Summary of #YSW16

Young Scholars Workshop: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Finance
21-23 September 2016, University of Bremen

In September, the research group “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance” led by Sebastian Botzem has hosted a Young Scholars Workshop on the interdisciplinary study of finance at the University of Bremen. This event brought together 30 emerging academics from different universities, countries, and disciplinary backgrounds (including Political Science, IPE, Economic Sociology, Economics & Business Studies, Human Geography, and Economic History). Besides providing a platform for establishing international contacts among young scholars, the main goals of the workshop were to better understand the complexities of global finance and to discuss merits and constraints of interdisciplinary approaches to studying finance. Given the increasing relevance of finance, in both politics and everyday life, and finance’s susceptibility to crises, a more encompassing understanding of its dynamics is urgently required. In this respect, the three days of intense paper sessions, inspiring lectures and a concluding round table certainly provided new insights and ideas for the individual projects of the workshop participants as well as for a broader common research agenda on finance. Read more here

Find the respective twitter feed here.
Find the workshop program here.


Sebastian Möller guest at Manchester Business School

From October until mid-December, Sebastian Möller will be visiting researcher at the “People, Management and Organisations” department of the Alliance Manchester Business School (University of Manchester). During his research stay, Sebastian will be supervised by Julie Froud (Professor of Financial Innovation) and Adam Leaver (Professor in Financialization Analysis and Business). In Manchester, Sebastian will conduct fieldwork for his research project on municipal derivatives, exchange ideas with scholars and other PhD candidates at AMBS, and present tentative findings in a colloquium. Within his project, the LOBO loan engagement of the Manchester city council is a crucial case study. During his stay, Sebastian will conduct both expert interviews with financial professionals and public administrators as well as document and archival research. Sebastian was able to raise funding for his research stay from the BremenIDEA out program.


Marcus Wolf visiting researcher at Sciences Po

In October, Marcus Wolf will be visiting researcher at the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. Marcus will be hosted by the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations and the MaxPo Center on Coping with Instability in Markets whose research focus lies at the intersection of political economy and economic sociology. During his stay Marcus will conduct fieldwork at the OECD for his dissertation project on the politics of financial literacy education, collecting both information from interviews and visits at the OECD archive. Moreover, Marcus will present parts of his findings at the workshop “Réguler, conseiller, éduquer? Comment les politiques publiques encadrent-elles l’argent des ménages” (engl: How public policies frame the money of households) at the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations of Sciences Po Paris on 13th of October.

maxpo     sciencespo

Presentations at DGS Congress in Bamberg

On September 29, Natalia Besedovsky and Sebastian Botzem will present their current research on the global financial elite and the German council of economic experts at the 38th congress of the German Sociological Association (DGS) in Bamberg. Both will be panelists at the ad-hoc group on economic elites that will be chaired by Natalia and Saskia Freye. Natalia will talk about the ongoing project on transnational financial elites (“Finanzelite im Wandel? Eine transnationale Netzwerksanalyse”). Sebastian will present a paper on the influence of the economics profession examplified by the German council of economic experts (“Der Einfluss von Berufsökonomen am Beispiel des Sachverständigenrats zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung”).

Find out more about the panel here.



Natalia Besedovsky now research fellow in Hamburg

In August, Natalia Besedovsky started working at Hamburg University’s Sociology Department as a research fellow at Sighard Neckel’s chair on the Study of Society and Social Change. The group works on the study of modern capitalism and its current economic, social, and cultural changes. It focuses on social consequences of financial markets, social inequality and the manifold crises of social subjectivities, with special interest in social conflicts over sustainability. Natalias new research focuses on finance and sustainability, the intersections between financial and other social rationalities, as well as calculation practices of sustainable investors and banks. She will remain in close contact with the group, especially through the cooperation with Sebastian Botzem on the project on transnational financial elites.

