EUI Max Weber Programme - Spring 2023
Spring 2023
EUI MWP Newsletter 23

Welcome to the Spring 2023 Issue of the
Max Weber Programme Newsletter

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Aris TrantidisIs economics a reliable source for policy recommendations? The occurrence of economic crises has repeatedly sparked debate on this question. In 2008, during the opening of the New Academic Building at the London School of Economics, Queen Elizabeth asked, ‘If these things were so large, how come everyone missed them?’. An economics professor then responded: ‘At every stage, someone was relying on somebody else, and everyone thought they were doing the right thing’.*

This response hinted at a different approach to economic decision-making, one that diverges from the equilibrium analysis that is prevalent in mainstream economics based on the assumptions of rationality and optimization, often using models of representative agents. In contrast, the alternative perspective portrays economic actors as interacting through networks, with limited information, observing the actions of others in their own environment, trying to comprehend current trends and anticipate future developments. In doing so, they influence each other's decisions in complex and intractable ways.

The complexity of economic behaviour suggests that macroeconomic policy faces an epistemic problem. Policymakers seek out theories and models that claim to have the ability to provide prescriptive and predictive guidance. How much can policymaking rely on scientific knowledge? Is it realistic to try to steer the actions of countless economic actors in a specific direction? In order to meet the political demand for scientific recommendations for large-scale interventions in the economy, macroeconomists develop reductionist theories that, at times, compete to become the dominant policy paradigm, such as Keynesianism, monetarism, modern monetary theory, post-Keynesian approaches, etc. However, despite disappointments from recurrent policy failure and periodic economic instability, the dominant view in macroeconomics is that the economy is a phenomenon that can be analysed and managed through macroeconomic policies informed by that analysis.

In a recent article in Public Finance and Public Choice, Peter Boettke and I have observed that this belief in the ability of economic policy to guide the economy persists despite recurrent policy failures, competing theories, and inconclusive theory revisions. We examine the roots of this belief in the relationship between economics and policymaking, particularly during times of crisis when theories and methods are developed to help policymakers steer the economy in a desired direction.

The prevalent idea is that understanding econometric relationships or knowing how actors will behave in an economic model representative of key aspects of economic activity should provide governments with information on where to intervene and what actions to take in order to exert a good degree of control over the economy.

In reality, human activities and their interconnectedness create a complex economic reality that cannot be captured by models or aggregate data. This inability to accurately predict the consequences of policy interventions has both ontological and epistemological roots. A model cannot accurately represent the diverse actors who learn from their interactions in different ways. Even if a model appears to be supported by empirical evidence at a particular time and place, there is no guarantee that making new predictions based on this model will be accurate. The economy is a complex system whose behaviour in response to a policy intervention can evolve in unexpected and very different ways from what was originally planned or anticipated.

However, policy interventions guided by this type of analysis have an impact on several interdependent decisions in markets and can significantly alter the macro level. Macroeconomic policies tend to trigger diverse and complex micro-adaptations, which over time can have unforeseen and unintended consequences at the macro level. No economic analysis is able to accurately predict the outcomes of such a policy, especially when a governing authority plans to intervene in the economy on a large scale, as is the case with shock-therapy policies such as large programmes of monetary easing or contraction. Even if we acknowledge that government interventions will trigger complex and varied behavioural adaptations that are difficult to predict, the specific effects of policy and the scale of the subsequent consequences are not foreseeable in advance. No model can accurately predict the full range of behavioural changes, the types of adaptations, their timing, or their magnitude.

We argue that reductionist theories and methods can contribute to macroeconomic crises rather than help solve them, by encouraging governments to intervene in the economy in radical ways while ignoring the fact that the complexity of the intervention environment can lead to unintended consequences and surprising side effects.

For example, a fiscal stimulus may boost public construction or investment in sectors that rely on government procurement and become dependent on its continuation. However, a boom may turn into a bust when the source that triggered various processes in the market (e.g., low interest rates) is no longer present or strong enough to sustain perceptions of profitability across the interconnected patterns of investment and consumption. Still, it is uncertain when, if at all, this might occur.

Even after a crisis, a reductionist set of analyses and theories may not provide a complete understanding of why these unintended consequences occurred. There may be conflicting explanations. However, if the undesirable developments were not foreseeable at the time and current theories and models disagree on their explanations afterwards, these developments cannot be anticipated or understood by policymakers either.

It is surprising that the belief that there is a formula for effectively guiding society and the economy in a desired direction has persisted despite the frequent failure of economic policies. These failures cannot be solely attributed to the methodological and epistemological limitations of economics as a discipline. The continued reliance on analytical reductionism is the result of a combination of incentives for social scientists to seek scientific authority and for policymakers to pursue effective policy interventions in an effort to control the complex human environment.

