Author Archives: tomasundurraga

Workshop Report: “Social Studies of the economy in Latin America-UCL”

On July 1st, 2016 the workshop ‘Social Studies of the Economy in Latin America’ took place at the Science and Technology Studies Department, University College London. The meeting convened a number of outstanding academics, including several contributors to this blog. Because the topics discussed are of central concern to this group, we are taking the opportunity to share some impressions.

The workshop aimed to discuss leading research that offers a close-up examination of economic life. In particular, it was oriented to ethnographic research that sheds light on the multiple ways in which the economy, culture and technology intersect, and in which the economy as an object is constituted and performed. Elaborating on previous research into the world of economic policy-making and expertise, the media’s role in public economic discussion, the nature of economic calculation and its material devices, and the variety of economic knowledges, the workshop focused on the social studies of the economy in Latin America. At least three common threads emerged from the discussion.

I.

First, Mariana HerediaFederico Neiburg and Ana Gross’ papers examined disputes concerning consumer price indexes, the representations of inflation, and, more broadly, the way in which public numbers – their construction, treatment, publication, etc. – affects the economy. A second common thread between the papers was the attention paid to economic knowledge and economic practices. Continue reading

Workshop: Social Studies of the Economy in Latin America, UCL July 1

[El 1 de Julio se llevará a cabo el workshop: “Social Studies of the Economy in Latin America” en UCL-Londres. Un excelente programa lleno de contribuidores de este blog]  

In recent years there has been a renewed interest in research offering a close-up examination of economic life. In particular, ethnographic research has increasingly shed light on the multiple ways in which economy, culture and technology intersect, and in which the economy as an object is constituted and performed. Fertile inquiry has been conducted into the world of economic policy-making and expertise, the media’s role in the public economic discussion, the configuration of markets and economic subjects, the nature of economic calculation and its material devices, and the variety of economic knowledges, among other topics. This workshop will focus on the social studies of the economy in Latin America. It aspires to bring together a plurality of perspectives on the social nature of the economy in the region, and to discuss the advantages, limitations and challenges of the social studies of the economy for understanding Latin America’s political economy.

When: Friday 1st, July 2016. Where: Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL. Continue reading

Making news, making the economy: Technological changes and financial pressures in Brazil

Tomás Undurraga has just published the article ‘Making news, making the economy: Technological changes and financial pressures in Brazil’ in the journal Cultural Sociology. The article is open access so it can be downloaded from the journal’s page. The abstract reads as follow:

Media convergence and growing financial pressure on the journalistic field have triggered significant changes in newsmaking cultures across the world. This article examines the challenges of media convergence in the newsroom of Valor Econômico, the main economic newspaper in Brazil. In particular, it explores how the introduction in 2013 of Valor Pro, a real time news service oriented to the financial market, changed newsmaking practices at Valor Econômico. The introduction of Valor Pro meant that journalists from the whole newsroom had to report news simultaneously for three platforms: the real time service, the online website and the printed paper. This shift not only intensified journalists’ workloads and altered the manufacture of news, but also increased financial pressure on the paper’s agenda. I argue that this shift – from producing news for the public towards producing news for the market – cannot be explained solely with reference to traditional political economic factors such as ideological decisions at editorial level and the structural properties of the Brazilian media sphere. Instead, drawing on resources from cultural sociology and from science and technology studies, I provide a richer explanation that acknowledges the impact of technological innovation, the shifting nature of news values, and the agency of journalists themselves. This article elaborates on seven months of ethnographic fieldwork in Valor Econômico’s newsroom in São Paulo between 2013 and 2015 and contributes to the literature on cultural sociology, media studies and science and technology studies.

Presentación de Dossier especial sobre relaciones Estado, mercado y desarrollo

La Revista de Sociología e Política de Brasil publicó en su número v.23 n.55 de Septiembre de 2015 un dossier especial sobre las relaciones Estado, mercado y desarrollo. El dossier fue editado por los colaboradores de este blog Cristiano Monteiro y Tomás Undurraga, y entre los artículos presentes está la contribución de Antoine Maillet (ver post relacionado), también participante de EdlE. El objetivo de está colección es conectar investigaciones empíricas que estén en la interfaz entre sociología económica y la ciencia política en América Latina, y que re-visitan las preguntas clásicas sobre el desarrollo regional desde nuevas herramientas teóricas. Además de la presentación, el dossier está compuesto por cinco artículos. Continue reading

T. Undurraga responde comentarios sobre Divergencias

Divergencias-717x1024[La categoría “debate” es una sección dedicada a discutir a partir de libros publicados por los contribuidores de Estudios de la Economía. En este post Tomás Undurraga responde los comentarios sobre su libro Divergencias: trayectorias del neoliberalismo en Argentina y Chile (Ediciones UDP, 2014)]

Quisiera partir agradeciendo a José Ossandón (y a Felipe González) por mantener activa esta comunidad de estudios sociales de la economía y por el debate académico que promueven. Los comentarios a continuación apuntan a responder las observaciones y preguntas planteadas por Aldo Madariaga y Federico Lorenc Valcarce sobre Divergencias en este blog, y en segunda instancia, a las reseñas que Kathya Araujo, Cristóbal Bellolio y Raimundo Frei Toledo hicieron sobre el mismo libro en otros espacios. Mis agradecimientos por el tiempo de cada uno, por sus críticas y reflexiones. Tal vez sea un lugar común subrayar que una vez impresos, los libros viajan y escapan de los autores. No por ello es menos cierto que cada lector toma aquello que le hace sentido o sorprende y que también reacciona contra los argumentos que le parecen menos logrados. Los comentarios de estos cinco lectores evidencian no sólo las veredas intelectuales desde donde sitúan sus análisis – Araujo desde la sociología de los actores, Frei Toledo desde la sociología de la cultura, Bellolio desde la ciencia política, Madariaga desde las variedades de capitalismo y Lorenc Valcarce desde la sociología política – sino también que este es un libro híbrido, que en su afán de plantear una sociología comparada, terminó ubicándose en la intersección de dos literaturas – las variedades de capitalismo y la sociología cultural. Por eso mismo, está expuesto al examen de éstas y otras discusiones en que se inmiscuye dentro y fuera de la sociología.

