Katharina Pistor

Columbia University

Coded Power

“Coded power” denotes the ways in which power is configured and reproduced in complex societies. Its remit is not command and control, but language, symbols, images, and also access to knowledge and information. The legal and the digital codes are examples of highly abstract systems of coded power that shape individual and collective behavior ubiquitously and indirectly. During my time at the Institute, I will explore the emergence and diffusion of coded power in domains as different as the Church’s monopoly over the bible and how Facebook surveilles how people share information on digitized social networks.

Katharina Pistor is Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law at Columbia Law School and director of the Law School’s Center on Global Legal Transformation. Her teaching and research spans comparative law and corporate governance, law and finance, and law and development. She is the co-recipient of the Max Planck Research Award (2012), and a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg and the European Academies of Science. She loves music and plays the harpsichord.

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