First Conference on Albert Hirschman Legacy

hirschman practice

Faced with unfavourable political evolutions in many countries, the proposed “First Conference on Albert Hirschman Legacy”, organized by A Colorni Hirschman International Institute in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Europe (Boston University), represents a reaction to a dreadful tendency to dispersion that suddenly seemed overshadowing a remarkable stream of progressive ideas started in the Thirties and early Forties of last century (under dictatorship in Germany, Italy and France-Vichy), and then developed until recently in the US, Latin America and other continents by Albert Hirschman and his relatives and friends.

The aim of the Conference is certainly historical and theoretical – to understand better “what it is all about”. Hirschman’s legacy should not only be considered in isolation: it may be connected to the time and socio-political conditions in which it developed, and with the contribution of the people around him. Moreover, it is recognized by a young generation who is attracted by those ideas vis-à-vis current predicaments.

The conference will discuss the relevance of Hirschman’s Legacy for the contemporary world, asking its participants to feel free thinking (and walking) according to those “liberal” footsteps. That is: observing various initiatives inspired by Albert Hirschman around the world – in thinking, teaching, acting in the society, in political activities etc.: learning from them, and looking for humane, “possibilist” and successful solutions.


Friday, October 6 | 10 am – 7 pm
I. Morality & the Social Sciences
II. Development
III. Teaching & Influence
IV. Revisiting Texts
Reception (Hosted by the Consulate of Italy)

Saturday, October 7 | 10 am – 6:30 pm
I. Exit, Voice, & Loyalty
II. Entrepreneurial Activities
III. Field Research & Local Development
IV. National Power, Passions and Interests, & the World Today
Concluding Roundtable

A full program and list of participants is forthcoming. Conference registration is limited. We invite people interested in participating to contact the organizers at

The principal enemy is orthodoxy: to use the same recipe, administer the same therapy, to resolve the most various types of problems; never to admit complexity and try to reduce it as much as possible, while ignoring that things are always more complicated in reality.

~ Albert O. Hirschman, 1998, p. 110