BesedovskyHer new contact details are:

Universität Hamburg
Fakultät Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften
Institut für Soziologie
Allende-Platz 1
20146 Hamburg

Tel: +49 (0)40 42838-9874

Practical information for the young scholars workshop

In September, the research group “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance” is hosting a young scholars workshop about interdisciplinary perspectives on global finance at the University of Bremen. Practical information and a list of participants can now be found on our website. The papers for the workshop are due on August 31 and will be provided in a paper room later on. During the workshop, Lucia Qualia (York), Eleni Tsingou (Copenhagen) and Phil Mader (Sussex) will give talks on their current research. 30 young scholars from different countries will discuss their projects and the potential for interdisciplinarity in the study of global finance. The workshop is kindly supported by the Center for Transnational Studies (ZenTra) and the Foundation of the University of Bremen.

Presentations at the ISA Forum of Sociology in Vienna

In July, the members of the research group “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance” will present some preliminary findings of their projects at the 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology in Vienna. The Conference will take place at the campus of the University of Vienna. Our talks are scheduled as follows:


P&F Seminar on IMF – World Bank Collaboration

On June 29 (12:15-13:45), the “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finace” research group will be hosting another “Politics & Finance” seminar at the University of Bremen. Matthias Kranke from the University of Warwick will talk about “The Politics of IMF-World Bank Collaboration: Rethinking Institutional Change”. Matthias is a PhD candidate at Warwick´s Department of Politics and International Studies and has studied Political Science and International Relations in Lund (Sweden), Trier (Germany), and Sydney.

The event will take place at the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS) at the University of Bremen (Mary-Somerville-Straße 7, Bremen) in room 7.2020.We invite all fellow scholars from the University of Bremen, students, members of the BIGSSS graduate school and anyone else interested in discussing current empirical research on global finance to participate in the seminars.

Abstract of the talk

Conventional accounts of institutional change in global governance tend to foreground either the macro level of international regimes or the micro level of one international organisation. In my talk, I seek to explore the middle ground that connects these two levels. At the meso level, we find, among other things, collaborative relationships between international organisations, such as between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. The political study of inter-agency relationships needs to cut through a ticket of technicalities, especially when we want to understand how collaborating organisations devise rules of interaction. I argue that institutional change between the IMF and the World Bank following the global financial crisis was highly uneven and specific to the field of interaction. The tentative findings suggest that bureaucratic actors from ideologically proximate organisations, or even from within the same organisation, may construe what appears to be the same crisis in largely different ways.

P&F Seminar on Inequality & Redistribution

In June, the “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance” research group is continuing it´s “Politics & Finance” seminar series with two events. We invite all fellow scholars from the University of Bremen, students, members of the BIGSSS graduate school and anyone else interested in discussing current empirical research on global finance to participate in the seminars.

On June 21 (14:15-15:30), Laura Seelkopf from the Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (Socium) at the University of Bremen will present current findings on “Inequality and Redistribution in the OECD”. Laura is a postdoctoral research fellow at Socium´s Department for the Political Economy of the Welfare State and board member of the Political Economy section of the German Association of Political Science (DVPW). She holds a PhD from the University of Essex and has studied administrative science in Konstanz (Germany). Furthermore, on June 29, (12:15-13:45), Matthias Kranke from the University of Warwick will talk about “The Politics of IMF-World Bank Collaboration: Rethinking Institutional Change”. Both events will take place at the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS) at the University of Bremen (Mary-Somerville-Straße 7, Bremen) in room 7.2020.

  • 21.06.16: Laura Seelkopf (University of Bremen), “Inequality and Redistribution in the OECD”, 14:15-15:30, room 7.2020
  • 29.06.16: Matthias Kranke (University of Warwick), “The Politics of IMF-World Bank Collaboration: Rethinking Institutional Change”, 12:15-13:45, room 7.2020

Sebastian Möller will be visiting researcher at ICAE Linz

In June, Sebastian Möller will be hosted for 3 weeks by the “Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy” (ICAE) at Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria) as a visiting researcher. This research institute was founded in 2009 in order to analyze causes and effects of the recent financial crisis with an interdisciplinary and pluralistic approach to economics. During his stay Sebastian will conduct fieldwork for his dissertation project “Global Finance & Local Budgets – Municipal Governments´ Engagement in the Derivatives Market and the Role of Transnational Service Firms”. Moreover, Sebastian will exchange ideas on empirical financial markets research with scholars from ICAE and participate in ICAE´s summer academy 2016 on globalization and transnational corporate power in the 21st century.


