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Evidence-Based Policy-Making Seminar (EBPM): "A rationality crisis at the emperors’ desk? How to (not) weld the modern state into a monarchical system"

Picture of Peter Becker pictured smiling in a white button up shirt and black blazer.
Wednesday, November 29, 2023, 3:40 pm – 5:00 pm

The EBPM Seminar Series at the Department of Public Policy brings external academics and practitioners to discuss their ongoing research. This event series prioritizes understanding how data, observations, and ultimately evidence is approached by each researcher. 

This time, in collaboration with the Department of History, we present Peter Becker's working paper.
This particular event will feature the following format:

  • Presentation by Peter Becker
  • Q&A 
  • Reception 


This paper looks at the decision-making practices of the Austrian emperor Francis Joseph to identify the fault lines resulting from an effort to weld the modern state and the capitalist economy into the logic of bureaucratic monarchical rule, which had its origins in the paper state of the Spain of Philipp II in the 16th century. The result was a rationality crisis, which spread out into the entire system of public administration.

About the Speaker

Peter Becker is Professor of Austrian History at the University of Vienna. Before joining Vienna University he held positions at the European University Institute and the University of Linz. Visiting professorships and fellowships include the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales, Paris, the Deutsche Universität für Verwaltungswissenschaften, Speyer, and the International Research Center for Cultural Studies, Vienna. His research interests are in the cultural history of public administration, the history of state building in the Habsburg monarchy, the transition crisis after 1918, and the role of the League of Nations in the remaking of Central Europe. Latest publications: Remaking Central Europe: The League of Nations and the former Habsburg Lands. (Ed. together with Natasha Wheatley) The history and theory of international law, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2020, A World of Contradictions: Globalization and Deglobalization in Interwar Europe, ed. together with Tara Zahra, Special Issue of the AHR History Lab, The American Historical Review 128/2, 2023, Pages 703–881.