Honorary doctorates announced in social sciences

11 October 2012

Hans Joas of the University of Freiburg, Germany, and Michael Power, a professor at the London School of Economics, have been selected to receive honorary doctorates from the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Professor Hans Joas is a Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies at Freiburg University, and a visiting professor at the University of Chicago. Joas has made groundbreaking contributions to social theory and sociological theory and is the author of a number of works that are regarded as modern classics, including The Creativity of Action. Examples of his research fields are the role of religions in modern societies, historical social research, the origins of values and norms, and the history of human rights. He is one of the most active participants in academic and public debates.

Joas represents a sociology and a social science that is all the more needed, the more it is embattled. His broad and deep historical perspective, rooted in classical and modern social theory and philosophy, enables the generation of entirely new knowledge from narrow research fields that otherwise seldom touch on each other and the surrounding world.

Michael Power is a professor of accounting at the London School of Economics and director of the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR). In 1997 Michael Power published the book The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification, a book that has been widely read internationally and inspired elaborative studies. His research has also been of significance in the public debate, where reference is commonly made to “the audit society”. In his pioneering studies, Michael Power uncovered the development of a society not only characterized by numerous audits, but where operations are also designed with an eye to being audited, evaluated, and revised.

Power has also done significant research work on the development and standardization of financial regulation and reporting and their importance in the organization and governance of companies and public activities. In his latest book, Organized Uncertainty: Designing a World of Risk Management, Power analyses the explosive growth in recent years of “risk management”. He shows that this growth has less to do with actual dangers and potentials than might be thought, and more to do with the prestige and legitimacy of organizations.