Sebatian Botzem talks about accounting in Manchester

On June 1st, Sebastian Botzem will be spaeker in the “Accounting & Finance” seminar series at the Alliance Manchester Business School. During the seminar, he will talk about the introduction of European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) and their commonalities with private accouting rules.

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Botzem
“The Privatization of European Accounting Regulation – Comparing the Harmonization of Private and Public Reporting Standards”
June 1st, 2016

Room 5.1 Crawford Housealliance-mbs_logo
Alliance Manchester Business School
Booth Street West
M15 6PB, UK


CfP: Young Scholars Workshop on Finance in Bremen

The research group is organising a workshop on “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Finance” with kindly support from the Center for Transnational Studies (ZenTra) and the Foundation of the University of Bremen taking place in September 2016 (21/09 – 23/09) in Bremen. The purpose of this workshop is to understand the complexities of global finance and to discuss the merit of interdisciplinary approaches to studying finance. We want to bring together junior scholars, PhD students as well as Post‐docs, and Junior Professors, with an interest in interdisciplinary exchange, that are conducting empirical research on all aspects of global finance. Moreover, we seek to identify common themes (empirical and methodological) as well as promising theoretical approaches across disciplines to come to a more encompassing understanding of global finance as a social and political phenomenon.

The Call for Papers has just been launched, we invite all interested scholars to submit paper proposals by May 20.

uni logo       UNI_Stiftungslogo__RGB    images

Teaching in summer term 2016

Next summer term, members of the research group will again contribute to the political science study programs at Bremen University. Sebastian Botzem will teach the seminar “Economic elites and the regulation of the world econony” (in German language, Master). This seminar will take place Wednesdays 10-12 at SpT C3140 (Sportturm). In addition, Sebastian Möller and Marcus Wolf will offer the course “The politics of debt in financialized capitalism” (in English language, Bachelor) which will be held as a block seminar (21/22. May & 25./26. June). The introduction for this course will take place on 20 April 4-6pm at UNICOM 2210. You can register for both courses via Stud.IP.

Previous seminars of research group members at Bremen University:

  • Social science perspectives on finance
    (Natalia Besedovsky, winter term 2015/16)
  • Politics & economy in the age of globalization
    (Sebastian Botzem, winter term 2015/16)
  • Political Economy of financial market regulation
    (Sebastian Botzem, summer term 2015)
  • International Political Economy of the financial crisis
    (Sebastian Möller & Marcus Wolf, summer term 2015)

Workshop on Transnational Studies in Bremen

In May, the Center for Transantaional Studies (ZenTra) will host a workshop for PhD candidates and Post-Docs on empirical approaches to social science research on transnationalism. The workshop is organized by Sebastian Botzem (head of the research group “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance”), Moritz Renner and Céline Teney and will take place on May 26 at the University of Bremen. It aims at discussing methodological approaches to study transnational phenomena in the light of empirical research projects from the fields of sociology, legal studies, political science and economics. In particular, the workshop will address the question of what are appropriate units of analysis in transnational studies. Moreover, implications of different answers to this question for research design, analysis and interpretation will be discussed.

imagesAbstracts can be submitted until March 31. Find out more information here (in German language).

