Social Inclusion – Social Exclusion: Physical Exercise as Means Between Strengthening Individuals and Integration into Collectivities

The article

Social Inclusion – Social Exclusion: Physical Exercise as Means Between Strengthening Individuals and Integration into Collectivities

is now online [her for the DOI], before it is available in the printed version of the The International Journal of the History of Sport


Physical exercise, beyond the mere physical aspect, is very much a social construct. But it is as well a means of constructing the social and as such it can be used in different ways. The contribution, taking a broad comparative perspective, will reflect on two major possibilities: the one may be called social inclusion as subordination and the other can be looked at as a matter of social inclusion by strengthening individuals. This also allows an understanding of new dangers of exclusion in the era of liquid modernity.


To where do we go from here?

From teaching economics at Bangor College China, in Changsha, China – some reflections had been published here earlier, and also here – I arrived now – after some interim work in France and The Netherlands – in Munich, Bavaria, a generous grant from the Max-Planck-Institute for Social Law and Social Policy allows me occupying from today a research position for the next twelve month, looking at issues around digitisation – some books I asked for are already at my disposal on my new desk. And right at the beginning, after having been giving out against orthodox economics [not so much from a heterodox, but from an unorthodox position (or was it more from an alternative orthodoxy?)], I am now wondering if – cum grano salis – heterodox thinking is needed also when it comes to law?

[scan from: Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Faust – Der Tragödie Erster Teil, mit Illustrationen aus drei Jahrhunderten, ed. by Hans Hanning, Berlin: Rütting & Loening, 1982, 2nd ed., p. 123
Teufelspakt_Faust-Mephisto, by Julius Nisle]

And much as Marx did not ‘invent communism out of the blue’, but based it in historical analysis [see in particular Engels’ Work on ‘The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State’] , such historical review is also most valuable in jurisprudence. A nice passage I found – in a book by St Germain, writing  on the Dialogues between a doctor of divinity and a student in the laws of England –  and surely not suggesting that we find the alternatives in divinity …

And so it appeareth, that equity taketh not away the very right, but only that that seemeth to be right

by the general words of the law. Nor it is not ordained against the cruelness of the law, for the law in such case generally taken is good in himself; but equity followeth the law in all particular cases where right and justice requireth, notwithstanding the general rule of the law be to the contrary. Wherefore it appeareth., that if any law were made by man without any such exception expressed or implied, it were manifestly unreasonable, and were not to be suffered …

Reading this on page 45, we read already a page earlier as definition:
Equity is a right wiseness that considereth all the particular circumstances of the deed, the which also is tempered with the sweetness of mercy. And such an equity must always be observed in every law of man, and in every general rule thereof: and that knew he well that said thus, Laws covet to be ruled by equity. And the wise man saith, Be not overmuch right wise;
for the extreme right wiseness is extreme wrong: as who saith, If thou take all that the words of the law giveth thee thou shalt sometime do against the law.

Digitalwirtschaft … Flexi oder was?

unter dem Titel
ist nun ein kurzer Artikel in der Freiheitsliebe  erschienen.


Plattformökonomie ist einer der Begriffe, unter denen neue Wirtschaftsentwicklungen gefasst werden. Schon in diesem kurzen Satz, der vagen Formulierung, wird deutlich, dass es bei diesem und ähnlichen Begriffen wie Digitalisierung, gig-Ökonomie, Robotisierung um ein Feld handelt, dass einerseits durch viele Facetten mit ganz spezifischen Detailaspekten gekennzeichnet ist, aber andererseits Teil eines komplexen Feldes von Änderungen ist, die das Wirtschaften und die Vergesellschaftung betreffen.
Das wird dann auch Thema des nächsten Projektes sein, welches mich dann ein Jahr lang am Max-Planck-Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik
beschäftigen wird.
Siehe auch hier.


Uploaded also this text now, dealing with the Vatican Spring on ‘my’ researchgate-site – kind of old stuff, though still of interest I suppose, reflecting on the limits of a ‘new catholicism’. As such it is also relevant as reflection of the limited meaning of religious ‘revolutionary claims’.


revista interdisciplinar

Peter Herrmann *



Tanto en los discursos de —o acerca de— la economía como en los discursos de —y acerca de— la ética se puede observar una evidente abstinencia mutual, y esto independientemente de la orientación política. Y si un lado reconoce la existencia del otro, suele ser más para identificarlo como su antagonista. Este prefacio, que se centra en la pregunta de si un ‘nuevo fantasma recorre el mundo’ desde la elección de Jorge Mario Bergoglio como máximo Pontífice —el espectro de una orientación católica fundamentalmente renovada— se propone discutir ese ‘despertar’ sugerido por muchos comentaristas desde una perspectiva más amplia. Al adoptar un punto de vista más amplio, llegamos a la conclusión de que existe una cierta necesidad de increpar al individualismo y al economismo desde una perspectiva ética, pero que esos reproches quedan muy cuestionables mientras no analicen y critiquen los fundamentos estructurales de tales ‘aberraciones’. Y concluye que seguramente existe la necesidad y el espacio para un ‘renacimiento de la ética’, pero que esto sólo se puede alcanzar por medio de la intervención colectiva y de procedimientos legislativos, no por la dicha de la oración. Si el cambio pretende ser sostenible, deberá de ser drástico, mucho más que ligeros rasguños en la superficie; y si el cambio pretende ser justo, deberá de ser estructural en lugar de moral.

