9th December 2012

EGOS 2013 CFP Cultural Economies and Economic Cultures in the Organization of Markets

Sub-theme Organisers: Liz McFall, Steven Kahl, Joeri Mol

Short 3000 word paper submissions are invited for this sub-theme by the deadline of January 14 2013.

For instructions on how to submit a short paper to EGOS see http://www.egosnet.org/jart/prj3/egos/main.jart?content-id=1334581167609&rel=de&reserve-mode=active

The question ‘is culture being organized by the market or is the market being organized by culture?’ has been a recurring theme within the social sciences over the past decades. Two opposing views are typically presented. On the one hand, the dominant paradigm depicts economic exchange as atomistic, revolving around rational individuals with a high degree of agency. On the other hand, economic sociologists and organizational theorists offer a contrasting perspective emphasizing that markets are embedded in overarching social structures that significantly constrain individual agency (DiMaggio and Powell 1991; Granovetter 1973). Between these ‘ideal type’ views there are many modified positions ranging from accounts of the contemporary dissolution of any boundary between cultural or economic activity (du Gay and Pryke 2002; McFall 2004), to those that complement concerns with forms of meaning, representation and sociality with the study of the technical and material forms of association (Callon and Muniesa 2005; Latour 2005), and to those who understand markets as amenable to the pragmatic redesign by ‘choice architects’ (Thaler and Sunstein 2008). Significant strides have been made in our understanding of the economy/culture relation (Pryke and du Gay 2007) since the first stirrings of the ‘cultural turn’ (Jameson 1998), but as work in different critical and theoretical traditions proliferates across the academy substantial challenges remain. ‘Markets’ and ‘cultures’ continue to change and ‘marketization’ and ‘culturing’ continue to elude easy description.
Without lending priority to any particular perspective, we invite papers that can best advance this problematic. In conversation with existing debates, we are particularly supportive of papers that investigate whether markets can be understood on cultural terms, underscoring notions of embeddedness and cultural economy. And inversely, can cultures be understood on terms dictated by market logics (cf. Friedland and Alford 1991)? In doing so, we ask ourselves:

  • With regard to epistemology, how can markets and cultures be known (Bingham and Kahl, forthcoming)? Do academic and lay understandings sit idly side by side, do they interact, or do they collide (Boltanski and Thévenot 2006)?
  • What is the ontological status of the market and of culture? What is a market and what is a culture? Or should we rather talk about the becoming of markets or of cultures (cf. Linstead and Thanem 2007)? Should they be understood as entities, assemblages and/or events (Deleuze 1990; Roffe 2011)? How do ‘ontological politics’ produce multiples in the realms of markets and of cultures (Law 2011; Mol 2004)?
  • How are organizations and employees affected by the process of being simultaneously ‘enculturated’ well as ‘marketized’ (Adler et al. 2008)?
  • How do criteria for measuring value emerge in markets and in organizations? And how do evaluation processes within markets differ from those within organizations (Mol and Wijnberg 2011)?
  • What is the importance of cultures for the making of markets and what is the importance of markets for the making of cultures (Maurer 2010)? Where do organizational cultures and/or markets end and where do consumer cultures and/or markets start?
  • How can we understand the recursive relationship between the markets that we study and the models that we create to describe them? How does such performativity feature in the study of culture (cf. Callon and Muniesa 2005)?
  • What are the defining categories by which we understand markets and cultures (DiMaggio 1983; DiMaggio 1987; Lounsbury and Rao 2004)? Are they congruent or do market categories and cultural categories compete with each other?



Adler, P.S., L. Forbes & H. Willmott (2008): ‘Critical Management Studies.’ In: A. Brief, & J. Walsh (eds.): Academy of Management Annals. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 119–180.

Bingham, C.B. & S.J. Kahl (forthcoming): ‘Process Studies of Change: The Process of Schema Emergence: Assimilation, Deconstruction, Unitization and the Plurality of Analogies.’ Academy of Management Journal.

Boltanski, L. & L. Thévenot (2006): On Justification: Economies of Worth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Callon, M. & F. Muniesa (2005): ‘Peripheral Vision: Economic Markets as Calculative Collective Devices.’ Organization Studies, 26 (8), 1229–1250.
Deleuze, G. (1990): The Logic of Sense. New York: Columbia University Press.

DiMaggio, P. (1983): ‘Can Culture Survive the Marketplace?’ The Journal of Arts Management and Law, 13 (1), 61–87.

DiMaggio, P. (1987): ‘Classification in Art.’ American Sociological Review, 52, 440–455.

DiMaggio, P. & W.W. Powell (1991): ‘Introduction.’ In: W.W. Powell & P. DiMaggio (eds.): The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1–38.

du Gay, P. & M. Pryke (2002): Cultural Economy: Cultural Analysis and Commercial Life. London: Sage.

Friedland, R. & R.R. Alford (1991): ‘Bringing Society Back in: Symbols, Practices and Institutional Contradictions.’ In: W.W. Powell & P. DiMaggio (eds.): The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 232–266.

Granovetter, M.S. (1973): ‘The Strength of Weak Ties.’ The American Journal of Sociology, 78 (6), 1360–1380.

Jameson, F. (1998): The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983–1998. London: Verso.

Latour, B. (2005): Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Law, J. (2011): What’s Wrong with a One-World World, http://www.heterogeneities.net/publications/Law2011WhatsWrongWithAOneWorldWorld.pdf

Linstea d, S. & T. Thanem (2007): ‘Multiplicity, Virtuality and Organization: The Contribution of Gilles Deleuze.’ Organization Studies, 28 (10), 1483–1501.

Lounsbury, M. & H. Rao (2004): ‘Sources of Durability and Change in Market Classifications: A Study of the Reconstitution of Product Categories in the American Mutual Fund Industry, 1944- 1985.’ Social Forces, 82 (3), 969–999.

Maurer, B. (2010): ‘Finger Counting Money.’ Anthropological Theory, 10 (1-2), 179–185. McFall, L. (2004): Advertising: A Cultural Economy. London: Sage.

Mol, A. (1999): ‘Ontological Politics: A Word and Some Questions.’ In: J. Law & J. Hassard (eds.): Actor Network Theory and After. Oxford: Blackwell, 74–89.

Mol, J.M. & N.M. Wijnberg (2011): ‘From Resources to Value and Back: Competition Between and Within Organizations.’ British Journal of Management, 22 (1), 77–95.

Pryke, M. & P. du Gay (2007): ‘Take an Issue: Cultural Economy and Finance.’ Economy and Society, 36 (3), 339–354. Roffe, J. (2011): Badiou’s Deleuze. Durham: Acumen.

Strathern, M. (2006): ‘A Community of Critics? Thoughts on New Knowledge.’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 12 (1), 191–209.

Thaler, R.H. & C.R. Sunstein (2008): Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New Haven: Yale University Press.

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