Presentations at the “Debt trails” Workshop in Budapest

In March, Marcus Wolf and Sebastian Möller will present short papers on their research projects at a workshop called “Debt trails: Mapping relations of debt and credit from evryday actors to global credit markets”. The workshop is organized by Paul Langley (Durham University) and Liz McFall (Open University) and will be hosted by ELTE University Budapest and the Journal of Cultural Economy. Marcus is going to present a paper on “Financial literacy education and the role of debtors and investors in financial regulation. Sebastian will talk about “Local governments & global finance: Municipal engagement in the derivatives market”. He receives the travel & accomodation grant for the workshop funded by ELTE University.

Update: You can find a brief report on the workshop on soziopolis (in German language) and a video recording of the joint keynote by Liz Mc Fall and Paul Langley on youtube.

Politics & Finance Seminar with Phil Mader (28 January)

The research group “Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance” continues its seminar series at InIIS on January 28. We will discuss the topic “Financial Inclusion or the Financialization of the poor?” (see below) with Dr. Phil Mader, research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS)  at the University of Sussex in Brighton (UK). Phil is author of the book “The Political Economy of Microfinance” that will be dicussed at the Historical International Political Sociology (HIPS) Colloquium on Wednesday, 27 January at InIIS (6-8pm room 2020). At both events, students, BIGSSS fellows and other interested academics are highly welcome.


Financial Inclusion or a deeper Financialisation of Poverty?
Critically exploring the contours and assumptions of a growing policy space

The financial inclusion of poor and low-income populations, particularly women, features high on mainstream development agendas, including the Sustainable Development Goals. This paper discusses work in progress to ask: what techniques and technologies are employed in financial inclusion? In what relationship to older practices (e.g. microfinance) does financial inclusion stand? And what effects can we expect? Financial inclusion builds upon novel assumptions about the power of finance, in particular that (1) there is a causal relationship from financial access to development and broader benefits, (2) the extension of finance is directly beneficial to the poor, and (3) there is an untapped business opportunity in providing comprehensive financial services to the poor. Studying power relations, surplus extraction, the enclosure of commons, and the proliferation of crises, as in microfinance, provides some answers. But we also need a deeper understanding of how financial inclusion brings new groups of actors (such as global financial companies) into connection with poor people and directs new technologies (such as financial literacy training) at the poor.

Politics & Finance Seminar (No 3)

“Financial Inclusion or the Financialization of the poor?”
Dr. Phil Mader, Brighton
Thursday, 28 January 2016
10-12, InIIS, room 2020
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7, 28359 Bremen

Please contact if you have any questions
or want to attend the event.

Panel on quantification

At the symposium “End or return of history. Changes in the world society since the end of the Cold War”, held for the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS), Sebastian Botzem and Natalia Besodovsky contributed to a panel on the politics of quantification. In his introductory remarks, Klaus Schlichte, professor for International Relations at the InIIS, pointed out that quantification today is a wide-spread phenomenon: The world is increasingly interpreted through numbers and numerical targets (e.g. the Sustainable Development Goals and the famous two-degree-target regarding climate change) shape political discourse. The panel was comprised of scholars from sociology and political science.20151211_104434Herbert Kalthoff, professor for Sociology at the University of Mainz, described the omnipresence of numbers as a dynamic of a “quantifying and calculating society”. Processes of calculation fix and stabilize knowledge. Nevertheless, the meaning of numerical representations is often contested among practitioners and therefore needs to be continuously (re)constructed. The simplicity of numbers, often assumed by social science research and in particular in the natural sciences, thus has to be questioned. Numbers, quantification and calculation therefore, have to be studied in specific empirical contexts.

Natalia Besedovsky stressed that not the use of numbers in politics is new but the outsourcing of their production from the state to private actors. This can be highly problematic as in the case of credit rating agencies where the methods used to produce ratings gradually shifted away from the regulatory purpose intended by state agencies. The calculative practices that produce certain numbers therefore are highly relevant since they determine the way in which the numbers can be used politically.

