Tag Archives: Sloterdijk

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