14-17 September 2017

Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

Download the call for papers

Democracies and open societies have recently suffered a number of setbacks. As the adverse impacts of financial crises, inequalities in wealth and income, globalized trade and capital mobility have become more pronounced the world is increasingly threatened by authoritarian populism. In this context of turmoil, many of the accepted doctrines and policies that had previously been taken for granted have been challenged, and concerns have been raised regarding the possible futures of economically and politically "open societies".

Organised in close collaboration with Utrecht University's "Institutions for Open Societies" research programme, the Fourth WINIR Conference was set against this backdrop. The conference especially welcomed contributions from any academic discipline that address the challenges and dynamics of the economic, political, legal and social institutions of our time. Submissions on any other aspect of institutional research were also welcome.

The conference opened on the afternoon of Thursday 14 September and ended on the evening of Saturday 16 September 2017. There was an optional tour of historic Utrecht on the morning of Sunday 17 September.


Keynotes lectures, representing three academic discriplines, were given by:

Johanna Mair (Hertie School of Governance, management)
James Robinson (University of Chicago, politics)
Juliet Schor (Boston College, sociology)

The conference also featured a round table on "ICT, Open Societies and New Institutions" with José van Dijck (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, media studies), Haroon Sheikh (Dasym Investment Strategies, philosophy) and Fredrik Söderqvist (Unionen, economics), moderated by Martijn de Waal (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences), and was preceded by a PhD workshop

The world premier of Barbara Allen's "Actual World, Possible Future", a documentary on the life and work of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom, was scheduled on Thursday 14 September 2017 in the presence of the director.

201 delegates from 36 countries attended this event.

The conference was organised by:
Bas van Bavel (b.j.p.vanbavel@uu.nl), Koen Frenken (k.frenken@uu.nl), Francesca Gagliardi (f.gagliardi@herts.ac.uk),
David Gindis (d.gindis@herts.ac.uk), Geoff Hodgson (g.m.hodgson@herts.ac.uk), Rutger Claassen (r.j.g.claassen@uu.nl), Erik Stam ( e.stam@uu.nl)

In collaboration with

Generous support for the WINIR Conference on Institutions & Open Societies was provided by