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Recent Talks

February 14, 2014

This post contains two papers from recent talks by Professor Seán Ó Riain. “The Diversity and Dilemmas of Europe’s Capitalisms” was presented at a seminar in the ESRI, where Seán discussed Europe’s recent crises through the lens of comparative political economy. Details of the event are available here. The second paper “Enterprise Policy and Ireland’s Economic Recovery” was presented at a seminar hosted by NERI. Seán discussed the role of enterprise policy in Ireland’s recovery, and its place in the wider promotion of social and economic investment. Some details of the event are available here.

Forthcoming seminar by Dr. Felix Behling, NUIM

Wednesday December 11th
NIRSA Conference Room, 2nd Floor, Iontas

From Cadburys to Google, from BMW to SAP, many employers have provided their employees with significant ‘perks’. The paper deals with the creation and use of welfare outside the British and German welfare states, showing that employer welfare and governmental welfare are inherently interwoven. It also shows that the modern employment relationship has developed from an ad-hoc idea into an institution that exists independently from its main actors and that can influence their actions. What are the consequences for the position of workers in Germany and the UK of the different ways in which employers and the employment relationship has developed?
Felix Behling is postdoctoral fellow in the ERC funded New Deals project at NIRSA and the Department of Sociology. Felix’s research explores the relations between employment and welfare, with a particular focus on the creation of self-employment.

Call for abstracts now open: “The Political Economy of Work and Labor Markets: Workplace Regimes in Comparative Perspective” at the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) in Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, July 10-12, 2014

This mini-conference is designed to bridge the gap between micro analyses of the workplace and macro political economy by fostering dialogue across disciplinary and sub-disciplinary boundaries. We invite papers that address different aspects of workplace organization (e.g. working time, security, pay, career ladders, the labor process, collective action, etc), their connections with macro-political institutions and actors, and adopt a comparative perspective. Submissions may use a range of methodological approaches (including case studies, quantitative methods, and qualitative comparative analysis), operate at different levels (national, regional, sectoral, corporate, etc.), and explore a wide variety of relevant topics.

Further details are available at:

Paper abstracts must be submitted by January 20, 2014. Candidates will be notified by February 17, 2014. Please note that Mini-Conferences require an extended (~1,000 word) abstract, and ask that you submit a full paper by March 31, 2014.

For further information, contact

Rossella Ciccia, National University of Ireland Maynooth (

Seán Ó Riain, National University of Ireland Maynooth (

Andrew Schrank, University of New Mexico (

To view captions, play slideshow in full screen (click the expand icon on the bottom right), then click ‘show info’ in the top-right pane


February 8, 2013

The most recent issue of the Economic and Social Review has a symposium on the politics of financialisation, including papers on the US, a comparative analysis of financialisation and inequality in the OECD and Seán Ó Riain’s paper on”The Crisis of Financialisation in Ireland”.

The table of contents, with links to papers, is here

The abstract of the Ireland paper is below:

This paper explores the intersection of national and transnational processes in shaping Ireland’s financial crisis. It uses insights from economic sociology to reconcile the analytical tension between an understanding of Ireland’s crisis in terms of the unfolding of an international process and explanations that focus on specific national features. A series of significant policy decisions in the late 1990s favoured financial markets in allocating capital and opened up significant institutional space for speculative lending. Underneath the apparently consistent expansion of the property lending bubble since the mid-1990s, there was a significant shift in investment logics from the early 2000s as both residential and commercial real estate spending became detached from underlying demand. This shift in logic was based on two significant “translations” of investment rationalities into justifications of lending and investment that underpinned the bubble. Irish banks’ own conceptions of risk and rational investments shifted subtly over time so that property lending was translated into a rational investment, encouraged by market dynamics such as increased bank profits, rising share prices and concentration of decision making power in the banking system. At the same time, and in the context of the establishment of the euro, investing in the assets of Irish banks was translated into a rational investment for international banks, in large part through the metrics of the credit ratings agencies. The paper concludes by revisiting the question of how we should understand the specifics of particular financial crises in conjunction with the general dynamics of financialisation – pointing to the importance of “translation” processes in creating social rationalities and the significance of “market liberalism” as a social formation in enabling these translations and promoting financialisation.

Seán Ó’ Riain