Palabras clave: Iglesia Católica, ética, economía, reforma, sociedad.

Meanings of a Term – Global Village

Bizarre, n’est-ce pas?
Turning away from teaching at a university in a more or less large city [well, a city with 9 million people is in China not considered to be really large …], in a country that is classified as ‘emerging economy’ in a setting of a joint venture, i.e. the collaboration of a Chinese and Welsh university to debates in a small village in France – 1.200 inhabitants allow to speak of a village.
What makes it bizarre is not so much the huge difference in the settings but the fact that the teaching in the supposed global setting had been very much about  narrowly understood economy, suggesting individuals acting rationally on transparent markets, being completely informed, whereas we discuss in the village – really transparent, a real market with all its imponderables, including that of non-market performances, solidarity, neighbourly support etc.- strategies hat are suitable for new politics and policies in a globalised world.
The internet is there and used in both cases and one wonders if it offers a net sufficiently strong to absorb the tension?
The one meeting is relocated – we go on the river.
The reflection of the trees and bushes in the water make me reflecting on the actual meaning of the relationship between base and superstructure.
The roots as base, more or less rigid in the ground, the stem and strong branches, the leaves … – not moving this calm evening – the firm regulatory framework that is completed by the actual ‘governance’ and mode of life and living regimes [and here].
Or is it the other way rond, the accusation regime being the flexible part, adapting to the changing conditions of utilising capital? Perhaps such ‘flexibility of the accumulation regime is just a temporary matter – during phases of massive change as we see them at the moment?
Bizarre – and interesting – how short the way can be between trees, reflected in a river and ventilating for instance matters of digitisation and sharing economy. surely much shorter than the reflections teaching model economics in the modern ivory tower of wrongly understood curricula.

The cat’s tale – the difficulty of academia then and now

It seems to be relatively easy to deal with Schroedinger’s cat – the question is well known:


Schrödinger wanted people to imagine that a cat, poison, a geiger counter, radioactive material, and a hammer were inside of a sealed container. The amount of radioactive material was minuscule enough that it only had a 50/50 shot of being detected over the course of an hour. If the geiger counter detected radiation, the hammer would smash the poison, killing the cat. Until someone opened the container and observed the system, it was impossible to predict if the cat’s outcome. Thus, until the system collapsed into one configuration, the cat would exist in some superposition zombie state of being both alive and dead.[2]

The one way of dealing with it is to open the box in order to see if the cat is alive or not. However, it is a way of dealing with the problem by actually denying it as checking, giving ‘empirical evidence’ in actual fact changes the conditions to such an extent that, what had been the question at the outset is actually redefined: the conditions from which the question emerged are not anymore given.

The other way is to admit that there is no answer and that there cannot be any answer for ever. One could see this as a purely academic issue – though this is probably seen differently by the cat – being eternally in a situation of not knowing if her is dead or alive which must admittedly a hugely unpleasant state of existence. And both ‘easy answers’ prevail when we are looking at academia, in particular universities: researching, studying and teaching. One question may be asked though: what is if we simply look at the tale, not the entire cat but also not something that exists only as chimera?

Some reflections on the development of third level education today can be found here, impressions and reports, resulting from having worked in China for two years at a ‘joint venture’ between a EUropean and a Chinese university, and reflecting more general trends than really anything like ‘this is China’. And also reflecting on a general trend of supposed academic education where one learns not to agree with but to follow rules, where you have to like numbers but yu do nit have to like maths … – at the end where you should end with a major that makes sure that the cat is dead while the mice are dancing a bubble dance, appealingly majoring in accounting without understanding the economy of which it takes account.


[1]  ; 27/07/17

[2]            IFLScience – The lighter sight of science: Schrödinger’s Cat: Explained;ödinger’s-cat-explained/; 27/07/17

Digitisation – some general questions

A presentation under the title

‘Gig Sharing Economy’: Value Chains or Poverty Chains – Challenges posed by Digitisation in the Context of Globalisation

is now published. The presentation does not go into much details but aims on ventilating some general issues of a specific strand of digitisation, namely sharing economy, gig and cooperative economy and the like.

The presentation [i] explores a little bit the context of globalisaiton, [ii] considers the wider framework of reshaping capitalism and the composition of capital and [iii] looks at different classificatory aspects of the ‘new economies’.

It is part of my work at the moment, and further information may be found for instance via the following links: