Tag Archives: Callon

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


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


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

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?


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

New book: Markets and the Arts of Attachment

[Routledge acaba de publicar un nuevo libro – Markets and the Arts of Attachment, editado por Franck Cochoy, Joe Deville, Liz McFall – de posible interés para los lectores de este blog]

Markets and the Arts of Attachment (Hardback) book coverMarkets and the Arts of Attachment, edited by Franck Cochoy, Joe Deville, Liz McFall

Table of Contents

Introduction: Markets and the Arts of Attachment, (Liz McFall, Franck Cochoy, Joe Deville)

  1. From Social Ties to Socio-Economic Attachments: A Matter of Selection and Collection, (Franck Cochoy)
  2. Manufacturing the Consumer’s Truth: The Uses of Consumer Research in Advertising Inquiry, (Tomas Ariztia)
  3. Marketing and the Domestication of Social Media, (Kevin Mellet)
  4. Interfacing Attachments: The Multivalence of Brands, (Carolin Gerlitz)
  5. You are a Star Customer, Please Hold the Line…’: CRM and the Socio-Technical Inscriptions of Market Attachment, (Alexandre Mallard)
  6. The Market will Have you: The Arts of Market Attachment in a Digital Economy, (Liz McFall and Joe Deville)
  7. ‘My Story has no Strings Attached’: Credit Cards, Market Devices and a Stone Guest, (José Ossandón)
  8. From Market Relations to Romantic Ties: The Tests of Internet Dating, (Emmanuel Kessous)
  9. Acquiring Associations: On the Unexpected Social Consequences of Possessive Relations, (Hans Kjellberg)

Afterword: The Devices of Attachment, (Michel Callon)

Continue reading

Where do groovy markets come from? A conversation with Liz McFall

Liz McFall (Head of the Department of Sociology at the Open University, one of the editors of the Journal of Cultural Economy and site manager of Charisma-Market Studies) has been crafting a very distinctive approach, in the context of recent SSF, to finance. She doesn’t write about esoteric derivatives but about domestic financial goods such as insurance and consumer lending. Most of her research is based on historical data, not on interviews or participant observation, and her conceptual interest is not calculation, rankings or formulae but charisma. In this conversation, carried out last May in Copenhagen, I use McFall’s last book Devising Consumption. Cultural Economies of Insurance, Credit and Spending as an excuse to make her expand on some of the characteristic features of her work.

Q1. Devising Consumption has five main chapters, accordingly have I prepared five questions, although, and I am sorry for that, my questions neither follow the order of the book nor do they necessarily correspond to particular chapters. Continue reading

Studying the Failures of Markets for Collective Concerns

[En diciembre pasado, con mis colegas Christian Frankel y Trine Pallesen organizamos el workshop “Markets for collective concerns?”. Escribimos un reporte sobre el evento para el último número de  EASST Review. Comienza así:]

“The workshop “Markets for Collective Concerns?”, that we co-orga­nized, was held at Copenhagen Business School last December 11th and 12th. These brief notes are not a summary. It is our attempt to start digesting the vertigo we still feel about the important questions and challenges for future social and STS inspired studies of markets that were posed during those two days. We will, hopefully, be able to produ­ce a clearer statement of these issues in the expected edited publication collecting the contributions to the workshop. […] The title of the workshop referred to markets that are created not only to ensure economic exchange, but also to deal with specific collective concerns -e.g. poverty, energy supply, and global warming. Markets developed as policy instruments.” Continue reading

Una sociología cultural del capitalismo contemporáneo. Comentario del libro “Divergencias. Trayectorias del neoliberalismo en Argentina y Chile” de Tomás Undurraga

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 Federico Lorenc Valcarce continua el debate sobre Divergencias: trayectorias del neoliberalismo en Argentina y Chile (Ediciones UDP, 2014) iniciado por Aldo Madariaga. El debate a partir de este libro concluirá en unas semanas con una respuesta del autor Tomás Undurraga.]

El libro de Tomás Undurraga nos ofrece una comparación sistemática entre las variedades del capitalismo en Argentina y Chile, con especial énfasis en la fase neoliberal que se desarrolla desde los años 70’. Para hacerlo, construye un marco analítico que permite describir los derroteros de ambos países en torno a cuatro grandes dimensiones: la implantación de una sociedad neoliberal, las instituciones políticas y sociales que enmarcan al capitalismo contemporáneo, el papel de las empresas, los empresarios y el modo de organización del trabajo, la legitimación cultural del capitalismo en su fase actual. A partir de esta grilla conceptual, se ofrece un análisis de gran escala, que considera los fenómenos desde la perspectiva de los grandes agregados sociales y los marcos institucionales generales. Estos cuatro aspectos constituyen cada una de las partes del libro, precedidas por una discusión teórica y metodológica general que se presenta en la primera parte.

En comparación con otros trabajos sobre el desarrollo del capitalismo en América Latina, y en particular, comparado con los estudios sobre el neoliberalismo, el libro tiene la originalidad de problematizar las justificaciones ideológicas de los modelos existentes en ambos países, apoyándose para ello en la perspectiva de Boltanski y Chiapello. Continue reading

Offre de thèse: Dynamiques sociotechniques et processus d’innovation autour du machinisme pour l’agriculture familiale en Argentine et au Brésil

[De http://socioeco.hypotheses.org/2169Offre de thèse : Dynamiques sociotechniques et processus d’innovation autour du machinisme pour l’agriculture familiale en Argentine et au Brésil.

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On ethnography, collaboration and social studies of finance besides performativity. An interview with Annelise Riles

Collateral KnowledgeAnnelise Riles’s (Professor of Law in Far East Legal Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Cornell) work is characterized by an intense and productive dialogue between law and anthropology. This results in a form of research which, simultaneously, brings legal reasoning to the center of the ethnographer’s concern (as an object of social scientific investigation) and makes this same reasoning a productive tool for anthropological inquiry. In this conversation carried out right after the workshop ‘Markets for Collective Concerns?’ held last December at Copenhagen Business School, Riles discusses her latest book on her long-term ethnographic work with financial regulators and lawyers in Japan, Collateral Knowledge, and her more recent articles on collaborative research. The interview was conducted by José Ossandón and Gustavo Onto helped elaborate the questions. Continue reading