested that EU-level legislation poses a challenge to labour law and industrial relations at the national level, European integration has also been viewed as a potential source of de-commodification.

At the transnational level, unions and multinational companies can be identified as agents struggling for influence on the shaping of labour relations between different regulatory regimes and between the company and the broader sector.

In this context, transnational framework agreements not only solve local conflicts, but also have the potential to contribute to the development of international industrial relations at the company and sectoral levels

Programme and Speakers

Organizers: Birgit Apitzsch and Daniela Comande, Max Weber Fellows  

"Strategies of Economic Aid and Development in the Arab World, from the Cold War to the Present"

14 May 2012, 09.00-18.00, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

Programme (pdf):

During the second half of the 20th century, economic aid and cooperation to development have been crucial in shaping international politics in the Arab countries of the Mediterranean.

The Cold War was particularly important in promoting economic aid as a political and strategic tool to define relations between donor and recipient countries. It was not only used by the two superpowers and by European nations to define their position in the Arab world, but became a tool for North African and Middle-Eastern countries to pursue their own economic and political interests.

Since the end of the Cold War, international economic aid has continued to play an important role in shaping relations between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The Conference of Madrid, the Barcelona Process as well as the European Neighborhood Policy and Union for the Mediterranean heavily banked on “aid to development” to define relations between the shores of the Mediterranean basin.

Yet, the MENA region has experienced increased political instability, economic ups and downs and vast unemployment, thus questioning the actual impact of economic and development aid to the region.

The recent development of the “Arab Spring” has shown both the inadequacy and the limits of international aid to development.

Concerns over migration issues, economic investments, international competition from Eastern Asia, and the political orientations of the new regimes have all played an important role in defining international economic aid.

This conference will examine the major changes that have occurred over the last sixty years in the economic development of North African and Middle Eastern countries, and the different impact and meanings assigned to international economic aid during and after the Cold War, in order to understand the long-term rationales of the policies adopted by Western states and by recipient countries.


Elisabetta Bini, Max Weber Fellow, HEC, Virginie Collombier, Max Weber Fellow, SPS, Federico Romero, HEC, EUI, and Massimiliano Trentin, University of Padua

"History on Trial: Bringing Former Nazis to Court in the Twenty First Century"

Goering during the Nuremberg Trials, photo by Khaldei7 May 2012, 09.30-17.00, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

In May 2011 a German court in Munich convicted the In May 2011 a German court in Munich convicted the retired American autoworker John Demjanjuk, aged 91, of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for serving as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during 1942-1943.

It was the first time prosecutors were able to convict someone in a Holocaust-related case without direct evidence that the accused participated in a specific killing.

Based on this precedent, German prosecutors announced in early October 2011 that they had reopened hundreds of - until then - dormant investigations of former Nazi death camp guards (together with cases for other crimes), which may have been committed during the period of the Third Reich.

However, there is a need to consider whether a criminal prosecution of the former Nazis is the most appropriate way to deal with the past atrocities.

The colloquium aims at bringing together the issue of time, collective memory, criminal law and civil restitution proceedings in order to answer this question to the fullest.

Programme (pdf)


Leora Bilsky, Tel Aviv University

Richard Golsan, Texas A&M University

Devin Pendas, Boston College

Giorgio Sacerdoti, Unviersita' Bocconi

Organizers: Daniel Lee, Max Weber Fellow and Marina Aksenova, Researcher, LAW Department

"Rights, Regulation and Governance: The Path to Development?"

Rights, Regulation and Governance: the Path to Development4 April 2012, 11.00-13.00, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

Should, can and do rights, regulation and governance serve development goals?

What contribution should, can and do ‘soft’ or informal modes of norm creation and enforcement in the form of governance make to the attainment of development goals?

What implications does the governance approach have for the protection of fundamental rights as opposed to formalized regimes of strict rules, courts and judges?

What role does the flexibility and problem-solving focus of the governance approach play in dealing with the constant conflicts that arise between rights and the resulting need to balance and adjust rights?

In the light of these questions, this workshop addresses in the context of the pursuit of development goals in both industrialised and developing states the concepts and relationships of rights, regulation and governance.

In particular, the workshop will focus on the importance of rights, regulation and governance in providing the conditions for development, and how rights can both advance and hinder development.

The presentations will be followed by general and open discussions.

Programme (pdf)

Organizers: Andrea Wechsler and Daniela Comande, Max Weber Fellows

Please register with [email protected]

"Unveiling Colonialism in the Republic"

UnveilingColonialism14 March 2012, 09.00-15.00, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

In France, the controversy surrounding the veil and the full veil is now entering its third decade. After Belgium, France became the second country to ban the wearing of the burqa in public spaces.