Sebastian Botzem argued that although numbers often appear to be depoliticized, quantification is always political as it justifies management and enables political control. Moreover, quantification is guided by specific normative and theoretical assumptions predetermining the scope of political action. He illustrated these observations with the case of European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS) that are currently introduced in order to harmonize budget management of public entities. Under EPSAS, markets (and market prices) become the central point of reference for political decision-making, limiting policies that are not in line with market logics.

Klaus Schlichte showed how quantification produces a representation of the world that becomes powerful in state bureaucracies. In the case of police work in Uganda, he showed how reported events are translated several times into written categories and numbers that inform policy-making and budgetary decisions. At the same time, budgeting and resource distribution cannot be understood by quantification alone as political loyalties and established practices play an important part in co-determining policy-making.

In the discussion it became clear that quantification is a relevant issue for political analysis and that more empirical research is needed to better understand quantification as a condition of bureaucratization on the one hand and effective governance of quantification as driver of marketization of politics on the other. After all, research and teaching can benefit from greater awareness of quantification at different political levels.

InIIS celebrates anniversary

The Institute of Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS), one of our home institutions, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in December with the beginning of the Senghaas Lectures and a symposium on current changes in the world society. The first Senghaas Lecture will take place on Thusday, 10 December (7.30pm at the Stadtwaage Bremen). Prof. Klaus Dieter Wolf from the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt will talk about current challenges in world politics. On Friday, 11 December, the InIIS will hold a symposium on the end or return of history (10.30 – 5.30pm at the Cartesium). Sebastian Botzem and Natalia Besedovsky will contribute to the first panel on the politics of quantification (“administered world or world disorder”).

Both the lecInIIS_Jubiläumture and the symposium will be held in German language. You can find the full program of the event here.

Blog entry on TTIP

Sebastian Botzem and Marcus Wolf have written a comment on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is currently negotiated between the United States and the EU for the IMPULSE blog of Bremen University. In their comment, Sebastian and Marcus argue that TTIP is a potential threat for democracy on both sides of the North Atlantic. In particular, regulatory cooperation, prioritization of investor´s interests, and private investor-to-state dispute settlement bodies could undermine democratic decison-making. Thus, TTIP should be discussed much more as a democracy issue rather than as a technical free trade agreement. The blog entry goes back to a public panel discussion on TTIP organized by the research group earlier this autumn in Bremen.

Read the blog entry (in German language) here.

An adio- and video-file of the panel discussion can be found here.

Teaching in winter semester 2015/16

This winter term, members of the research group contribute with seminars to the political science study programs at Bremen University. Sebastian Botzem offers an introduction to International Political Economy (“Politics & Economy in the Age of Globalization”, in German language). This seminar takes place Tuesdays 2-4pm at AIB 1010. Natalia Besedovsky teaches the course “Social Science Perspectives on Finance” (in English language). Her course runs Fridays 10-12 at IAW 02 (Haus Seekamp).

Previous seminars of research group members at Bremen University (summer term 2015)

  • Sebastian Botzem: “Political Economy of Financial Market Regulation”
  • Sebastian Möller & Marcus Wolf: “International Political Economy of the Financial Crisis”

Seminar series “Politics & Finance” continues with Pia Eberhardt (20 October)

In October, the research group “Transnational political ordering in global finance” will continue its seminar series “Politics & Finance” at the Bremen Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS). Our guest is Pia Eberhardt from the Brussels based NGO Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO). In her talk “Insights from the Engine Room – Lobbying in Brussels”, Pia will share her impressions of corporate lobbying practices in the EU´s political decision-making process. Particularities of interest group activities in Brussels will be stressed and the role of CEO will be introduced. Especially colleagues from InIIS, SOCIUM, BIGSSS and students from the University of Bremen are invited to discuss these topics with our guest.



