Security and Risk – Challenges for Economy and Business in the Global 20th Century

Security and Risk – Challenges for Economy and Business in the Global 20th Century

SFB/TRR 138 and AKKU e.V.
Philipps Universität Marburg
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07.11.2024 - 08.11.2024
Marie Huber, Fachbereich Geschichte und Kulturwissenschaften, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Joint workshop organized by the CRC 138 "Dynamics of Security" and AKKU e.V.

Security and Risk – Challenges for Economy and Business in the Global 20th Century

Reflecting on the intricate tapestry of global economic activities reveals a complex interplay between national, regional, and international frameworks. Within these multifaceted layers, each decision, strategy, and policy is a thread woven into the broader economic fabric, shaping outcomes that transcend borders and epochs. It is in this global context that the CRC 138 "Dynamics of Security" (, together with AKKU e.V., is organizing a joint workshop on "Security and Risk - Challenges for Economy and Business in the global 20th Century". This workshop aims to shed light on the oft-overlooked dimensions of the interplay between security and risk in economic and business history.

In economics, the notion of risk (in a Schumpeterian sense) has long been acknowledged as a central driving force behind economic activities, propelling innovation, and decision-making. However, the concept of security—defined as the antithesis of uncertainty and threat—demands equal attention for its critical role in shaping economic landscapes. Our approach distinctly prioritizes the examination of security, aiming to illuminate the pivotal role of preventative measures, cautious strategies, (public) calls for measures that promote security and the deliberate avoidance of actions deemed too risky. It seeks to explore the less-trodden path of risks not taken, emphasizing decisions and strategies implemented to ensure stability and avert potential threats before they materialize. Our goal is to delve into how these security-focused interventions and foresighted approaches have shaped economic and business landscapes, underscoring the critical importance of prudence and prevention in navigating the complex interplay, as well as testing the conceptual borders of risk and security. We are interested in unraveling the complex relationship between risk and security, examining how they coexist, intersect, and influence each other in the economic domain.

At the company level, we aim to investigate the implications of security and risk on technology development, financing, investments, markets and value chains. Additionally, we seek insights into the expectations, perceptions, attitudes, and communication patterns of stakeholders involved: In which ways have dangers, risks and threats been addressed, constructed and negotiated? How did they shape entrepreneurial decision making? Did times of stability and security foster risk-taking?
Expanding our lens to a macroeconomic perspective, the conference will scrutinize economic policy, foreign trade policy, and the intricate dynamics of sectoral, cyclical, and state activities. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the security of (critical) infrastructures, supply and resource security, armaments, finance and investment, environmental concerns, state support measures, subsidies, protectionism, and international treaties and cooperation. A special emphasis will be placed on the shifting relations between the Western powers and the Global South during the transformative period of the Cold War and decolonization. We aim to explore how these changes influenced relationships not only among Western nations but also with those in the Global South, and how these historical dynamics continue to impact current economic and business strategies.

The conference is scheduled for November 7/8, 2024, at the Philipps University of Marburg. We invite scholars of all career stages from the fields of economics, business, history, and political economy to contribute their insights and research. We are interested in contributions that offer a business perspective, a policy-oriented perspective, or examine the interconnections between business and politics in the (global) 20th Century. This interdisciplinary approach aims to foster a comprehensive understanding of how security measures and risk avoidance strategies shape economic activities and business decisions.

The costs for travel and accommodation will be covered by the CRC 138 (DFG). A publication of the results is intended.
Please submit your proposals (abstracts of ca. 250 words and short bio) by 1st May 2024 via email to and


Please submit your proposals (abstracts of ca. 250 words and short bio) by 1st May 2024 via email to and