We argue that there is an ‘entangled’ relationship between economics as a science and economic policy leading to a dominant policy-scientific paradigm, which inadequately considers the socializing, informational, creative and entrepreneurial aspects of human action. This approach promotes analysis that simplifies the complexity of the economy, which can have negative consequences as we lack a methodology for accurately depicting complex processes, understanding them, predicting the results of interventions, tracking their impact, and explaining any deviations from the original plan.

Our paper highlights the dangers of relying too heavily on models to predict and control future behaviour in the economy and society. Macroeconomic interventions, which aim to shape the economy and guide the actions of many economic actors, can disrupt complex processes of adaptation and potentially increase instability rather than reduce it. Our paper serves as a cautionary tale against overreliance on these types of interventions.

* Financial Times, ‘Good Question, Ma’am,’ by Alan Beattie, 14 November 2008.


Kim So Yeon‘Making International Law Truly “International”: Reflecting on Colonial Approaches to the China-Vietnam Dispute in the South China Sea and the Tribute System,’ published in the Journal of the History of International Law.

This article adopts a post-colonial perspective on international law. It starts with how the Eurocentric nature of international law persists in territorial disputes in non-European regions. Before non-European regions adopted international law around the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, regional systems governed the regions’ law of territory. The law of territory is international law on the acquisition of territories. However, in developing the law of territory, colonisers used the law to justify legally their acquisitions of non-European regions. Today, international courts and tribunals have approached non-European territorial disputes without the consideration of regional systems in the pre-international law era.

This article argues that international courts and tribunals should approach non-European territorial disputes with special consideration to account for the region’s historical system. The article uses a case study of the China-Vietnam dispute in the South China Sea to advance this argument. In this dispute, the tribute system affected the regional concept of sovereignty and the law of territory. The tribute system dealt with the treaty and diplomatic relations between China and other States and dictated the delimitation of land and sea borders in East Asia. Based on the principles of the tribute system and the historical examples, I argue that the East Asian system does not equate with those employed by Eurocentric international law. If international courts and tribunals do not change their legal approach, this not only distorts the historical realities but also results in unfair dispute settlements.

The article is open access on:


Lachlan McNameeWhy states colonize
‘We are often told, “Colonialism is dead.” Let us not be deceived or even soothed by that. I say to you, colonialism is not yet dead.’  With these words, President Sukarno of Indonesia opened the Asian-African conference in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. The Bandung conference is often fondly remembered today as the moment in the 20th century when non-white peoples around the world joined forces against European colonizers. Bandung, it is often said, heralded the winds of change that swept away most of Europe’s remaining colonies in Africa and Asia. For how, as Sukarno implored his audience, ‘can we say [colonialism] is dead, so long as vast areas of Asia and Africa are unfree?’

The area that Sukarno most desperately wished to liberate from European rule in 1955 was the island of New Guinea, which at the time was divided equally between the Netherlands and Australia. The western half of New Guinea, or West Papua, was claimed by the newly independent Indonesian state. And at Bandung, Sukarno successfully gained unanimous support for Indonesia’s mission to liberate West Papua from the Dutch. Internationally isolated, the Netherlands eventually transferred sovereignty over West Papua to Indonesia in 1963.

If Indonesians expected to be welcomed as liberators in West Papua, however, they were sorely mistaken. Since the 1960s, Indonesia has been embroiled in conflict with indigenous Papuans who have sought to establish their own independent nation-state. With a view to knitting West Papua permanently to the state, Indonesia controversially resettled 300,000 farmers from its core islands to West Papua in the 1980s and 90s. This resettlement program, which has made indigenous Papuans a minority in much of the island, has been widely condemned by activists who note its settler colonial character. On the 60th anniversary of the Bandung conference, a leading West Papuan liberation group sent a statement to all foreign embassies in Jakarta, claiming: ‘It is Indonesia, today, that holds West Papua as a colony.’ West Papuans, it seems, agree with Sukarno: colonialism is not yet dead. 

It is troubling that the Bandung conference was complicit in producing a condition today in West Papua that looks distinctly like the denial of indigenous self-determination—the very condition that Bandung’s participants were committed to eliminating in 1955. But this paradox is far from unique to West Papua. For Indonesia’s colonization of West Papua is a vexing contradiction that we see again and again across the Global South today in areas like Tibet, the Western Sahara, Kashmir, or Kurdistan. To put it somewhat bluntly: why have so many states around the world rhetorically committed to the elimination of colonialism over the 20th century—like Indonesia, China, Iraq, India, or Morocco—readily displaced minority groups and encouraged migrants to settle their lands? 

