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How to write after performativity? (part 2)

[El nombre de esta 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 la segunda parte de un capítulo para el libro A Routledge Companion to ANT, editado por Anders Blok, Ignacio Farías & Celia Roberts. La primera parte está acá. Por cierto, sugerencias sobre cómo debería seguir la historia son muy bienvenidos]

How to write after performativity? José Ossandón.

[Second instalment of chapter prepared for A Routledge Companion to ANT, edited by Anders Blok, Ignacio Farías & Celia Roberts. Non-proof read draft.]

Part II. The instructions

Callon’s performativity thesis reoriented the attention of researchers inspecting economic issues. The traditional critical stance towards the way economists portray economics actors and the economy is replaced by an increasing attention to those whose work involves formatting calculative agencies, among them economists themselves. The question ‘how to write after performativity?’ shifts the attention in a different direction. The focus here is not directed at the economic agents that are performed with economics, but at the research personae enacted with the performativity approach to the economy. To use a cinematographic analogy, it could be said that from this perspective, Callon is seen as a film director, and the researchers informed by his work are like cameramen following his instructions, and, in order to clarify the particular type of personae these researchers enact, what ought to be done first is to clarify the director’s guidelines.

In 1981, a new market place for the trading of table strawberries was set at the commune of Fontaines-en-Sologne in central France. This strawberry market became officially part of the social scientific discussion in 1986, when a paper about the case by Marie-France Garcia-Parpet (2007) was published in Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, the journal Pierre Bourdieu started in 1975. In 1998, Garcia-Parpet’s strawberries began a second life, when Michell Callon used her case study as the central empirical evidence of what it will become the more influential idea of his famous chapters in the edited collection The Laws of the Markets. In fact, Garcia-Parpet’s piece only appeared in English in 2007 when it was included in the edited collection – Do Economists Make Markets? – that consolidated the international academic influence of Callon’s thesis. What Callon did not make explicit in his chapters is that while taking Garcia-Parpet’s basic insight, his conclusions are radically different. In what follows, the modifications Callon introduced in relation to Garcia-Parpet’s case are used as entry points to identify his particular guidelines; the rules set to the research personae to be enacted with the performativity thesis.

Strawberries exchange forever

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