11th December 2013

Markets and (Re-)Valuations inside Sustainability Transformations

Subtheme 56 at 30th EGOS Colloquium, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, July 3–5, 2014

Deadline for submission January 13, 2014. See here for more information.


Peter Karnøe, Aalborg University, Denmark
Jeroen Struben, McGill University, Montréal, Canada
Liliana Doganova, MINES ParisTech, Paris, France

Call for Papers

The sub-theme addresses valuation challenges for sustainable transformations – involving clean technologies, low carbon products, healthy life styles, etc. Such sustainability oriented innovations attempt to recombine environmental, social and economic value in ways that depart from the existing standards of valuation which have become part of – built into – market structures in the historical process of their formation. This subtheme will explore the collective and interdependent processes of (re-)valuations involved in the construction of sustainable markets.

Recent advances in economic sociology have shown that the qualities and values of goods are not pre-existing, but emerge from assemblages that endow market actors with resources, competencies, and devices (Callon, 1998; 2008). Thus, making sustainable products worth requires the forming and recombining of new, as well as the shifting and unlocking of existing valuation assemblages. Understanding the actors and processes involved in re-organizing markets is a major issue for sustainable innovation.

We invite empirically and theoretically grounded contributions that build upon and bridge different perspectives addressing valuation issues (evolutionary, institutional, and practice theories). We particularly invite work that examines multiple transformation pathways, including eventual “failures”, highlighting the struggles.

  • How does socio-technical and institutional lock-in contribute to/constrain the formation of alternative pathways (Unruh, 2002)?
  • How can alternative pathways be explained as transformations of established markets? (Schneiberg, 2007)
  • How can we understand the role of sustainability oriented market devices (Callon et al., 2007) in the process of unlocking and locking-in ‘orders of worth’ and market valuations?
  • Where do these devices come from, and how do they become established, assembled, accepted, and modified over time?
  • How are economic and environmental/social values reconciled (Stark, 2009)? How are environmental goods and bads made economically worth (Beckert & Aspers, 2011; Fourcade, 2011)?
  • Who and where are the architects of the assemblages? How do new actors and coalitions (involving corporations, government agencies, consumers, NGOs, and others) emerge (Fligstein, 2001)?
  • How do interaction dynamics between dominant and peripheral actors enable or constrain field alignment and market shifts (Padgett & Powell, 2012; Rao & Giorgi, 2006)?
  • How does the breaking, abandonment, competition, re-making and transformation of categories help to understand the process of (re-)valuation (Rao et al., 2001; Garud et al., 2010; Kennedy et al., 2010; Navis & Glynn, 2010)?


Beckert, Jens Patrik Aspers (2011): The Worth of Goods. Valuation & Pricing in the Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Callon, Michel (1998): ‘Introduction: The Embeddedness of Economic Markets in Economics.’ In: Michel Callon (ed.): The Laws of the Markets. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1–57.
Callon, Michel (2008): ‘Economic Markets and the Rise of Interactive Agencements: From Prosthetic to Habilitated Agencies.’ In: Trevor Pinch & Richard Swedberg (eds.): Living in a Material World. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, pp. 29–56.
Callon, Michel, Yuval Millo & Fabian Muniesa (2007): Market Devices. London: Blackwell.
Fligstein, Neil (2001): The Architecture of Markets: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Fourcade, Marion (2011): ‘Cents and Sensibility: Economic Valuation and the Nature of “Nature”.’ American Journal of Sociology, 116 (6), pp. 1721–1777.
Garud, Raghu, Joel Gehman & Peter Karnøe (2010): ‘Categorization by association: Nuclear technology and emission-free electricity.’ In: Wesley D. Sine & Robert J. David (eds.): Institutions and Entrepreneurship. Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 21. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 51–93.
Kennedy, Mark Thomas, Jade (Yu-Chieh) Lo & Michael Lounsbury (2010): ‘Category currency: The changing value of conformity as a function of ongoing meaning construction.’ In: Greta Hsu, Giacomo Negro & Özgecan Koçak (eds.): Categories in Markets: Origins and Evolution. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 31. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 369–397.
Navis, Chad & Mary Ann Glynn (2010): ‘How New Market Categories Emerge: Temporal Dynamics of Legitimacy, Identity, and Entrepreneurship in Satellite Radio, 1990–2005.’ Administrative Science Quarterly, 55 (3), pp. 439–471.
Padgett, John F. & Walter W. Powell (2012): ‘The Problem of Emergence.’ In: John F. Padgett & Walter W. Powell (eds.): The Emergence of Organizations and Markets. Princeton University Press, pp. 1–66.
Rao, Hayagreeva, Henrich Greve & Gerald Davis (2001): ‘Fool’s gold: Social proof in the initiation and abandonment of coverage by Wall Street analysts.’ Administrative Science Quarterly, 46 (3), pp. 502–526.
Rao, Hayagreeva & Simona Giorgi (2006): ‘Code Breaking: How Entrepreneurs Exploit Cultural Logics to Generate Institutional Change.’ Research in Organizational Behavior, 27, pp. 269–304.
Schneiberg, Marc (2007): ‘What’s on the path? Path dependence, organizational diversity and the problem of institutional change in the US economy, 1900–1950.’ Socio-Economic Review, 5 (1), pp. 47–80.
Stark, David (2009): The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Unruh, Gregory C. (2002): ‘Escaping Carbon Lock-in.’ Energy Policy, 30 (4), pp. 317–330.