Why states decolonize
The tensions raised by Indonesia’s colonization of West Papua only deepen once we turn our attention to the eastern half of New Guinea. For if West Papuans were seemingly colonized by a country ideologically committed to decolonization in Indonesia, then Papua New Guineans were decolonized by a country ideologically committed to colonization in Australia. Papua New Guinea was at the vanguard of a White Australian Empire over the twentieth century. Inspired by the United States, Australia’s leaders in the early twentieth century dreamt of realizing their own ‘Pacific Ocean destiny,’ annexing Papua in 1902 and New Guinea in 1918. Indigenous Papuans were regarded as expendable subjects, and Australia planned to colonize the island with whites.

Yet, Australia ultimately did not turn Papua New Guinea white. Instead, when facing demands from Papua New Guineans for statehood in the 1960s, Australia’s leaders began to push for Papua New Guinea’s independence. Papua New Guinea’s decolonization by Australia in 1975 was a one-sided affair. Australia’s Prime Minister at the time, Gough Whitlam, famously stated that ‘Men cannot be forced to rule others. We will not be blackmailed into accepting an unnatural role as rulers’ in Papua New Guinea. With Australia’s leaders determined to decolonize Papua New Guinea in the late 20th century, indigenous leaders there could control little but the timing of their own liberation.

The process by which Papua New Guinea was decolonized by Australia could be written-off as a historical quirk. But the comparison between Papua New Guinea and West Papua is nonetheless important because it reveals the hollowness of the worldview, expressed by Sukarno at Bandung, that divides the world into colonized and colonizer based on whiteness. Clearly, even the most vocal proponents of decolonization like Indonesia can coercively settle the lands of indigenous peoples. And clearly even white settler states like Australia can, under the right circumstances, become vocal proponents of indigenous sovereignty. Comparing West Papua and Papua New Guinea prompts us to ask an unsettling question: why did Indonesia and not Australia colonize New Guinea?

Recovering the logic of settler colonialism
In my book, I answer this question by drawing on migration data from Indonesia, Australia, China, and around the world. I find that all states—regardless of the rhetorical commitments to decolonization or levels of democracy—tend to colonize indigenous people during periods of conflict, when they want to populate a contested area with a stereotypically loyal ethnic group. This strategy was first perfected thousands of years ago. Indeed, the word ‘colonization’ comes from the Latin colonus, or farmer, and was coined to describe the Roman practice of sending farmers to claim newly conquered areas. Colonization still proves a brutally effective tool for state building today. For instance, in the book I show how Indonesia colonized West Papua with settlers in order to prevent its secession and to secure control over its rich natural resources.

So, why did Australia not similarly colonize Papua New Guinea? In a nutshell: Australia was too rich. In the early 20th century, Australia opened up a large amount of free land in Papua New Guinea for Europeans. But few whites settled there and those that did soon left. There were simply better options for Europeans on the Australian mainland.

Indeed, I find Australia and Indonesia both spent the same amount of money colonizing New Guinea dollars over the 20th century—$1.5 billion US dollars. With that money, Indonesia sent 300,000 settlers to West Papua at the cost of $5,000 USD per settler, as the promise of free land in New Guinea was extremely attractive to impoverished Javanese. Australia, on the other hand, lured just 1,500 whites to New Guinea at an exorbitant cost of $1 million USD per settler over the 20th century, as it had to buttress the promise of free land for whites with expensive subsidies. Faced with this failure and the prohibitive cost of colonization, Australia quickly pivoted towards the less pricey alternative of simply abandoning the island to indigenous Papuans in the 1970s.

In short: Papua New Guinea’s decolonization was a direct response to the failure of white colonization. White settler states like Australia and the United States lost the power to colonize as they industrialized over the 19th century and as their cities became magnets for migration. Poor countries like Indonesia, Morocco, or China, however, still possessed the power to colonize over the 20th century—much to the lament of dispossessed peoples across the Global South today.

Settling for Less
By placing colonial projects in Western and non-Western states under the same theoretical framework, my book seeks to overturn our understanding of colonization and prompt us to be more consistent in our political activism. Cases of top-down decolonization like Papua New Guinea, for instance, undermine Patrick Wolfe’s famous claim that white settler states like Australia are driven by a relentless ‘logic of elimination’ towards indigenous peoples. These cases also undermine James Scott’s claim that modernization and rising state strength spells the end of indigenous autonomy, as states are ostensibly able to send settlers into ever more remote areas.

My book, in fact, shows precisely the opposite dynamic. By eliminating settlers as a political force, economic modernization is a powerful force for indigenous self-determination. For if we are to understand why—exactly contrary to the expectations of Bandung’s participants in 1955—Indonesia colonized West Papua and Australia decolonized Papua New Guinea, then we must understand why Indonesians and not Australians were willing to emigrate to New Guinea for free land. By constraining the practice of colonization, economic development proved the precondition for decolonization both in New Guinea and elsewhere in the world.

