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This paper presentation is part of the CSECL lecture series.

Detail Summary
Date 6 May 2019
Time 15:30 - 17:00
Location Roeterseilandcampus - building A

We would like to invite you to an event with Prof. Jens Beckert on Imagined Futures in Capitalist Economies and Neoliberal Politics, hosted by CSECL on 6 May 2019 at Amsterdam Law School. Prof. Beckert’s presentation will start with a short introduction to his theory on fictional expectations in the capitalist economy, as published in his 2016 book, Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics: It is followed by the presentation of his most recent article “The exhausted futures of neoliberalism. From promissory legitimacy to social anomy”.


The distinction between input-oriented legitimacy and output-oriented legitimacy (Scharpf, Fritz W, 1997. Economic Integration, Democracy and the Welfare State. Journal of European Public Policy, 4, 18–36) has been one of the most influential distinctions in political science. In this article I introduce a third arrangement supporting the legitimacy of political processes which I call promise-oriented legitimacy or, simply, promissory legitimacy. This term refers to the support political authority can gain from the credibility of promises political leaders make regarding future states of the world when justifying decisions and persuading others to follow them in their proposed course of action. Decisions gain support through claims about future development. Legitimacy crises arise if promises that were found credible become discredited and fail to motivate. I develop the concept of promissory legitimacy based on a discussion of what can be considered the most far-reaching political promissory regime of the last forty years: neoliberalism.

About the speaker

Prof. Beckert is director at the Max Plank Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) in Cologne, Germany, and a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He is a German sociologiest with a strong interest in economic sociology. He is the author of books on inherited wealth and the social foundations of economic efficiency, and focuses on the role of the economy in society – especially based on studies of markets – as well as organizational sociology, the sociology of inheritance, and sociological theory.

Prof. Dr. Jens Beckert

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Roeterseilandcampus - building A
Roeterseilandcampus - building A

Room Room A3.01

Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
1018 WV Amsterdam