Call for Submissions: 3rd Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop, France, 5-6 June 2014

We are calling for abstract proposals to the third Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop, to be
held in Saint Maximin la Sainte Baume, near Aix en Provence, France, on June 5 and 6 2014. Like
its two predecessors, this workshop aims to represent an opportunity for scholars, practitioners and
activists from any disciplinary background interested in market functioning and design, market
actors, market interactions, exchange orders, values and morals, socio-technical market
arrangements, ordering devices, objects, models, representations and tools. The workshop will
provide a space for forming connections between disciplines and for discussing possible future
avenues for an interdisciplinary market studies approach. Invited guest speakers will be Jane Guyer
(Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins, US) and Don Slater (Reader of Sociology, London
School of Economics, UK).
Where previous workshops focussed more centrally on marketization processes in various
empirical contexts (1st IMSW Sigtuna, Sweden 2010) and orders and values in markets (2nd IMSW
Dublin, Ireland 2012), this year we would like to foreground the actors who often ‘hide’ behind
such processes but who form an integral part in performing markets. While papers considering any
market phenomena empirically or conceptually are welcome, we particularly invite contributions
that address one of the following three interrelated themes:
1. The role of creativity and narratives in shaping markets
Much of the recent work in markets has emphasised the materiality of markets, most notably, the
role of market devices and metrics in enacting market forms. How these devices are actually
deployed by market actors has received much less attention. Exploring the role of creativity and the
forms of narrative construction that actors undertake to make sense of social and material reality is
integral to an examination of market behaviour and decision-making. Psychologists have long
argued the centrality of narratives for understanding how humans apprehend the socio-material
world. And scholars working in fields as diverse as sociology, anthropology, organisation, literary
studies and economic history have examined the role of fictionality, imagination and story-telling in
making what we know as “the economic” (e.g. Beckert 2013, Czarniawska 1998, Maurer 2006,
McCloskey 1998, Poovey 1998, Tuckett 2011). Further research into how (local) narratives and
other interpretative tools and mechanisms are incorporated into processes of organising,
qualification and exchange – e.g. the cognitive schemes, emotional frames and repertoires of action
that provide meaning and coherence – is much needed.
2. Personhood and market subjects
The critique of economic man has been made, and repeatedly. And yet the homogenous economic
agent and the corollary assumption of utility maximisation under known outcomes persist in
economics, underpinning models of behaviour, notably incentives (e.g. principal-agent theory),
which fail to adequately describe the complexity of human action. Furthermore economic theories
have failed to explain how agents come into being, and they have not acknowledged the production
of multiple, heterogeneous, agents in markets. Elsewhere, the role of subject-making and
personhood in markets has gained increasing traction, for instance in mundane market settings (e.g.
how market actors are configured in online stores or supermarkets) and contexts where markets are
still being consciously constructed and are considered in their “infancy” (e.g. in markets in
transition economies) (Guyer 2004). Possible research avenues may concern the intersection of
performativity and subjectivity, the making of economic subjects in market agencements (Caliskan
and Callon, 2010) – including consumers, producers, regulators and collective persons such as firms
– and the role of cultural values and ethics in defining desired forms of personhood in markets
(Entwistle and Slater 2013).
3. Market empowerment
This theme focusses on how actors – economic or otherwise, always with special interests,
imaginations, and personhoods – come to attain positions of power in and through markets. Power
is a classic issue in relation to markets. Some understandings of markets suggest markets are
tantamount to the absence of power relations – the opposite of hierarchies (e.g. Williamson 1976) –
whereas others suggest markets are arenas for political struggles (e.g. Fligstein 1996). The recent
attention to the material dimension of markets has added another layer of complexity to this, where
arguably access to or control over certain market devices empowers some actors, whilst
disempowering others. A similar debate can be found in consumption studies, where markets
alternatively have been put forward as vehicles of consumer emancipation and consumer
governance/discipline (e.g. Cova and Cova 2012). We welcome proposals that explore issues of
power, empowerment and disempowerment in markets and regarding market actors, for instance in
relation to materiality, political processes, or everyday market encounters.
The workshop will be organized in collaboration with the Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation,
Ecole des Mines ParisTech. It will take place in the Couvent Royal at Saint Maximin La Sainte
We invite contributors to submit a 3-page abstract proposal by Jan 31st 2014. Abstracts should be
sent to Alexandre Mallard at the following address: Inquiries about the
workshop can be made to any of the workshop organisers. We will notify contributors about
acceptance by early March, and full papers will be due early May.
For more informations about the workshop :
The Organising Committee
Prof. Hans Kjellberg, Stockholm School of Economics.
Prof. Susi Geiger, University College Dublin
Dr Kimberly Chong, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Prof. Alexandre Mallard, Ecole des Mines ParisTech.
Beckert, J. (2013). ‘Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations in the Economy.’ Theory and Society,
42(3), 219-240.
Caliskan, K. and Callon, M. (2010). ‘Economization, part 2: a research programme for the study of
markets.’ Economy and Society, 39(1), 1-32.
Cova, B. and Cova, V. (2012). ‘On the Road to Prosumption: marketing discourse and the
development of consumer competencies.’ Consumption Markets and Culture, 15(2), 149-168.
Czarniawska, B. (1998). A narrative approach to organization studies. London: SAGE.
Entwistle, J. and Slater, D. (2013). ‘Reassembling the cultural: Fashion models, brands and the
meaning of ‘culture’ after ANT’, Journal of Cultural Economy, ahead-of-print, pp. 1-17.
Fligstein, N. (1996). ‘Markets as Politics: A Political-Cultural Approach to Market Institutions.’
American Sociological Review, 61(4), 656-73.
Guyer, J. (2004). Marginal Gains–Monetary Transactions in Atlantic Africa. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
Maurer, B. (2006). ‘The Anthropology of Money.’ Annual Review of Anthropology, 35(1), 15-36.
McCloskey, D. N. (1998). The rhetoric of economics. (2nd ed.). Madison, Wis. ; London : University of
Wisconsin Press.
Poovey, M. (1998). A history of the modern fact: problems of knowledge in the sciences of wealth and society.
Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press.
Tuckett, D. (2011). Minding the markets: an emotional finance view of financial instability. Houndmills,
Basingstoke, Hampshire, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Williamson, O. (1976). ‘The Economics of Internal Organization: Exit and Voice in Relation to
Markets and Hierarchies.’ The American Economic Review, 66(2), 369-77.

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