This is an excerpt from Settling for Less: Why States Colonize and Why They Stop by Lachlan McNamee, which was published by Princeton University Press in January 2023. Lachlan was a Max Weber Fellow between 2019-20 and is currently an Assistant Professor at UCLA and a Lecturer at Monash University.


Eva TèneGender gaps in socioeconomic status vary significantly across societies. The larger differences between men and women are observed in developing countries where women tend to be less empowered and less educated. Women are still widely discriminated against within the social sphere worldwide. They continue to spend more time in unpaid domestic work than men, ranging from twice as much in Europe to four times more in Sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, their legal rights to inheritance are denied in more than half of countries (OECD, 2019).

This paper focuses on kinship systems, a specific type of informal institution which organizes human lives in societies. Kinship systems define how lineage and inheritance are traced, the distribution of resources, and the obligations among family members. Most historical kinship systems are gender-biased: inheritance of property, name, or privileges are traced either along the maternal line (matrilineal kinship systems) or the paternal line (patrilineal kinship systems).

Historically, there exist different types of inheritance systems depending on the type of descent: bilineal descent systems, in which the descent is inherited equally through both male and female ancestors, and unilineal descent systems, in which kin is defined using only one of the two parents. In matrilineal kinship systems, inheritance and group affiliation are exclusively traced through the female line, as opposed to patrilineal kinship systems, in which descent belongs to a father’s kinship group and inheritance can only be passed through the male line.

As social scientists, we know little about the effective transmission of wealth of preindustrial societies. The main patterns of those unwritten social rules can be drawn from anthropological theories based on primary observations. Matrilineal and patrilineal kinship groups can be described according to the following patterns. First, kinship systems define elements of lineage, that is, which kin, family or tribe an individual is affiliated with. According to Holden et al. (2003) ‘in matrilineal societies, relatedness through females is treated as culturally more significant than relatedness through males’. Second, women would be more likely to inherit wealth in matrilineal systems1 compared to patrilineal systems (Holden et al., 2003). Third, matrilineality is also bundled with another informal institution, called matrilocality, which consists in transferring the marital residence to the wife’s family. We know from Murdock (1949) that matrilineality is ‘normally associated with matrilocal residence’: over the 98 patrilocal societies under study, 89% (6%) are patrilineal (matrilineal), while over the 20 matrilocal societies under study, 65% (25%) are matrilineal (patrilineal). Matrilocality is considered as a corollary of matrilineality (Mattison, 2011). According to anthropological data on preindustrial ethnic groups, matrilineal societies were less common than patrilineal ones: 46% were patrilineal while only 14% were matrilineal. Albeit matrilineal societies can be found around the world, they are mostly concentrated along the matrilineal belt in Central Africa: from current Gabon to Mozambique.

This paper explores the geoclimatic origins and the long-term impact of matrilineal kinship systems, where inheritance is along the maternal line, in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although the literature has examined the effect of matrilineality on some current economic outcomes such as women’s willingness to compete, women’s political participation, and spousal cooperation, little is still understood regarding their historical roots and the status of women within those societies.

Matrilineal societies share a sizeable number of characteristics. They might favour women’s empowerment in different respects. First, this system allows women to hold more resources compared to other inheritance systems, potentially increasing women’s bargaining power within the household. Second, women from matrilineal societies might have a higher status for structural reasons based on other cultural norms related to matrilineality such as matrilocality, the practice of living close to the wife’s relatives. Finally, matrilineal women might be more valued for intrinsic reasons, resulting from the structural factors proper to those societies like matrilocality (Hrdy, 2011; Lowes, 2018).

Map: Pre-industrial Matrilineal and Patrilineal Ethnic-Group Territories (1800-1950)

According to evolutionary anthropologists, the most important potential origin of matrilineal societies is rooted in climatic origins: they explain matrilineality as the result of an evolutionary process in response to certain types of social and ecological environments. This system can be considered as a daughter-biased investment that would be more advantageous in environments where resources benefit more daughters relative to sons (Holden et al., 2003). Matrilineality would be more beneficial with extensive hoe agriculture, allowing women to participate more in agricultural tasks such as planting and harvesting, increasing their production and their landed property compared to men who are assigned to minor tasks like clearing and preparing land (Aberle, 1961; Ember, 1983). In addition, it is rarely found in association with large domesticated animals which are resources mainly used by men (such as bride price paid in cows) and which can threaten the transmission of land to daughters (Aberle, 1961; Holden and Mace, 2003).

The empirical analysis confirms with a causal interpretation the two different anthropological theories on the ecological origins of matrilineality. I find that areas that are suitable to extensive agriculture but not suitable to animal husbandry explains part of the occurrence of ancestral kinship societies in Sub-Saharan Africa. As an external validity test, I perform a similar analysis with Asian and Australian ethnic groups and find similar results.

