Do Economists Make Markets?


Those interested in economic sociology, the performativity of markets, and the role of actor-network theory in producing these types of accounts might also be interested in Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics, a new book edited by Donald MacKenzie, Fabian Muniesa & Lucia Siu.

Indeed Callon et al. called this book the ‘sister volume’ to their Market Devices. While we haven’t had a chance yet to read MacKenzie et al’s book, judging from the publisher’s description and the sample chapter (the introduction) that is available to download, it promises to be an important contribution to the debate surrounding the deployment of ANT in economic sociology. What is most intriguing perhaps is the fact that the editors did not shrink back from including a piece that is critical of ANT and the notion of performativity, namely Chapter 7: “Markets Made Flesh: Performativity, and a Problem in Science Studies, Augmented with Consideration of the FCC Auctions” by Philip Mirowski and Edward Nik-Khah. The table of contents is available here.

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One Response to “Do Economists Make Markets?”

  1. David R. Says:

    Mirowski and Nik-Khah argument is strikingly similar to Collins and Yearley’s argument in the famous epistemological chicken debate in Andrew Pickering’s Science as Practice and Culture.

    The argument hinges on the fact that ANT (showings its ethnomethodological roots) takes the actors at their word or perhaps as latour would say it, follows the actors. This, Mirowski and Nik-Khah argues, essentially means that the ANT position assumes the position of the economists or actors under study rather than assuming a position of critique. This criticism has been around since Callon published The Laws of the Markets and it is really nothing new (Collins and Yearley said latour takes the position of scientist rather than of critiquing sociologist). Callon, himself, in the final chapter returns to this question and I think gives an appropriate answer to this criticism.

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