Blog readers may be interested by the following petition (an initiative from BankTrack, Friends of the Earth, and other NGOs):

http://www.makefinancework.org/home/sustainable-banking/

“Deep sea oil, dirty coal mining, obsolete nuclear plants, arms trade, human rights abuses – your bank could be financing environmentally and socially destructive businesses. It doesn’t have to be that way. In July 2011, the European Commissioner for banking, Michel Barnier, will publish a proposal to implement the new “Basel III” rules for banks into European law. These rules aim to make the banking system more robust and stable. Tell Michael Barnier to include sustainability criteria in the proposal – to encourage banks to reconsider dangerous investments and to invest more into sustainable businesses, such as renewable energy producers and social entrepreneurs. Sign the petition now!” (from makefinancework.org April 2011)

Of possible interest to blog readers:

Job announcement and call for applications

General Information

Position Type: post-doctoral researcher
Duration: 3 years
Salary: 30,000 EUR (gross per year, approx.)
Project Acronym: PERFORMABUSINESS
Project Title: Performativity in Business Education, Management Consulting and Entrepreneurial Finance
Principal Investigator: Dr Fabian Muniesa
Host Institution: Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation, Mines ParisTech / ARMINES, France
Funding: European Research Council, 7th Framework Programme, Grant Number ERC-2010-StG 263529
Number of Positions: 3
Application Period: April 1st 2011 to May 31st 2011

Work Description

The post-doctoral researcher is to work full-time as a researcher for an ERC project titled “Performativity in Business Education, Management Consulting and Entrepreneurial Finance” (PERFORMABUSINESS) under the supervision of Dr Fabian Muniesa. The researcher shall investigate prospective, international-level fieldwork sites, conduct empirical fieldwork, contribute to data management and analysis, produce single authored and co-authored scientific accounts for publication, organize and facilitate scientific-level and industry-level communication events, and participate in the governance of the project.

Candidate Profile

The candidate holds a PhD in Anthropology, Sociology, Management, Political Sciences or in comparable specialities. She or he has experience in social-scientific empirical investigation and in scholarly writing. She or he is able to participate in collective scientific ventures in a creative and productive way. She or he is able to access and investigate empirical sites which are relevant for the project, and possesses relevant skills and background in order to understand the technicalities of the field. She or he has fine language skills in academic English and at least a basic knowledge of French. She or he aims at developing a research career in a direction which is compatible with the project.

Application

The candidate should provide the following documents:

– A cover letter which shall include an explanation of her or his interests and suggestions for her or his own potential contribution to the project in terms of fieldwork sites and research questioning (see project summary below).
– A detailed CV.
– A sample of scholarly work (articles, working papers, contributing chapters and/or PhD dissertation).

Please do transmit this information to the Principal Investigator directly.

Further Information

Dr Fabian Muniesa (PERFORMABUSINESS, Principal Investigator)
Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation
Mines ParisTech
60 Boulevard Saint-Michel
75272 Paris cedex 06 France
Email:    fabian.muniesa (at) mines-paristech.fr
Tel.:    +33.1.40.51.92.88    Fax:    +33.1.43.54.56.28

Project Summary

PERFORMABUSINESS
Performativity in Business Education, Management Consulting and Entrepreneurial Finance

The world of business is a world of culture: a world of rituals, artifacts and idioms which is fit for anthropological and sociological analysis. The notion of performativity serves as a useful vehicle to analyze the culture that do characterize business schools, consultancy firms, corporations, investment banks, start-up companies and other sites of business life. This notion refers to performance in the sense of efficacy in the achievement of tasks, but also to the institutive capacities of knowledge and to an idea of practice as acting and staging. This research project seeks at providing sound social-scientific knowledge on the performativity of business through a theoretical clarification of the concept and a set of empirical investigations in three relevant areas. The first area is education in business administration. The project analyses the performativity of the case method of instruction and of similar pedagogical techniques that emphasize singularity, exemplarity and realism in the provision of meaningful and effective narratives. The second area is management consulting. The project analyses the performativity of consultancy missions and management devices, with a focus on the practices of presentation and communication used by consultants in order to construct convincing realities. The third area is entrepreneurial finance. The project analyses the performativity of business models, business plans and business cases in the orientation of investment and financing in entrepreneurial settings. Empirical investigation in all three areas is grounded in a qualitative, case-based approach. The research project aims at generating detailed and original factual evidence of the performativity of business in all three areas, and also at providing a coordinated and rigorous assessment of performativity as problematic reality in today’s risk-oriented global business culture.

A PDF version of this call is available for download here.

Blog readers may be interested in the call for papers for a sub-theme on “Markets Inside the Ecological Revolution” at the 2011 EGOS Colloquium. The sub-theme is not SSF-centered but remains open to SSF-related topics:

“At the time this subtheme abstract was being drafted, burning kerosene for academic purposes (e.g. getting to this conference by plane) was still considered okay. Perhaps this is not the case anymore in the summer of 2011. We are waiting for a revolution that is already happening, a truly global revolution, a revolution of people and things, a revolution of the earth, a revolution that ought to affect the way democracy operates, the way business is done, the way innovation is considered and the way daily life gets organized. In particular, this thing that we call the “market economy” will be put to the test by the ecological revolution, perhaps violently.