Exploring the impact of being of matrilineal origin on women’s socioeconomic status today, my findings suggest that although matrilineal women are more empowered within the traditional sphere (household outcomes), they tend to have a lower status within the modern sphere (education and labour market outcomes). They hold more immovable assets: they are 4.6 (4.2) percentage points more likely to own land (house) alone. Importantly, matrilineal women are on average 9 percentage points more likely to own land/house relative to men. In addition, matrilineal-origin women are less likely to be assigned to unpaid domestic work and they are more likely to contribute the most to household expenditures (relative to their partner) compared with patrilineal women. Those results corroborate the idea that women have a higher family status and hold more assets in matrilineal societies as opposed to patrilineal ones today. However, matrilineal women have a lower status within the modern sphere: they have on average 0.9 fewer years of education relative to their patrilineal counterparts and are less likely to work in the tertiary sector.

Overall, matrilineal-origin parents tend to invest in physical capital (landed property) rather than human capital (education) for their daughters. One of the potential explanatory mechanisms underlying those results is that matrilineal societies value more immovable assets rather than movable assets. In fact, those societies were more oriented towards farm work historically, while patrilineal societies lived in areas where large domestic animals (movable assets) were more present. Matrilocality (transfer of the marital residence among the wife’s kin) is also another feature of matrilineality which has several implications: it allows matrilineal women to inherit lands and to benefit from kin support (living close to their family after marriage, and not leaving their kin group). My findings show that in most matrilineal systems, after marriage, the husband is more likely to move and come to live next to the bride’s family and offers his services, known as the practice of bride service, as opposed to the practice of bride price (the husband gives a certain amount of wealth, in general cattle, in exchange for the bride, to the bride’s family) more likely to be practiced by patrilineal societies. Another rationale behind the human versus physical capital trade-off in parental investment would be that, since matrilineal women are more likely to inherit immovable properties, they would have less need to pursue schooling in order to find a husband in the marriage market, as they already hold assets. Patrilineal-origin women, on the contrary, historically practiced bride price and as it has been proven that this practice increases female education in Indonesia and Zambia (Ashraf et al., 2019), patrilineal families invest more in their daughters’ education to get a higher bride price in return. My results show that this practice is favoured by the presence of livestock, historically present on patrilineal territories. Matrilineal households today are less likely to own livestock, more likely to own land and to live in a rural area, and poorer compared with patrilineal ones. Hence, economic preferences towards education decisions diverge in matrilineal and patrilineal societies, and it is very likely that those preferences are rooted in the agricultural resources available in the areas where those societies have lived historically, as shown in this paper.

Aberle, D. F. (1961). Matrilineal descent in cross-cultural perspective. Matrilineal kinship, 655–727.
Ashraf, Nava, et al. "Bride price and female education." Journal of Political Economy 128.2 (2020): 591-641.
Ember, C. R. (1983). The relative decline in women’s contribution to agriculture with intensification. American Anthropologist 85(2), 285–304.
Holden, C. J., R. Sear, and R. Mace (2003). Matriliny as daughter-biased investment. Evolution and human behavior 24(2), 99–112.
Holden, C. J. and R. Mace (2003). Spread of cattle led to the loss of matrilineal descent in Africa: a coevolutionary analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences 270(1532), 2425–2433.
Hrdy, S. B. (2011). Mothers and Others. Harvard University Press.
Lowes, S. (2018). Matrilineal kinship and gender differences in competition. Technical report, Working paper, Harvard University.
Mattison, S. M. (2011). Evolutionary contributions to solving the “matrilineal puzzle". Human Nature 22(1-2), 64.
Murdock, G. P. (1949). Social Structure. The Macmillan Company.
OECD (2019). OECD SIGI Index report: Transforming challenges into opportunities.



Facts and FiguresFor the Fellowships of 2023-2024, the Max Weber Programme received 811 applications from 85 different countries. This is the first time we have received applications also for the School of Transnational Governance.
This is a higher number of applications than the previous year (780), the global appeal of the Programme continued, and applications came in from around the world (Figure 1).

Applications by world region in 2022 and 2023 (Figure 1)

The European region remains by a long shot the strongest contributor of applications (377), followed by Asia (195) and North America (94).
Italy takes the biggest share of applications (101) (Figure 2), followed by the United States (73), Brazil (51), Germany and India (49 and 44, respectively).

Applications in 2022 by country of origin (top 20 countries) (Figure 2)

The gender ratio among applicants is slightly in favour of males (57%).
The gender distribution by department instead reveals a degree of disparity by discipline (Figure 3).
Applications by women to the department of Economics are less than half (29%). The Department of History and Civilisation, the School of Transnational Governance, the Department of Political and Social Sciences, and the Robert Schuman Centre also show a gender gap in favour of men, while the Department of Law seems to appeal more to women (65%) than men (35%).

