Tag Archives: Du Gay

How to write after Callon’s performativity? (final part)

[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 la tercera parte de un capítulo para el libro A Routledge Companion to ANT, editado por Anders Blok, Ignacio Farías & Celia Roberts. Las primeras dos partes están acá y acá. Una versión completa del texto en su versión actual está disponible acá]

How to write after Callon’s performativity? José Ossandón.

[Third and final instalment of chapter prepared for A Routledge Companion to ANT, edited by Anders Blok, Ignacio Farías & Celia Roberts. Draft October 2018.]

Part III. The characters

The previous section was about the research persona created with Callon’s performativity thesis. It showed that Callon used Garcia-Parpet’s case to create a new position to approach markets. This section explores work conducted after Callon. It revises work that is not set against or beyond but that follows Callon’s performativity thesis, and that, a bit like Callon did with Garcia-Parpet, has enacted different research personae. The following lines distinguish three different characters, three different sets of instructions of how to write after Callon’s performativity.

Before moving on there are two disclaimers to make. Callon’s performativity thesis has inspired thousands of papers in several sub-disciplines (Cochoy 2014, McFall & Ossandón 2014). The distinction between the three different ways of writing after Callon proposed here is informed by years of close reading of this literature, but it cannot claim to be exhaustive. The typology should be read as a tentative classificatory hypothesis. Second, it is worth mentioning that some of the questions posed here have been asked before. Inspired by Ian Hunter’s (2006) critical historical analysis of recent humanities, Du Gay (2010) identified a tension in the work of Callon and colleagues. Sometimes, this work is descriptive and empirically oriented, while other times it is populated by empirically untestable statements. Jenle (2015) picked the label Du Gay uses, the ‘theoreticist’, to characterize the stance of work informed by Callon’s performativity program. He identifies two features: ‘a primary commitment to or prioritization of the development of generally applicable conceptualizations of markets’ and ‘a lack of concern with the object of study as constituted by an empirical state of affairs’ (Jenle 2015: 216). The exercise here is certainly inspired by these discussions. It will be argued, for instance, that Callon’s theory has enabled the development of different personae and that these have different stances in relation to empirical inquiry. The point here, however, is not to evaluate whether the orientation of the performativity thesis is empiricist enough. Neither is it to identify this theory’s overall stance. The point is rather to identify the type of research personae, the implicit characters and the rules set to them, enacted with and after Callon’s approach to markets. Continue reading

Max Weber’s Sciences as a Vocation 100 years on: Context and continuing Significance

Acaba de aparecer en Sociológica (International Journal for Sociological Debate) una sección especial a 100 años de ‘La Ciencia como Vocación’ de Max Weber. La sección, editada por Paul du Gay y José Ossandón, presenta dos excelentes artículos en que los historiadores de las ideas Keith Tribe e Ian Hunter re-visitan el contexto y las interpretaciones de la famosa charla de Weber. Incluye además un breve ensayo introductorio en que los editores se preguntan sobre la relevancia de la charla de Weber para la práctica sociológica hoy y un comentario final de Du Gay. Los artículos están disponibles y de libre accesso acá: https://sociologica.unibo.it/. De possible interés el debate en el mismo número de Sociologica en que muy connotados investigadores (por ejemplo, Abbott, Swedberg, Bearman, Czarniawska, DiMaggio, Fourcade, Suchman) discuten sus heurísticas o métodos para descubrir nuevas ideas.

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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Seminars with Keith Tribe

Image result for the economy of the wordKeith Tribe will be visiting CBS in November where he will give two seminars jointly organized by the CBS Public-Private Platform’s cluster on Market and Valuation and the research programme ‘Office as a Vocation’.  On November 23rd, the title of the seminar will be “The history of concepts as a method to study the economy and markets”. On November 24th, the title of the seminar will be “Max Weber’s Lecture: Science as a Vocation”.

Keith Tribe

Keith Tribe has a long-standing interest in conceptual and economic history, language and translation as well as an interest in the work of Max Weber. In April 2015, he published the book The Economy of the Word: Language, History, and Economics with Oxford University Press and is currently working on a new translation of Max Weber’s Economy and Society for Harvard University Press. Keith Tribe has also played a huge role in the dissemination and translation of the work of Wilhelm Hennis and Reinhart Koselleck to English speaking academic circles.

