Category Archives: Artículo en cuotas

The concept of market (Part 3)

[El nombre de esta sección es “artículos en cuotas”. La idea es, como en una novela por entregas, ir subiendo partes de papers a medida que vayan saliendo. El texto abajo es un borrador de un artículo en el que trabajo. Presenté la primera versión en EGOS este año y esto que estoy subiendo acá es una segunda versión, pero aun, borrador y sin edición del inglés. Además de la introducción, el artículo se compondrá de cuatro secciones. Cada parte será una entrega que iré subiendo a medida que tenga las nuevas versiones listas. El texto abajo es la tercera entrega. Como siempre, sugerencias son muy bienvenidas]

The concept of Market (Part 3): Conceptual stances after the concept of organization

(Part 1 available here, and Part 2 here)

draft 14/12/2017

Sociologist of Czech origin, Egon Bittner published in 1965 a paper titled ‘The Concept of Organization’. The article problematized some of the challenges notions like ‘formal and rational organization’ pose to the researchers that use them.

In Bittner’s words:

‘the sociologist finds himself [sic] in the position of having borrowed a concept from those he seeks to study in order to describe what he observes about them’ (Bittner 2013 [1965]; p.176).

Concepts like formal and rational organization are used by researchers, like sociologists and experts in management, and are used also by practitioners involved in the everyday practice of organizing, such as managers and consultants. Researchers, Bittner explains, have so far followed two strategies to deal with this situation. Often times, they ‘proceed to investigate formal organization while assuming that the unexplicated common-sense meanings of the terms are adequate definitions’ (Bittner 2013 [1965]; p.180). Notions like formal and rational organization are taken as terms that are understood by those who use them and therefore do not need a more specific treatment. Other times, researchers take an almost opposite path. They provide technical definitions for terms such as organization that might well contradict the meaning given to these notions in their ordinary usage. In this latter case, ‘interest in the actor’s perspective is either deliberately abandoned, or some fictitious version of it is adopted’ (Bittner 2013 [1965]; p.176). The two strategies, Bittner suggests, are unsatisfactory. In his view, social researchers cannot simply ignore the fact that notions like formal and rational organization are part of their object of inquiry; these are ‘schemes of interpretation that competent and entitled users can invoke in yet unknown ways whenever it suits their purposes’ (Bittner 2013 [1965]; p.182). Accordingly, researchers should develop analytical strategies to study how actors skillfully use and deploy these terms in their practices. For instance: they could study how different activities are deemed irrational and which ones are tolerated or how actors invoke different meanings of a similar concept in different situations.

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The concept of market (Part 2)

[El nombre de esta sección es “artículos en cuotas”. La idea es, como en una novela por entregas, ir subiendo partes de papers a medida que vayan saliendo. El texto abajo es un borrador de un artículo en el que trabajo. Presenté la primera versión en EGOS este año y esto que estoy subiendo acá es una segunda versión, pero aun, borrador y sin edición del inglés. Además de la introducción, el artículo se compondrá de cuatro secciones. Cada parte será una entrega que iré subiendo a medida que tenga las nuevas versiones listas. El texto abajo es la segunda entrega y la primera sección del artículo (ver acá la entrega anterior, la introducción). Como siempre, sugerencias son muy bienvenidas]

The concept of Market

José Ossandón, draft 4/12/2017

Concepts of markets after market design

The following extract is taken from a talk given by the winner of the 2012 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Memory of Alfred Nobel and renowned market designer Alvin Roth:

‘So, first of all think about market design, because market design is an ancient human activity. But because markets are so pervasive we think them a little bit like language. Languages and markets are both human artifacts. But we don’t think of language as something we can change, but as something we get. I speak to you in English and I have to speak in the same kind of English that you speak, otherwise it wouldn’t work. Often we think of markets on that way too: markets just happen. But, of course, markets are human artifacts and market design is that engineering part of microeconomics, that part that fixes markets when they are broken or make new ones sometimes.’ [i]

Roth presents a constructivist approach. He emphasizes that markets are both, like language, a social product, and like other artifacts, the outcome of purposely applied technical knowledge. This description would easily fit recent sociological accounts of markets; but, it would appear as strange in the context of traditional conceptualizations of markets in economics.

A dominant position in the economic sciences of the second half of the 20th century conceived markets in opposition to organization. While organizations were associated to features such as planning, hierarchy, or centralized decision making; markets were seen as decentralized, spontaneous and even inherently non-designable entities. Continue reading

The concept of market (Part 1)

[El nombre de esta sección es “artículos en cuotas”. La idea es, como en una novela por entregas, ir subiendo partes de papers a medida que vayan saliendo. El texto abajo es un borrador de la introducción de un artículo en el que trabajo. Presenté la primera versión en EGOS este año y esto que estoy subiendo acá es una segunda versión, pero aun, borrador y sin edición del inglés. Además de la introducción, el artículo se compondrá de cuatro partes. Cada parte será una entrega que iré subiendo a medida que tenga las nuevas versiones listas. Como siempre, sugerencias son muy bienvenidas]

The concept of Market

José Ossandón, draft 30/11/2017

Introduction

The emergence of the broad set of practices and techniques grouped under the label of ‘market design’ makes apparent a challenge that has been avoided for too long in organizational and sociological studies of markets. The challenge can be illustrated with the example of school place allocation.

