Exploring the social and political foundations of modern economies

The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies conducts basic research on the governance of modern societies. It aims to develop an empirically based theory of the social and political foundations of modern economies by investigating the interrelation between economic, social and political action. Using primarily an institutional approach, it examines how markets and business organizations are embedded in historical, institutional, political and cultural frameworks, how they develop, and how their social contexts change over time. The institute seeks to build a bridge between theory and policy and to contribute to political debate on major challenges facing modern societies.
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Escaping Network Gravity: Relational Structures for Generating Novelty

Balasz Vedres
In his lecture on June 3, Balazs Vedres argues that the main mechanisms governing social tie formation and operation are at odds with recognizing new ideas. Homophily, closure, skewed degree distributions, and limited vision are four main mechanisms that are conservatizing – the four main forces of network gravity. Vedres will highlight cases where some of these gravity forces were overcome by organizational design and emergent institutions. He will focus especially on the role of structural folds and the significance of generative tension in innovation.
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