Agradezco las menciones a los contenidos y pasajes mejor logrados del libro. En estas líneas me centraré en las principales críticas y controversias. Para ello quisiera aclarar dos puntos. Primero, el libro terminó siendo más extenso y ambicioso de lo que lo imaginé cuando comencé mi investigación. Segundo, y acaso por la mismo razón, con sus aciertos y fallas, se vuelve más vulnerable a distintos tipos de críticas especializadas. Organizaré mis comentarios en torno a tres puntos. A partir de la pregunta de Aldo sobre las decisiones editoriales, realizaré una suerte de genealogía de Divergencias para explicitar mis decisiones de investigación y el recorrido (y también la distancia) entre la tesis original y la confección del libro. Luego me explayaré sobre la tensión existente a través del texto entre la sociología de la cultura y las variedades de capitalismo que Aldo, Raimundo y Kathya mencionan. Por último, discutiré la cuestión metodológica planteada por Federico sobre cómo enfrentar el problema de hacer sociología comparada sin contar con toda la información que cuentan los nativos, y cómo enfrentar los discursos de los actores e intelectuales locales para la reconstrucción de época. Continue reading

2 Post-doctoral research positions at UCL London: Economics in the Public Sphere

Research Associate: Economics in the Public Sphere – 2 Posts, – Ref:1458983. Salary (inclusive of London allowance) £33,353 -£40,313 per annum. Duties and Responsibilities. UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies seeks to appoint 2 Postdoctoral Research Associates as part of a European Research Council funded project, “Economics in the Public Sphere: USA, UK, France, Brazil and Argentina since 1945”. “Economics in the public sphere” examines the social and cultural factors shaping the media’s representation of economic knowledge. It sets out to study newsrooms as sites for the production of knowledge. From this vantage point we examine how journalists’ parse competing claims of expertise by scholars, political elites and social movements. We look at the formation of journalistic genres and interrogate how they frame representations of the economy, of value, and of economic reason. The postholders will contribute to the overall project objectives, and will undertake specialised research on the national economic press since 1945 for one national case study, to be assigned by the project director. The two case studies are United Kingdom and Argentina. The postholders will be expected to define a research agenda within the broad framework of the project’s central questions. The posts are available for 12 months in the first instance, with an expected start date of no later than 1st September 2015. Continue reading

Book Review: Workers Go Shopping in Argentina

Based on novel historiographical research, Natalia Milanesio’s book: Workers Go Shopping in Argentina: The Rise of Popular Consumer Culture (Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 2013) illuminates the transformative experience of mass consumption during the Perón years in Argentina. Although unionisation, minimum wage requirements and work regulations increased the purchasing power of the working classes during the 1950s, Milanesio argues that advertisers, the press and state officials also helped turn workers into consumers by imagining and debating their integration into market society in certain ways. According to Milanesio’s finegrained account, mass-market participation during this period altered both private and public life, challenging gender relations within households as well as class distinctions in the public sphere. But Milanesio’s capacious argument goes further. She sees the rise of popular consumer culture as nothing less than cause and consequence of the structural transformations of mid-twentieth century Argentina. Working-class consumers became modernising agents of social change, helping to shape a new commercial ethos, transform social relations and collective identities, as well as redefining the role of the state as a mediator between business and clients.

Continue reading

Cfp_ International Conference on 175 years of The Economist

International Conference on 175 years of The EconomistDeadline for submissions: 15 May 2015. In 2018 the Economist magazine will be 175 years old. This conference is a prelude to a book that will examine the political, economic and cultural impact of one of the most significant news publications in the modern world. The workshop will take place at University College London over 2 days: 24-25 September 2015. We seek to bring together journalists and researchers from many fields including economic, social and political historians, cultural analysts, sociologists, literary and media scholars.

Papers are invited on any topic connected to The Economist, past and present, and the following suggested topics are intended to be neither prescriptive nor comprehensive: Continue reading

Cfp_175 years of The Economist: International Conference (24 and 25 September 2015) DEADLINE: 15 May 2015

In 2018 the Economist magazine will be 175 years old. This conference is a prelude to a book that will examine the political, economic and cultural impact of one of the most significant news publications in the modern world. The workshop will take place at University College London over 2 days: 24-25 of September 2015. We seek to bring together journalists and researchers from many fields including economic, social and political historians, cultural analysts, sociologists, literary and media scholars. Papers are invited on any topic connected to The Economist, past and present, and the following suggested topics are intended to be neither prescriptive nor comprehensive: Continue reading

T. Undurraga presenta: Divergencias: trayectorias del neoliberalismo en Argentina y Chile

Divergencias-717x1024[El miércoles 14 de enero, en la Universidad Diego Portales, fue presentado Divergencias: trayectorias del neoliberalismo en Argentina y ChileQuisiera agradecer a los participantes de este blog, pues muchas de las discusiones, preguntas y literatura que transitan por este espacio fueron fuente de dialogo o material de estudio directo para la realización de este libro. Aprovecho de compartir las palabras que mencioné durante el lanzamiento.]

Buenas tardes. Muchas gracias por estar aquí. Me siento halagado por las generosas y provocadoras palabras de Kathya Araujo, Alfredo Joignant y Eugenio Tironi. Intentaré hacerme cargo de algunas sus comentarios. Continue reading