School allocation is a policy instrument increasingly popular among governments and policy makers. It consists in implementing algorithms to match two set of priorities; families’ preferred schools and schools’ available vacancies. School allocation is also one of the most recognized examples of ‘market design’ (Cantillon 2017). Markets designers label situations such as school place allocations, which do not feature some of the basic elements included in traditional social scientific definitions of markets (for instance: money, prices, or the transference of property rights), as market. In this context, social researchers interested in inspecting a situation like school place allocation are pushed to ask themselves a basic question: should the social researcher follow the definitions of markets accepted in their academic fields or they should take the definitions of market designers? In the following pages, I expect to demonstrate that school allocation is not merely a marginal example. It is “an extreme case” (Flyvbjerg 2006) that can be productively used as a provocation to initiate a broader discussion about the concept of market. Continue reading

What can social research learn from the savage detectives’ mode of inquiry?

[El nombre de esta sección es “artículos en cuotas”. La idea es, como en una novela por entregas, ir subiendo partes de papers a medida que vayan saliendo. El texto abajo es el segundo post de este tipo. Es un (muy) borrador de la primera parte de un capítulo para el libro Organization 2666 editado por Christian de Cock, Sine Nørholm Just, y Damian O’Doherty. Como el título lo indica el libro reunirá contribuciones que conectan la literatura de Roberto Bolaño y los estudios de las organizaciones]

What can social research learn from the savage detectives’ mode of inquiry? José Ossandón

Image result for Los Detectives salvajes “Soñé que era un detective viejo y enfermo que buscaba gente perdida hace tiempo. A veces me miraba casualmente en un espejo y reconocía a Roberto Bolaño” (Bolaño quoted in Trelles 2008: 271)

“Los detectives de Bolaño, pues, como en sus poemas, como en sus sueños y como en la mayoría de sus ficciones, son poetas en búsqueda permanente de otros poetas pero que, a su vez, serán objeto de búsquedas posteriores que repiten las circunstancias  y las carencias singulares de las suyas” (Trelles 2008: 287)

 

Crime fiction has been read as a mirror of social research.

In The Arcades Project, Benjamin (1999) notes that Allan Poe’s Dupin is like a physiognomist. Like the ‘Man of the Crowd’, who reads the signs hidden in the masses, Dupin deciphers the traces left in the bourgeois domestic space. The detective’s inquiry works at a level of abstraction that Benjamin recognizes as the key to 19th century society. Like financial commodities and collections, the detective’s mode of knowledge production works by assembling series out of previously unconnected events. Carlo Ginzburg (1983, 2004) has developed the comparison further. In his view, it is in the 19th century that the case study, represented in figures such as Peirce, Morelli and Freud, reaches its consolidation as a scientific method. It is this type of ‘abductive’ research that is represented in Conan Doyle’s Holmes. Sherlock is a sharp reader of signs, a non-stopping abductive machine that can connect a unique trace with massive amount of updated scientific knowledge in order to come up with the hypothesis that will solve the case. Continue reading

How to write after performativity? (part 1)

[Este es una prueba de un nuevo tipo de post en este blog. El nombre de la sección por ahora es “artículos en cuotas”. La idea es, como en una novela por entregas, ir subiendo partes de papers a medida que vayan saliendo. El texto abajo es un primer intento. Es un borrador de la primera parte de un capítulo para el libro A Routledge Companion to ANT, editado por Anders Blok, Ignacio Farías & Celia Roberts. Por cierto, sugerencias sobre como debería seguir la historia son muy bienvenidos]

How to write after performativity? José Ossandón.

First installment of a chapter prepared for A Routledge Companion to ANT, edited by Anders Blok, Ignacio Farías & Celia Roberts. Non-proof read draft.

I. The question

The editors of this volume confronted each invited contribution with a question. The question posed for this chapter is ‘how to write after performativity?’ What is this chapter about?

Performativity

This chapter is not about performativity at large. It is not about the ‘performativity turn’ (Muniesa 2014) in the social sciences and humanities. It is not about the philosophy of language of Austin and Searle, it is not about Butler or Derrida, and it is not about Lyotard. It is about the particular extension of Actor-Network theory initiated by Michel Callon to the study of markets, movement which is normally associated with the word performativity[1]. The chapter does not deal with all the different theories Callon has successfully introduced in the study of economic problems. The chapter only tangentially touches issues such as Callon’s particular approach to the qualification of goods (Callon et al 2002), hybrid forums, affected groups and technological democracy (Callon 2009, TCS), and innovation (Akrich et al 2002). The chapter focuses on what Callon has – in part in order to distinguish his own emphases from the many other branches of the performativity turn – termed ‘performation’[2]: his theory to explain the ‘emergence and logic of calculative agencies’ (Callon 1998a: 24).

After performativity

After, writes Peter Sloterdijk, ‘is the name for a break, an epoche, in the traditional sense of the word, which indicates both the caesura and also the time following it’ (Sloterdijk 2016: pp[3]). After performativity is, then, not against, versus, or even beyond performativity; it refers to the possibilities that have been opened and were not before the breach introduced by the theory of interest here. It is, as it were, about the performativity of performativity. Continue reading