It is likely that this measure, which came into effect in August 2011, will be contested in European-level courts in the coming months and years. Other European countries such as The Netherlands and Germany are currently discussing, or have considered implementing, similar measures in the past.

The goal of this workshop is to examine the contemporary controversy around the veil from a historically-minded perspective. We think the disciplines of the Max Weber Programme provide a privileged lens through which to tackle a complex issue that brings together questions of religion, racial difference, partisan politics and immigration, allowing us to examine the intersection between historical legacies and the current controversy.

Thus the workshop will approach and illuminate the tensions and blindspots currently present in public discourse about the conflict between Republican values and Muslim religiosity.

While this debate partly reflects conflicts over the "nation’s civil religion” and disagreement over collective values, it also reflects a history of colonialism that still resonates in the experience of post-WWII immigration, so far unacknowledged in discourses on secularism.

Our interest is to probe into the capacity of the discourses of Republicanism - as currently deployed - to serve as an ideology of inclusion.  

Please register with [email protected]  

Programme (pdf)


Mayanthi Fernando, University of California, Santa Cruz

Lela Hadj-Abdou, SPS, EUI

Daniel Lee, Max Weber Fellow, HEC

Eléonore Lepinard, Universit'de Montréal & RSCAS

Mathias Moschel, University Paris Ouest nantere La Défense

Nadia Marzouki, Jean Monnet Fellow, SPS, EUI

Carole Reynaud-Paligot, Centre d'histoire du XIXe siecle Paris 1-Paris 4

Anne Simonin, CNRS

Inés Valdez, Max Weber Fellow, SPS


Daniel Lee and Inés Valdez, Max Weber Fellows

"2011, a year of Euro Crisis in Perspective"

14 december 2011, 10.30-13.00, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

The euro-zone’s financial crisis dominated the headlines in 2011.

Initially a sovereign-debt crisis limited to certain euro-zone countries with growing budget deficits and high levels of sovereign debt, it gradually evolved into a general crisis of confidence in the entire euro-zone.

Euro-zone leaders are presently grappling with solutions to restore confidence in order to prevent the collapse of the European Monetary Union, but the possible solutions, from the European Financial Stability Facility to creating Euro-Bonds and a fiscal union are highly contentious.

Will the euro and Europe’s monetary union survive? Following six presentations from economists and historians, we will try to tackle this question during an open discussion.

Please register with [email protected]



Josep Borrell, President of the European University Institute 

Charles Wyplosz, the Graduate Institute, Geneva

Youssef Cassis, HEC Department and Robert Schuman Center, EUI

Nathan Marcus, Max Weber Fellow, EUI

Ramon Marimon, Director Max Weber Programme, EUI

Organizers: Ramon Marimon, Director Max Weber Programme, EUI, and Nathan Marcus, Max Weber Fellow, EUI

"Protecting Intellectual Property Rights or Creativity?"

9 November 2011, 12.00-14.00, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

with David Levine, ECO Department, EUI

"Intellectual property rights: what are they good for? Absolutely nothing?"

In a panel discussion with Professor David Levine, co-author of the influential book "Against Intellectual Monopoly" (Cambridge, 2008), this workshop will address the problems of today's intellectual property rights regime and what its future may hold. The discussion, modelled as a Parliamentary Select Committee hearing, is also part of the EUI's Global Governance Programme. Panel members from across the Max Weber Programme's four disciplines will question Professor Levine's justifications for reform. Particular attention will be given to the role of intellectual property in today's digital age.

Organizers: Chris Colvin and Andrea Wechsler, Max Weber Fellows

"In the Aftermath of the Arab Spring"

12 October 2011, 11.00-12.45, Villa La Fonte, Conference Room

The workshop will consist in a series of short presentations:

  • Daniel Ritter, “The Divergent Paths of the Arab Spring: Nonviolent Revolutions or Civil War(s)?" 
  • Virginie Collombier, “After the revolution, how to build a new political order?” 
  • Georges Fahmi: “Religious actors and democratic transition in Egypt” 
  • Tina Freyburg: “An evaluation of the EU democratization support in the Arab world” 
  • Delphine Perrin: “The multifaceted impact of Arab Chaos on Migration routes and policies: current and expected shifts" 
  • Prof. Olivier Roy: Concluding remarks 

The presentations will be followed by a general discussion animated by Prof. Roy and Virginie Collombier.

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