The seminars Continue reading

Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory and Organization Studies Contemporary Currents

Oxford University Press publicó recientemente el Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory and Organization Studies Contemporary Currents editado por Paul S. Adler, Paul du Gay, Glenn Morgan y Michael Reed. El libro es una colección de 30 capítulos, la mayoría escrito por autores que han inspirado algunas de las discusiones en este blog (como F. Cochoy, B. Czarniawska, M. Power, P. Miller) y de temas tales como Garfinkel, Luhmann, Callon, Latour, Foucault, economía de las convenciones y análisis comparado del capitalismo. Entre ellos va el capítulo: “What’s new in the ‘new, new economic sociology’ and should Organization Studies care?” de Liz McFall & José Ossandón (para los interesados una versión de borrador disponible acá). Link a tabla de contenido y capítulo de introducción: Continue reading

Capitalizing on Performativity: Performing on Capitalization

Symposium Capitalizing on Performativity: Performing on Capitalization. 16-17 October 2014, Paris con la participación de los colaboradores de Estudios de la Economía: Daniel Fridman y Álvaro Pina-Stranger.

A cogent appraisal of the spirit of contemporary capitalism and its problems calls for renewed attention to the performative. Business schools, consultancy firms, corporations, investment banks, start-up companies, market research agencies, public administrations and other sites of business life are characterized by the presence of habits, idioms and apparatuses that constitute a significant part of the reality of business. These include techniques for the simulation of business situations, methods for the explanation of business problems, instruments for the valuation of business endeavours, and tools for the presentation of business outcomes. But simulation, explanation, valuation and presentation are not only about accounting for external states of affair. They are, at least in part, about moulding, enacting, provoking and effecting the business realities they signify. Continue reading

Rendición de Cuentas, Managerialismo y Práctica Local. Algunas pistas para su análisis.

El siguiente texto sistematiza algunas propuestas y reflexiones en torno al análisis de los sistemas de rendición de cuentas como prácticas, actuando y siendo actuados a nivel local. Es así que recoge algunos elementos ya desplegados tanto en Estudios de la Economía, en el post Apuntes para el Estudio de la Acción Local de los Instrumentos de Gobierno, como en el artículo recientemente publicado La Etnografía de Dispositivos como herramienta de análisis y el estudio del managerialismo como práctica local. Cabe destacar que el escrito que aquí se presenta fue pronunciado como conferencia en el panel de cierre del X Seminario Internacional de la Red Latinoamericana de Estudios en Trabajo Docente (ESTRADO), celebrado recientemente en Salvador de Bahía (Brasil).  Continue reading

Stuart Hall (1932-2014)

El pasado 10 de febrero falleció el muy influyente investigador cultural Stuart Hall. De posible interés este programa de radio de la BBC sobre su trayectoria e influencia. Sobre el impacto del trabajo de Hall en la investigación sobre la economía, ver la entrevista en este blog con su colaborador directo Paul du Gay, en particular las respuestas a las preguntas 3 y 4.

“Tu puedes ser feliz”: bosquejos para una línea de investigación sobre felicidad, psicología positiva y gubernamentalidad neoliberal

En no más de una década y por diversas vías y mecanismos, y en complejas articulaciones con otros discursos, prácticas y técnicas, la “felicidad” -tradicionalmente entendida como un tópico de la especulación filosófica o un atributo inasible de la experiencia singular de las personas (Binkley, 2011a)- se transformó en un nuevo eje de problematización e inteligibilidad de lo social, en un objeto de análisis, medición e intervención de la política pública, en un eje de la gestión de las organizaciones (Happy Manager), en un anhelo que orienta las acciones y decisiones de los sujetos y que modela el modo de relación con uno mismo. Para aquellos dedicados al análisis de los discursos que permean y configuran la vida económica y de las organizaciones en la sociedad contemporánea, la irrupción de la felicidad y su arraigo en diferentes organismos e instancias –universidades, ministerios, consultoras, organismos internacionales, medios masivos de comunicación, empresas, etc.-, constituye una temática de creciente interés.
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Sociologist defends bureaucracy from the business school. An interview with Paul du Gay

I met Paul du Gay one February morning in his office in Kilen, an amazing building of the Copenhagen Business School where the Department of Organization is located. In this podcast, du Gay revisits the different moments of his career so far. As his En elogio de la burocracia has recently been published in Spanish, the conversation takes off there, with stop overs in retailers and Consumption and Identity at work, and the puzzling notion of “cultural economy”, in order to finally land in Du Gay’s own experience as sociologist working in business schools and his current research on “what makes an organization” with Signe Vikkelsø. Many thanks to Antonio Stecher and Vicente Sisto – our critical management, identity and work experts at Estudios de la Economia– for discussing and suggesting questions for this interview. Continue reading