Gender ratio of applicants by department (Figure 3)

The Department of History and Civilisation received the largest share of applications (259), followed by the Department of Political and Social Sciences with 240 applicants, LAW (92), STG (87), ECO (86) and the Robert Schuman Centre (47) (Figure 4).

Applications by department (Figure 4)


A new year and a new cohort of MW Fellows will be off on a teaching mission in Spring 2023.

In this academic year 1/4 of the Fellows have chosen to participate in the Max Weber Teaching Module and obtain the Teaching Certificate,  to further enrich their academic profiles. Like in previous years, the Max Weber Teaching Module will culminate in a Teaching Practice abroad in Spring 2023.

The involved host universities are Masaryk University – Brno, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) – Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) – Madrid, Erasmus University Rotterdam – Rotterdam, Maastricht University – Maastricht, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) – Lugano.

Finally, one Fellow has also been selected to teach at the College of Europe (Natolin).

Good luck to all the Fellows participating in this teaching experience.


The Max Weber Programme Annual Report 2021-2022Despite being another Academic Year overshadowed by Covid-19, the Programme activities were in general very well received, as is shown in the survey circulated among the Fellows in June. Not only have the skills training and the teaching module received the highest praises, just like in the past. This year, Fellows also appreciated the multidisciplinary activities of the Programme, and were in general positive about the Max Weber book roundtable, and the Max Weber lectures over the year.

Check how it went in the just-published Annual Report 2021-2022.


Upcoming Events

09 January 2023 – postponed to 19 April 2023
Ruth Rubio Marín – University of Sevilla and EUI
Global Gender Constitutionalism and Women´s Citizenship

1 February 2023
David Grusky – Stanford University
Should Scholars Own Data?

1 March 2023
John Braithwaite –  Australian National University
Crime-War as a Cascade Phenomenon

12 April 2023
Jack Snyder – Columbia University
Human rights for pragmatists: social power in modern times

10 May 2023
Rosi Braidotti – Utrecht University
Title to be announced

7 June 2023
To be announced


Multidisciplinary Research Workshop 2023

International Organizations: Cutting Across the Disciplinary Boundaries of History, Law, and Politics (Lunch Talk Series)
Organisers: Emma Kluge (HEC), Michele Krech (LAW),  and Gabriele Wadlig (LAW)
Date: 20 March 2023, 21 April 2023, 28 April 2023 (tbc), 12 May 2023, 19 May 2023, 9 June 2023 (tbc)

Travelling norms, practices and institutions in a transnational context
Organisers: Sapna Reheem Shaila (LAW), Emma Kluge (HEC), Michele Krech (LAW), Deirdre Moore (HEC), Arthur Duhé (RSC), Paulina Dominik (HEC), Guillaume Lancereau (HEC), Kathleen McCrudden-Illert (HEC), Gabriele Wadlig (LAW) and Tomasso Stefini (HEC)
Date: 3 April 2023

The lasting impact of current EU crisis responses: towards sustainable social and economic governance in the EU?
Organisers: Matilde Ceron (RSC), Sonali Chowdhry (RSC), Mario Munta (RSC) and Anna Peychev (LAW)
Date: 20-21 April  2023

The Political Economy of Polarization and Policymaking
Organisers: Daniel Goldstein (SPS) and Parth Parihar (ECO)
Date: 15-16 May 2023

Defying the Orthodoxy on Global Capitalism: Exploring the Margins of the Newly Found Consensus
Organisers: Tomás Bartoletti (HEC), Michele Krech (LAW), Deirdre Moore (HEC), Gabriele Wadlig (LAW)
Date: 26 May 2023

From Global to Local and back. Untangling ‘Glocal Governance’
Organisers: Cristiana Lauri (LAW) and Miha Marcenko (LAW), Télio Cravo (HEC), Tatyana Bajenova (RSC)
Date: tbc

Joint Book Workshop with a public roundtable
Organisers: Victoria Finn (RSC) and Samuel Ritholtz (SPS)
Date: 1-2 June 2023

Bugpocolypse Now! Insects, Environmental Sustainability, Trade and Economics: Predictability between Nature and Economics, Approaches to Knowledge Management and Decision Making
Organisers: Tomás Bartoletti (HEC), Sonali Chowdhry (RSC), Paulina Dominik (HEC), Angélica Márquez-Osuna (History of Science, Harvard University), Deirdre Moore (HEC) and Weiwei Zhang (ECO)
Date: 5-6 June 2023

Shadows of Knowledge: Capitalism and the Creation of Ignorance
Organisers: Tomás Bartoletti (HEC), Valentin Thomas (LAW), Deirdre Moore (HEC)
Date: 9 June 2023


