"The Swedish Model at the Crossroads?" was the question addressed by international scholars and MPIfG researchers who met for a conference in Cologne in July 2014. Reflecting on current developments, they discussed whether Sweden can still be considered a model universal welfare state and what direction the "Swedish model" might take in the future. While everyone present agreed that there has been substantial institutional transformation in Sweden, they disagreed about its implications. Philip Mehrtens
organized the conference.
In July 2014, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation awarded its second prize to Daniel Seikel
for his study of how the European Commission enforces supranational competition law ("Wie die Europäische Kommission supranationales Recht durchsetzt: Der Konflikt um die Liberalisierung des öffentlich-rechtlichen Bankenwesens in Deutschland," Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 54/2). Every year, the Fritz Thyssen Awards honor the best social science articles in German-language scholarly journals. Daniel Seikel was a doctoral student at the MPIfG from 2008 to 2012 and is now Head of the European Policy Research Unit at the Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) of the Hans Böckler Foundation in Düsseldorf.
Daniel Neumair, who has trained as an IT specialist in systems integration at the MPIfG since August 2011, passed his final examination at the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce with the overall grade of "good" in June 2014. He also received an award from the a target = blank href ="http://www.mpg.de/en">Max Planck Society for his outstanding performance as a trainee. Frederik Fuchs, an intern in the Computing Services group since May, will be a new systems integration trainee at the institute from August 2014 on. For over ten years, the MPIfG has offered traineeships for IT specialists in systems integration and software applications and for office communication specialists.
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In July, the MPIfG held a graduation ceremony for the doctoral students who successfully completed the IMPRS-SPCE
program in 2014. The International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy
is a joint international PhD program of the MPIfG and the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne. Seven IMPRS-SPCE students completed their doctoral dissertations in 2014: Sarah Beren
s, "When the High-Income Country Context Dissolves: Social Policy Preferences in Low- and Middle-Income Democracies"; Timur Ergen
on the political economy of the solar energy sector; Barbara Fulda
on fertility behavior in regional social contexts; Lukas Haffert
on the political economy of budget surpluses; Sebastian Kohl
,"Homeowner Nations or Nations of Tenants: How Historical Institutions in Urban Politics, Housing Finance and Construction Set Germany, France and the US on Different Housing Paths"; Daniel Mertens
on household debt in the age of permanent austerity; Sara Weckemann
on the lives of large families on welfare.
, head of the research group on the Economization of the Social and the History of Complexity
at the MPIfG, has been elected to represent the research fellows in the Max Planck Society
’s (MPG) Human Science Section in the MPG Senate. The central decision-making body of the MPG, the Senate elects the president of the MPG as well as its executive committee and decides who will be appointed as secretary general.
The MPIfG and the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Cologne
, hosted a "Sociology in Cologne" workshop in June 2014. Project presentations were the basis of discussions on increasing wealth inequality, the relationship between the state and markets, and the public image of and public opinion about markets. The MPIfG and the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences plan to continue organizing similar events in order to strengthen ties between the two institutions.
The MPIfG was among sixteen universities and three research institutions to receive a competitive grant from the
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
for its "Research Alumni Strategies 2014
." The institute will devote the 30,000-euro grant, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, to more firmly establishing the Fördergelder in Höhe von rund 30.000 Euro wird das Institut einsetzen, um seinen Society of Friends and Former Associates of the MPIfG
as a platform for interaction with its alumni, enhancing communication among the alumni, and expanding contact between the alumni and the researchers currently at the MPIfG.
In June 2014, Amy A. Quark
received the Best Scholarly Book Award of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Global and Transnational Sociology
for "Global Rivalries: Standards Wars and the Transnational Cotton Trade" (University of Chicago Press, 2013). In her book, Quark examines how rule-making processes influence the governance of the international cotton trade. Quark was a postdoctoral fellow at the MPIfG from January to July 2011.
In June 2014, international guests joined MPIfG researchers to discuss how private debt, fertility, and pension systems are related. Made possible by support from the Foundation for German-American Academic Relations
, the workshop "Babies, Bonds, and Buildings: The Societal Impact of the Financial Crisis in a Transatlantic Perspective" was organized by Ismail Emre Bayram
, who has been a postdoctoral fellow at the MPIfG since 2013.
The MPIfG Advisory Board
met from May 26-28, 2014, to evaluate the MPIfG’s research in 2012 and 2013. The Board’s chair, Prof. Frank Dobbin of Harvard University, presided over the meeting. The MPIfG’s managing director, Jens Beckert
, outlined the institute’s research, and the group leaders and the directors of MaxPo
in Paris presented their results and plans for future research. Breakout sessions and poster sessions enabled MPIfG researchers and doctoral students from the IMPRS-SPCE to answer the Board’s questions about their current projects. The MPIfG Advisory Board, which meets to evaluate the institute every two years, reports to the president of the Max Planck Society
(MPG). This year’s meeting was also an extended medium-term evaluation in accordance with the statutes of the MPG. For the extended evaluation, additional external rapporteurs are appointed by the MPG to compare the evaluation with others at Max Planck institutes working in related fields.
In April 2014, the staff of the MPIfG elected their new works council. Markus Burtscheidt, Petra Küchenmeister, Philip Korom, Silvia Oster, and Manuel Schüren were elected to four-year terms.
In June 2014, Markus Burtscheidt was elected to the General Works Committee of the Max Planck Society (MPG). Burtscheidt chairs the MPIfG Works Council, which he in turn represents at the national level as one of the 64 member of the General Works Council of the MPG
of the MPG (GBR). The General Works Committee, which governs the GBR, is made up of the council chair, the deputy chair, and nine other GBR members. Its duties include holding meetings with the employer’s representatives and developing new concepts for representing the interests of MPG employees.