Within the ecological revolution “shifting assemblies” and “shifting assemblages” intermingle together. The organizing dynamics associated with markets inside the ecological revolution thus posits itself as a most suitable topic for organizational inquiry and as a fine occasion for productive discussion in this colloquium. Assemblages do shift as new experiments, new products, new actors, new value metrics, new institutions and new instruments struggle to come into existence. The idea of “markets” is considered here in the wide sense of multiple, collective arrangements for economic exchange and valuation. The notion of “ecological revolution” does also encompass an open variety of areas: climate change, energy, green technology, natural resources, pollutants, food industry and agriculture, transportation, etc.

Researchers are called upon to think through these exceptional transformations in assemblages and shifts in agencies. Multiple social-scientific perspectives are possible, and are all most welcome. But one thing is rather clear: as the ecological revolution keeps on making it explicit, the materiality of collective existence cannot go unnoticed anymore within the social sciences. Inquiry into human institutions and cognitive practices is to include, at its core, an examination of the material assemblages that organize and disorganize them. Emphasis is put on case studies and empirical investigation, not on purely theoretical disquisitions. Contributors are also expected to be familiar with discussions on the topic of “organizing markets” in economic sociology, in new institutionalism, in science and technology studies, in innovation economics or in organization studies at large.

How does the ecological revolution affect uncertainty in valuation? How is the value and the cost of a new technology demonstrated? Is there something wrong with current value metrics? How is political concernment instilled into markets? Is ecological militancy compatible with corporate interests? Is green consumer conduct a suitable object for economic engineering? Are there viable experiments for a massive internalization of externalities? Do economic incentives make sense as ecological devices? Is it the right time for liberalization? Is the ecological revolution an accounting revolution? Is it a trading revolution? Can technological lock-in hold as a fair excuse against a political transformation of markets? What are the costs of change, and how are they calculated? How are market problems and market solutions framed in the ecological revolution? These and similar questions will be tackled through in-depth discussion of submitted contributions.”

More details about the sub-themes and its convenors here. Guidelines and submission criteria here (deadline 16 January 2011).

Update on the Blank Swan

November 4, 2010

A quick update to highlight the paper Elie Ayache just kindly pointed to in comments to a recent plug: “The End of Probability”. Thanks Elie!

BTW: More philosophy for “after the market” (in French) at Elie Ayache’s Après le marché.

The Blank Swan

October 12, 2010

Of possible interest to blog readers:

Quant Elie Ayache uses philosopher Quentin Meillassoux (his book After Finitude) in a talk about his recent book, The Blank Swan: The End of Probability. Clips of the talk (quite intriguing) available here, here and here. More on Ayache at ITO 33 and at Willmott.

Hat tip to Speculative Heresy.

The program of the Reembedding Finance Workshop in Paris (20-21 May 2010) is now available here, also as pdf.

The Problem with Economics

January 26, 2010

Blog readers interested in an ANT-ish refreshment on the infamous topic of the “performativity of economics” may find this little contribution amusing (PDF here).

New SSF Blog (French)

December 19, 2009

Finanz und Gesellschaft is the new blog of the Social Studies of Finance Association (French).

CfP: Reembedding Finance

October 15, 2009

“Reembedding Finance” is the title of a Social Studies of Finance International Workshop to be held in Paris, May 20-21, 2010. From the call for papers:
The subprime financial crisis has recently shown the limits of an abstract and disembodied view of financial markets and their so-called “efficiency”. A new interdisciplinary field of research ­ often known as “Social Studies of Finance” ­ has been purposefully tackling these limitations, and has developed with a view to “reembedding” financial practices into the social world. This collective dynamic of interdisciplinary research  (gathering areas such as sociology, economics, history, anthropology, political science, management studies, geography and so forth), is grounded on a stiff conviction: the need to study financial activities as forms of social life. Showing how financial reality is embedded in social networks, culture, technology, scientific knowledge and institutional contexts can renew our understanding of finance.
While in France research in the Social Studies of Finance has been particularly active and structured through the activities of an association holding a regular seminar (the Social Studies of Finance Association or “Association d’études sociales de la finance”), the label “Social Studies of Finance” has been evolving, on an international level, with a neat inclination towards topics such as the scientific and technical embeddedness of finance, especially through the “performativity program”. However along with this thriving program, numerous studies in social networks analysis have shed light on various aspects of the social embeddedness of finance. Similarly, contributions in cultural geography or in globalization studies have examined at length the social aspects of financialization. Anthropological perspectives on financial markets, meanwhile, seek to scrutinize the moral and cultural frameworks underlying financial transactions. New institutionalism, through its various versions, has emphasized the legal and political organization that underpins financial markets and thus thoroughly contributing to the “reembedding” of finance within the social world. Heterodox perspectives in economics have also entered into a fruitful dialogue with more sociologically-inclined approaches.
The purpose of this conference, a Parisian initiative of the Social Studies of Finance Association, is to provide a venue for a productive dialogue between different perspectives to be found in the Social Studies of Finance, to think about their respective contributions, their commonalities, their differences and the opportunities of hybridization they may bring to light, stressing their relevance in the current historical context.
More details (deadlines, scientific committee, venue, etc.) available here (full PDF version here).

Paris SSF Seminar 2009-2010

September 14, 2009

The 2009-2010 program of the monthly seminar of the “Association d’études sociales de la finance” is now available online. The seminar is to be held at the MSH in Paris. All welcome (seminar organized by Pierre de Larminat).

(For an earlier plug about this seminar, see this blog’s first post.)