Call for papers, Special Issue of Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, on Price

March 15, 2017

From Christian Borch:

Special Issue of Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory 

Guest Editors:

Lisa Adkins (University of Newcastle, Australia)

Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen (University of Tampere, Finland)

Liu Xin (University of Tampere, Finland)

Submission deadline: September 30, 2017

Publication of the special issue in Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory: 2018/2019 

Background and key themes

One feature of the contemporary present is persistent instability and indeterminacy in regard to price and pricing. While classical social theorists and especially Marx recognized that the problem of price is fundamental to capitalism, this problem is mutating in the context of a proliferation of pricing technologies. These include, but are by no means limited to, the operations of apparently localized devices such as surge pricing and the ostensibly abstract techniques of financial instruments designed to continuously contest price. Such technologies have not only made the contestability of price explicit, but also raise the question of how exactly price and pricing should be understood. Should price be understood as an algorithm, a sensation, an index, a measure, a risk position, a mode of valuation, a benchmark, a function of money, a market device, or a socio-technological engagement with the future?

While mutations to price and pricing have certainly not gone unnoticed in economic sociology, critical finance studies, and in certain branches of pragmatic sociology, these mutations raise the question of what is at stake for social theory in the question and problem of price. What might an interrogation of price entail for social theory? Would this include the changing relations between measure and value? The retreat of the state from price setting? Shifting relations between the future and the present? An intensification of capital accumulation? A rewriting of value? Transformations to money? A thoroughgoing entanglement of price and pricing in the co-ordination and making of social worlds? 

This special issue invites contributions on the theme of price to address these and related questions. It seeks contributions which move away from the narrow concerns of an economics focused on price as information and from a sociology focused on the meaning of price to deliver state-of-the-art engagements with the problem and question of price. These engagements might take the form of considerations of what socio-theoretical resources are best equipped to come to terms with the problem and question of price including the resources of an actor-network-theory-inflected economic sociology, critical and social finance studies, pragmatic social theory and new media theory. These engagements can be set in specific case studies and draw on a range of materials but submissions should aim to advance social theory. The overall aim of the special issue is to prompt new socio-theoretical understandings of price and pricing. 


See instructions for authors on the journal homepage for details about style and form. All submissions should be made through the journal’s manuscript submission site.

For further information about this Special Issue, please contact one of the Guest Editors:  Lisa Adkins(, Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen(, and Liu Xin(


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