Prof. Dr. Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

Fellow (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)


Weltbeziehungen / C19.01.37

+49 361 737-2809

Office hours

nach Vereinbarung

Visiting address

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Prof. Dr. Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

Research project: COEVOLVERS

What do nature-based solutions mean for society and non-humans?

A new project has just been launched to explore how nature-based solutions can contribute to the societal change needed to address the ongoing biodiversity and climate crisis.

Please access the project page here.

SFB Research project

Hybrid ownership structures in state capitalism

Ownership-based society, socio-economic differentiation and Governmentality analysed through the example of Shenzhen, China

The project explores the interdependencies at play between the hybrid land ownership rights and the emergence of structures that are characteristic of property-based societies following China’s transformation into a market economy. It further investigates how this process yields new relationships between state and society (Governmentality).

In a case study, the researchers analyse five ‘joint-stock cooperatives’ in Shenzhen, which operate both as parafiscal and corporate entities in the context of Chinese ‘urban villages’. The data are collected in semi-structured and standardised interviews for a range of stakeholder groups, including representatives of the aforementioned organisations and companies and residents of the urban villages.

Click here for the project page at the SFB 294 Structural Change of Property.

Research project: Economic Philosophy of the Anthropocene

Economic Philosophy of the Anthropocene

I am a researcher in transdisciplinary human sciences, with expertise in economics, philosophy and Chinese studies. Detailed information about my work can be found on my personal homepage: and on Research Gate, with many downloadable materials. My current research concentrates on two domains:

1. I pursue a 5-year project on the economic philosophy of the Anthropocene, which bridges evolutionary economics, ecological economics, philosophy, and the sciences, and builds on my magnum opus ‘Foundations of Economic Evolution: A treatise on the Natural Philosophy of Economics’ (2013). The project subdivides in several research topics, most of which focus on the ‘technosphere’. In the Earth sciences, this term has been introduced in parallel to the term ‘biosphere’ and refers to the domain of artefacts created by humans and which manifests complex interactions with other spheres. Topics are: Economic agency in the technosphere; the semiotics of the technosphere; energy and information in technosphere evolution; general evolutionary theory of bio-technosphere co-evolution; and geoethics. I published a programmatic paper in the journal ‘Ecological Economics’: The Case for a New Discipline: Technosphere Science, Ecological Economics, 149, 2018, 212-225. This work has resulted in a book (in German) co-authored with a businessman, Stephan Bannas, that outlines a comprehensive transformation of our economic system: Market Economy – Towards a New Reality. 30 Theses on the Transformation of Our Economic System (Schaeffer-Poeschel) (November 2020). On this theme, I maintain my own blog:

2. Starting out from my other magnum opus on China published in 2017 ‘China’s Economic Culture: The Ritual Order of State and Markets’, together with Chinese colleagues Guo Man and Feng Xingyuan I am exploring the ritual economy in the Chinese megalopolis Shenzhen. This includes regular fieldwork in China, where we investigate into the role of religion and kinship in economic practices. This is grounded in theoretical work on the role of ritual in modern societies and relates to recent research in China studies on ‘cultural governance’. Until 2018, this work was included in the MWK DFG Research Group: Religious individualization in historical perspective. The research resulted in book published in winter 2020: Ritual and Economy in Metropolitan China: A Global Social Science Approach (Routledge).

Aside from these two major research areas, I was one of the principal researchers of the ERA-NET NEURON project ‘The integration of cross-disciplinary research in neuroscience and social science – a methodological case study on economic policies and the neuroscience of agency’. I work on philosophical foundations for integrating the neurosciences with the social sciences. The results of this project are published in a volume co-edited with Jens Harbecke: Social Neuroeconomics: Mechanistic Integration of the Neurosciences and the Social Sciences (Routledge, 2020). My own work has been published in leading journals of the field, such as Economic & Philosophy. This work is continued with a new book project: I collaborate with the economist and experimental psychologist Frédéric Basso of LSE on a book entitled Brain, Body and Markets: Outline of a grounded cognition theory of economic behaviour (Palgrave MacMillan).

Finally, together with my former PhD student and professor at TH Wildau, Christian Hederer, I work on a hybrid monograph and textbook of economics: A New Principles of Economics: The Science of Markets (Routledge).

Further Information

  • Teaching at Erfurt University (regularly):
    Winter term: Economic Ethics: A Problem-based Introduction
    Summer Term: Introduction into Ecological Economics