T. Undurraga reseña y comenta Freedom from Work de D. Fridman

Billedresultat[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 comenta el libro Freedom from Work: Embracing Financial Self-Help in the United States and Argentina, (Stanford University Press 2017) de Daniel Fridman. El debate sobre “Freedom from Work” continuará con un comentario de Tomás Ariztía, para terminar con una respuesta de Daniel a los comentaristas] 

Based on careful ethnographic research, this book provides a compelling account of how financial self-help followers aim to change their economic thinking, adopt new practices and thereby reach financial freedom. Freedom from work investigates the expansion of neoliberalism not at a structural level, but rather at the micro level where self-governance is shaped. It follows financial self-help groups, artefacts and actors, paying attention to the philosophy and materiality of their actions – e.g. forums, board games, interactions. The book is based on a two-year ethnographic fieldwork (2008 – 2009) with groups of financial self-help fans in New York and Buenos Aires. Specifically, it focuses on the cult-like influence of Robert Kiyosaki’s bestselling books and how devoted readers adopted and spread their views, aiming to do business, gain new followers, and change their lives.

Fridman offers a comprehensive explanation of the logic of financial self-help circuits, the promises which engage fans, and the practices distinctive of the programme. According to Fridman, the popularity of Kiyosaki’s books can be explained by a powerful combination of motivational elements, engaging tools for the development of rational thinking, and his sociological interpretation of late capitalism changes. The book argues that it is the combination of these elements that makes Kiyosaki’s ideas so popular. First, financial fans are personally challenged to voluntarily change their economic perspective, developing the courage to overcome their fears about money. Second, this philosophy promotes discipline in acquiring new financial expertise and tools (literacy in economic history, business planning, accounting practices, taxes, investing). Fans are then encouraged to use these techniques to change their economic practices. Third, Kiyosaki’s programme offers a diagnosis of contemporary capitalism – e.g. the rise of globalisation, the state’s changing role in the economy, and the decline of working conditions – that helps readers make sense of their own personal experiences, and financial grievances. Kiyosaki thus criticises the crises of industrial capitalism, at the same time inviting followers to survive by themselves in this brave new world.

Freedom from work is at its most impressive in revealing the logic by which this financial self-help programme produces the ‘neoliberal self’. Continue reading


Coloquio “El abordaje de objetos económicos desde las CCSS” 

INVITACIÓN. Ciclo de Coloquios en Métodos e Investigación Social, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Diego Portales.

Los invitamos a una nueva instancia del coloquio sobre la construcción y estudio de objetos de investigación desde las CCSS. En esta ocasión el coloquio se centrara en reflexionar “El abordaje de objetos económicos desde las CCSS”.


  • Dr. Tomás Undurraga, Universidad Alberto Hurtado: “Esfera Pública Económica: abordando un objeto lateral difuso”. 
  • Dr. José Ossandón, Copenhagen Business School: “El concepto de Mercado”.

La actividad se realizará el miércoles 10 de enero a las 13:00 horas, en la sala de reuniones de la Casona de Postgrados UDP, ubicada en Ejército 260, Santiago. Confirmar asistencia aquí.

Seminario: “Appetite for innovation”

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Llamado Tesistas Magister en Tema Comportamiento Moral y Afines

Estimados Colegas, dejo con Ustedes las bases del llamado a concurso para financiamiento al desarrollo de tesis de magister del proyecto FONDECYT que lidera el Dr. Mauricio Salgado. Se trata de una beca por un monto de $1.000.000, para el periodo 2018. Existen seis becas disponibles. Favor comunicar a todo posibles interesado. Detalles de cómo postular, se pueden obtener en las mismas bases.

Betting on other people’s lives

Esta semana apareció en Public Books un excelente ensayo-reseña en que Daniel Fridman discute tres libros recientes de estudios sociales de las finanzas, con un especial énfasis en como las finanzas recientes cuestionan las formas tradicionales de representación sociológica. El link al artículo es: disponible en: http://www.publicbooks.org/betting-on-other-peoples-lives/



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.

Continue reading

8 Doctoral Positions in Economic Sociology and Political Economy at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Up to 8 Doctoral Positions in Economic Sociology and Political Economy
at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, the University of Cologne,
and the University of Duisburg-Essen. The International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy (IMPRS-SPCE), conducted jointly by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies and the University of Cologne, with the University of Duisburg-Essen as an associated partner, invites excellent candidates to apply for its doctoral program. The graduate school features a unique curriculum of core courses, research methods, electives, and summer school sessions. The positions begin on October 1, 2018. They will be awarded for 15 months with an option for an additional 27 months. The deadline for applications is February 28, 2018. 

For more information, Continue reading

Cfp_Contested markets: Lessons from cannabis legalization

Call for Papers “Contested markets: Lessons from cannabis legalization”, HEC Paris, June 18-19, 2018. The workshop will take place over two half days at HEC Paris in June 18-19, 2018. Lunches and dinner will be provided by the organizers. Participation will be limited to less than ten papers. Deadlines: Submit an abstract (maximum 500 words) to Daniel Martinez (martinez@hec.fr) by March 1, 2018. For further information please contact: Dane Pflueger pflueger@hec.fr or Daniel Martinez martinez@hec.fr. Detailed call for papers here:  Continue reading

Taller / Webinar de Historia Económica y Empresarial


Painel: Estudos Sociais das Finanças

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Na quinta-feira, 07 de dezembro, Annelise Riles (Cornell University) e Eugênia Motta (IESP/UERJ) participarão do painel “Estudos Sociais das Finanças” moderado por Gustavo Onto (IFCS/UFRJ). Inscrições pelo site: www.iecbrazil.com.br