“Insights from the Engine Room – Lobbying in Brussels”
(Pia Eberhardt, CEO)

Tuesday, 20 October 2015, 10-12

Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS)

Mary-Somerville-Str. 7, 28359 Bremen
Room: UNICOM 2020



Panel discussion on TTIP in Bremen (19 October)

The research group Transnational Political Ordering in Global Finance is organizing a public panel discussion on the Transatlantic Trade and Investmentpartnership (TTIP) that is currently under negotiation between the EU and the USA. The discussion will focus on the implications of regulatory cooperation and private dispute settlement provisions for democratic decision-making. Prof. Sebastian Botzem, head of the research group, will discuss with Pia Eberhardt (Corporate European Observatory, CEO), Torsten Grünewald (Bremen Chamber of Commerce) and Joachim Schuster (MEP, International Trade Committe, SPD). The panel discussion will be moderated by the journalist Alexandra Endres (ZEIT online).

Both the panel dicussion and Q&A will be held in German language.


Photo: Jürgen Howaldt


“Freihandelsabkommen TTIP – Eine Bedrohung für die Demokratie?”

19 October 2015, 19:00
Haus der Wissenschaft / House of Science
Sandstraße 4/5
28195 Bremen

Here you can find a brief summary of the discussion in “BUS aktuell” (in German language).

Presentations at the FESSUD annual conference in Lisbon

Marcus Wolf and Sebastian Möller will present papers on their individual research projects at this year´s annual conference of FESSUD (Financialisation, Economy, Society, Sustainable Development) “Impacts of Financialisation on Society, Environment and Economy” in Lisbon. Marcus will present a paper on the role of consumer organizations in post-crisis regulatory politics (“The Impact of Financialization on Political Agency – Consumer Organizations and their Role in Post-Crisis EU Consumer Regulation”). Sebastian will talk about the engagement of cities in the market for derivatives (“The Financialisation of Local Governance: Municipal Government´s Activities on Financial Markets”).

Sebastian Möller participates in Lucerne Master Class 2015

Sebastian Möller will participate in this year´s Master Class “Markets & Democracy” with Prof. Wolfgang Streeck at the University of Lucerne. The Lucerne Master Class 2015 enables doctoral students from Switzerland and from abroad to deepen their understandings of the relationship between markets and democracy and to go beyond common patterns of perception. Doctoral students will receive the opportunity to present their work to the other participants and to discuss it with Prof. Wolfgang Streeck.

During the week, Sebastian will present his research on the spread of financial market activities of municipal governments. In his dissertation project, Sebastian sets out to describe, compare, and understand the purchase of derivatives like interest rate swaps by local treasuries in different European countries. Particularly, he is interested in the the role of transnational service firms like banks, consultancies and law firms in the promotion and implementation of such activities. Since the adoption of financial market logics is likely to have considerable implications for local democracy, this topic can both contribute and benefit from the discussions at the workshop in Lucerne.

Presentation at the DVPW congress in Duisburg

Sebastian Botzem and Sebastian Möller will present a paper on power shifts in global finance at this year´s congress of the German Political Science Association (DVPW) in Duisburg on 22 September. They present findings on the changing represenation of the global south in selected public and private organizations of financial market regulation. Their presentation will be part of a panel on insecurities and power shifts in the global political economy organized by the DVPW´s Political Economy section. The talk will be in German language.

The full congress program is available here.

Sebastian Botzem reported at the European Parliament

The Role of the EU in International Economic Fora (Poster)The European Parliament is currently working on its own initiative report on “The EU role in the framework of international financial, monetary and regulatory institutions and bodies”. In this context, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) has organized a workshop, which took place on 17th June 2015 in Brussels. The workshop’s aim was to provide ECON Members  with information and background on the current situation of EU representation in financial standard setting bodies within selected international entities.

Prof. Sebastian Botzem reported on the International Accounting Standards Board. International Financial Reporting Standards define the rules for corporate accounting and are set by a private standard setter: the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The EU has no formal role in developing these standards, but de facto endorses them ex post. This raises questions with regard to the overrepresentation of commercial interests in accounting regulation and the need to debate a stronger role not only for civil society actors but also for public entities such as regulators.

You may find more infomation at the European Parliament`s website.

A video stream of the workshop is provided here.