The book of two political scientists, Peter Hall and David Soskice, triggered a worldwide discussion about the different organisation and economic performance of market economies after the break-down of the Soviet Union. Loosing the common counter model led to the insight of deep differences between the organisation of the western capitalist economies as they were systematically presented in the volume of 2001. But Hall and Soskice did not simply present an overview of the differences of the western economies. Rather, they developed a theory that explained the different economic performances of some of the countries: The “Coordinated Market Economies” (CME), like Germany, were perceived to be more successful than the “Liberal Market Economies” (LME), like Great Britain or the United States. Social security regimes with comprehensive health care systems, influential trade unions and close corporate relations as well as relations between the financial sector and business would propel the CME-type capitalism to larger growth-rates.
As Hall and Soskice put business at the core of their approach their perspective can be seen as insightful and challenging for economic and business historians. But while political scientists like Kathleen Thelen or Isabela Mares used the approach to come to some systematic and historically grounded conclusions and business historians in many countries picked up the debate, in Germany the Varieties of Capitalism approach (VoC) and business history so far are not engaged in a constructive dialogue. Business history mostly focuses on national company histories while German economic and social history is preoccupied with institutions and macroeconomic structures. It loses track of the decisive role businesses play in the evolution of institutions and structures. This has led to a disconnection of German academic culture from international research where the interrelationship of businesses and institutions is a matter of intense debate. The VoC approach constitutes a central point of departure for this international discussion.
The Summer School »Varieties of Capitalism – Interdisciplinary Debate and Methodological Reflection« that takes place from 28.5. to 2.6.2012 at the Henley-Business School at the University of Reading wants to make use of the potential benefits of a stronger engagement for both sides. It is supposed to give German and English Graduate and Ph.D. students the opportunity to make use of the VoC approach for their own research and thus connect German research to an international debate. It aims to facilitate the exchange of methodological approaches between political sciences and economic history as well as strengthen the awareness for methodological pitfalls in internationally comparative approaches.
The Summer School is organised around four thematic fields for which an internationally oriented comparative approach is indispensable: 1) financial markets and corporate governance; 2) market order and economic policy; 3) industrial relations and trade unions; 4) internationalisation of business. There will be two introductory presentations on the topics from a political scientist´s and an historian´s perspective in the morning. In the afternoon, sessions will turn into a workshop character giving the invited young scholars the chance to present and discuss their Master or dissertation thesis.
Students interested to participate are asked to submit a CV, a two-page paper to outline their project and a short letter of reference from the supervisor of the Master-/ Ph.D.-thesis. The paper should answer the following questions: what is the topic about and how does it relate to the VoC-approach? What is the methodological approach of the project? How far is the project advanced and what will be the next steps? What might be the problems you would like to discuss during the summer school? In what ways do you hope to benefit from participating in the summer school?
Deadline is: 1st of March 2012
Depending on funding, we are able to invite up to 14 students and Ph.D. scholars from Germany as well as up to six students and Ph.D. scholars from Great Britain. Funding covers the travel and housing expenses in Reading, including breakfast. Further participation on own expenses is possible after a positive evaluation of the application. Decisions will be made by the organizers until April 2012. Participation and a written paper on the basis of one’s individual talk can be testified with 6 ECTS in regular German university programs.
Program to be announced
Speakers include: Werner Abelshauser (Bielefeld), Chris Kobrak (Paris), Paul Windolf (Trier), Brigitte Leucht (London), Richard Hyman (London), Susanne Hilger (Düsseldorf), Andrew Godley (Reading)
Please submit your applications only as a single pdf-file to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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