21st March 2016

From Prizes to Prices and Vice Versa

As part of a broader project – Performances of Value: Competition and Competitions Inside and Outside Markets – we call for papers for a workshop that will take place on January 13-14, 2017 at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.  Costs for travel, lodging, and meals for workshop participants will be covered by a grant from The Leverhulme Trust.

The deadline for abstracts is May 31, 2016.

Organizers: David Stark (PI), Elena Esposito, Kristian Kreiner, Celia Lury, Fabian Muniesa, and Christine Musselin.

 The series of workshops organized for this project will explore processes of valuation, the different forms they can take, and their recent transformations. Alongside mechanisms of pricing that are part of market competition valuation also takes place in ratings, rankings, and other forms of organized competitions outside markets. How do these differing performances of value inter-relate and move across different domains of social life? And what are their consequences for how valuation is performed and experienced?

In recent decades, evaluation through ratings has spread in all fields of social life, from finance to universities, from restaurants to hospitals to politics. These forms of valuation are diffused and difficult to control, often entrusted to the fleeting moods of the web or to private institutions like rating agencies or magazines assessing academic performance. But they have important social effects, which (willingly or not) are difficult to escape. Ratings seem to have a tendency to produce rankings, generating an order in which everyone is located above some of the evaluated entities and below others. Rankings indirectly produce competition. This ordinal hierarchy is intertwined in complex ways with the cardinal evaluation expressed in the numerical form of market prices.

We invite papers that address the following (or related) questions:

– Do ratings offer alternative judgements of value to those provided by prices?

– What role does the performance of value play in introducing alternative criteria into competition?

– When and why did the social form of ratings become widely diffused?

– What is the relationship between ratings and rankings?

– What are the consequences of representations of aspects of social life as a ranked order?

– Should we assume that everyone wants to win or that everyone accepts to play the games of competition? What are the consequences of not joining in?

Abstracts of no longer than 500 words should be submitted by May 31, 2016. If the abstract is accepted, a full paper will be required by November 1, 2016. All submissions should be made to .

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