MaxWeber June Conference

14-16 June 2023

17th June Conference The Individual and the Collective: Concepts, Methods and Approaches

Organising Committee:
Matilde Ceron (RSC), Ipek Çineli (SPS), Anastazja Grudnicka (HEC), Liane Huttner (LAW)

The interplay between the individual and the collective sits at the centre of foundational studies of the Social Sciences and Humanities. Social identity, collective rights, the concept of self, and individual and collective interests are all essential topics in law, history, the social and political sciences, and economics. The relationship between the individual and the collective is not only an important subject of research in its own right, but it also offers an important conceptual and methodological lens through which we can examine the past and present, and with which we can think about the future. This year, the MWP June Conference wishes to investigate these themes with international and interdisciplinary approaches, allowing scholars to reflect on their research topics and methodologies.
Can we use the same concepts when we talk about individual and collective rights or legal personhood? Is the divide between private and public law a divide between individual and collective? How can histories of individuals be used to explain wider historical processes? Can the tensions between individual and collective be seen as a force for change? How does collective action reinforce or deter individual action? How does collective identity shape individual preferences along these categories? These are among the questions that will be asked and answered during this year's conference.
We invite scholars from Humanities, Political and Social Sciences, Law, and Economics, as well as policymakers to reflect and exchange new ideas on this classic topic. We welcome papers on topics including:

  • Individual and Collective Rights
  • Inequality, diversity, inclusion
  • Identities including race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class
  • Distinctions between Private and Public Law
  • Democracy and Institutions
  • Legal personhood
  • Political polarization, conflict, transformations
  • Welfare Regimes
  • Public goods
  • Private and public property
  • Research ethics, data security and privacy
  • Biography, microhistory, and oral history as methods of studying society
  • Concepts of the self


Past Events

12 January 2022

Title: Im/possible Careers and Scholarly Households. Gendered Scholarly Personae around 1900

Chair: Miloš Vojinović

Watch the Lecture on YouTube

Watch the interview by MW Fellows Kathleen McCrudden Illert (HEC) and Miloš Vojinović (HEC)


2 March 2022

Title: Social Networks, Social Capital and Institutional Enforcement Mechanisms in the Early Modern Iberian Empires. A Proposal for Imperial History

Chair: Andrés Vicent Fanconi

Watch the interview by MW Fellows Andrés Vicent Fanconi (HEC) and Tommaso Stefini (HEC).


11 May 2022

Title: Mobile Internet and Confidence in Government

Chair: Jessica Di Cocco


1 June 2022

Title: Freedom at the End of History

Chair: Benjamin Mueser


12 January 2022

Title: The Profit Paradox

Chair: Umberto Muratori

Watch the lecture and the interview by MW Fellows Friso Bostoen (LAW) and Sonali Chowdhry (RSC) on YouTube.


02 November 2022

Title: Amazonian Alchemy

Chair: Tomás Bartoletti

Watch the Lecture on YouTube

Watch the interview by MW Fellows Tomás Bartoletti (HEC) and Giada Giacomini (LAW) on YouTube.


14 December 2022

Title: Revisiting the Origins of Far Right Support through the Prism of People's Interactions with the State

Chair: Matilde Ceron

Watch the lecture and the interview by MW Fellows Matilde Ceron (RSC) and Ipek Çineli (SPS) on YouTube


16 May 2022, Emeroteca (Badia Fiesolana) and Online (Zoom)

Title: The ‘Peripheries’ of Gender and Sexuality: Beyond European Borders

Organisers: Anna Dobrowolska (MWF-HEC), Gözde Kılıç (MWF-HEC), Revital Madar (MWF-LAW), Zala Pavšič (MWF-HEC) and Edit Frenyo (MWF-LAW).

Co-organized with the Queer and Feminist Studies Interdisciplinary Working Group


19 May 2022 and 20 May 2022, Emeroteca (Badia Fiesolana) and Online (Zoom)

Title: The Legitimacy and Trust Challenges of Digital Governance

Organisers: Matthew Dylag (MWF-LAW), Daniëlle Flonk (MWF-SPS), Cristiana Lauri (MWF-LAW), Morshed Mannan (MWF-RSC)


23-24 May 2022, Emeroteca (Badia Fiesolana)

Title: Causality Across the Social Sciences

Organisers: Victoria Donnaloja (MWF RSC), Eroll Kuhn (MWF SPS), Eva Tene (MWF ECO), Giacomo Vagni (MWF SPS), Francesca Zanasi (MWF SPS) and Peter Fallesen (SPS professor)


25-26 May 2022, Emeroteca (Badia Fiesolana)

Title: Socialist Futures

Organisers: Catherine Lefèvre (MWF HEC), Marius Ostrowski (MWF RSC), Troy Vettese (MWF RSC), Morshed Mannan (MWF RSC), Giacomo Vagni (MWF SPS), Anna Dobrowolska (MWF HEC)


30 May 2022, Sala degli Stemmi (Villa Salviati) and Online (Zoom)

Title: Sovereign Debt in an Unsovereign World. Historical and Legal Reflections on Sustainable Sovereign Debt.

Organisers: Nikolai Badenhoop (MWP – LAW), Catherine Lefèvre (MWP – HEC), Maria Laura Marceddu (MWP – LAW) Andrés María Vicent Fanconi (MWP – HEC)


6 June 2022, Emeroteca (Badia Fiesolana)

Title: Europe with Adjectives. Reflections upon the Idea of Periphery.

Organisers: Organisers: Barry Colfer (MWP – SPS), Marta Migliorati (MWP – SPS), Andrés María Vicent Fanconi (MWP – HEC), Miloš Vojinović (MWP – HEC), Jared Warren (MWP – HEC)


8 June 2022, Emeroteca (Badia Fiesolana) and Online (Zoom)

Title: Law, Sovereignty and Legitimate Violence

Organisers: Dilek Kurban (MWF-LAW), Revital Madar (MWF-LAW)


16 May 2022, Emeroteca (Badia Fiesolana) and Online (Zoom)

Title: Voters’ Preferences and Parties’ Performance in Politics Workshop

Organisers: Guadalupe Correa-Lopera (MWF-ECO), Arthur Dolgopolov (MWF-ECO), Natalia Garbiras-Díaz (MWF-SPS)


13-14 October 2022, Emeroteca (Badia Fiesolana)

Title: Global and Planetary Histories: Materialisms Old and New, Deep Time, and Multi-Species Relationships

Organisers: Tomás Bartoletti (MWF HEC), Maria Gago (EUI/Institute of Contemporary History, NOVA University of Lisbon), Troy Vettese (MWF RSC)

Institutional support: Max Weber Programme, Department of History, Robert Schumann Centre for Advanced Studies


20 October 2022, Refectory (Badia Fiesolana) and Online (Zoom)

Title: The Politics of Expertise: Past, Present, Future

Organisers: Takuya Onoda (EUI/Sciences Po), Maria Gago (EUI/Institute of Contemporary History, NOVA University of Lisbon), Miloš Vojinović (EUI), Tatyana Bajenova (EUI), Thomas Lépinay (EUI/Université de Strasbourg), Gözde Kılıç (EUI), Tomás Bartoletti (EUI) and Duygu Yıldırım (EUI/University of Tennessee Knoxville)

Co-organised with “Crisis of Expert Knowledge and Authority” EUI Interdisciplinary Research Cluster


16 February 2022

Title: Six Faces of Globalization

Organisers: Nicolas Lamp (Queen's University), Anthea Roberts (Australian National University)

An essential guide to the intractable public debates about the virtues and vices of economic globalization, cutting through the complexity to reveal the fault lines that divide us and the points of agreement that might bring us together.


In line with the EUI Open Access Policy, Cadmus also invites you to notify of any academic publication or dataset that you have published during or after your time at the MWP of the EUI. If your research output touches upon the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), Ukraine or the Russian invasion of Ukraine, please specify this in your email, so that it will be included in the related special collections. If the publication is based on research that you carried out at the EUI, it is eligible for inclusion in Cadmus, EUI Research Repository. Having your work in Cadmus increases the visibility of your research because Cadmus is indexed in Google Scholar, harvestable by other international portals (including Worldcat and EBSCO) and interoperable with ORCID.

  • Per Fredrik Andersson (SPS 2017-2019) Moved to the Department of Political Sciences, at Stockholm University
  • Jean Beaman (SPS 2012-2013) Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University 2022-2023.
  • Paul Dermine (LAW 2020-2021) Appointed professor to the Center of European Law at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Martin Dumav (ECO 2013-1015) Promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at the Department of Economics at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
  • Michael A. Kozakowski (HEC 2014-2015) Appointed Director of the Yehuda Elkana Center for Teaching, Learning, and Higher Education Research at Central European University.
  • Seetha Menon (ECO 2016-2018) Promoted to Associate Professor at Department of Economics, University of Southern Denmark from 1 September 2022.
  • Michal Onderco (SPS 2014-2015) Promoted to Full Professor of International Relations at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  • Tomás Bartoletti (HEC 2021-2023) welcomed a son.
  • Jessica Di Cocco (SPS 2021-2023) welcomed a son, Lorenzo, born on the 8th of July 2022 in Florence.
  • Giuseppe Martinico (LAW 2010-2011) 17 September 2022 marriage with Lelia.

The MWP Newsletter is a platform for current and former Fellows to share their news and short articles about their academic experience. Please send them to