Archive for November, 2009

Speculations Journal

25 November 2009

See this call for papers for the inaugural issue of Speculations: Journal of Object Oriented Ontology, championed by Paul Ennis of the Another Heidegger Blog:

We hope to provide a forum for the exploration of object oriented ontology, speculative realism and post-continental philosophy. Our aim is to facilitate discussion about the ongoing development of object oriented ontology and in particular to explore new directions in object oriented research. The journal is open access and peer-reviewed. The journal accepts short position papers, full length articles and book reviews. Issue one is due to be published in early 2010 and will include submissions from Graham Harman, Ian Bogost and Levi Byrant. The deadline for Issue 1 is Feb. 28th 2010. Inquiries and submissions can be sent to

© 2009 Tammy Lu

The board of reviewers so far includes:

  • Adrian Ivakhiv (University of Vermont)
  • Graham Harman (The American University in Cairo)
  • Ian Bogost (The Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Jon Cogburn (Louisiana State University)
  • Levi Byrant (Collin College)
  • Paul Reid Bowen (Bath Spa University)
  • Peter Gratton (University of San Diego)
  • Sinead Hogan (Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology)
  • Steven Shaviro (Wayne State University)
  • Stuart Elden (Durham University)

The editorial board so far consists of:

  • Michael Austin, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
  • Casey Boyle, University of South Carolina, United States
  • Paul John Ennis, University College, Dublin, Ireland
  • Fabio Gironi, School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom
  • Nick Srnicek, London School of Economics

Translation and Charles Péguy

24 November 2009

“Everything is external to everything else, and it takes difficult work to link any two things” – thus summarises Graham Harman one of Bruno Latour’s metaphysical points (Prince of Networks, pp. 104-105). The blog medium makes linking unrelated things rather easy, so hopefully it is not an entirely frivolous act to link transaction-cost economics with actor-network theory through the figure of Charles Péguy. The Organizations and Markets blog has just highlighted that the following Péguy quote is evoked at a crucial moment in Oliver E. Williamson’s (yes, this year’s economics Nobel Laureate) 1996 book, The Mechanisms of Governance, in support of  the ” microanalytic program” of TCE:

“The longer I live, citizen. . .” — this is the way the great passage in Peguy begins, words I once loved to say (I had them almost memorized) — “The longer I live, citizen, the less I believe in the efficiency of sudden illuminations that are not accompanied or supported by serious work, the less I believe in the efficiency of conversion, extraordinary, sudden and serious, in the efficiency of sudden passions, and the more I believe in the efficiency of modest, slow, molecular, definitive work. The longer I live the less I believe in the efficiency of an extraordinary sudden social revolution, improvised, marvelous, with or without guns and impersonal dictatorship — and the more I believe in the efficiency of modest, slow, molecular, definitive work.” (pp. 13-14)


The interactive diagram

4 November 2009

Here is how Callon defines homo economicus 2.0 in terms of Barry’s notion of the “interactive diagram:”

The interactive diagram is a socio-technical agencement configured in such a way that at the center of the collective action we find an individual who is capable of developing projects and is endowed with a will to accomplish them, and who holds herself (because she is held) responsible for her acts and their effects. This diagram constitutes a particular answer to questions concerning the modalities of action. To the question “Who is at the source of the action?” the diagram answers “The individual and her projects.” To the question “What is the status of the different participants in the action?” it answers “On the one hand the individual defining and undertaking projects, whose identity changes and adjusts in relation to feedback and results, and on the other hand the technical devices with which she interacts and which constantly suggest original courses of action.” To the question “What does the action produce?” it answers “The discovery of possible new worlds, the unexpected, constant experimentation.” (p. 39)

Homo economicus 2.0

3 November 2009

In the June 2004 issue of the Economic Sociology Newsletter [PDF] the following exchange took place between the interviewer (Søren Jagd) and Laurent Thévenot (“The French Convention School and the Coordination of Economic Action,” p.  13):


Michel Callon argues that the model of economic man could be useful for people engaging in economic activities. And that the interesting thing about this model is if it is actually used by economic actors. Do you agree with that argument?


If Callon says that I would say: Why do they use it? I would ask: What kind of properties should this variety of models have? This is not the kind of question he can answer. He would just answer that they do use it. I think that the problem with this answer is that it will lack a reflection on this architecture of regimes and on the path to the public. This is the main problem for me with this overwhelming notion of network. It doesn’t give any specification of the link, of the social link, of the social action. And again I think a good specification would require this specification both of the good and of the reality as it is used as a test. Instead of that the network modelling in general terms is, I would say, flat, so it cannot give you a good picture of what is needed to go from proximity to the public and to come back from there.

Callon’s essay, “Economic Markets and the Rise of Interactive Agencements” in Pinch and Swedberg’s 2008 book, Living In a Material World, reads like a reply to this challenge, as he develops exactly what Thévenot seems to be asking for. Callon defends his notion of homo economicus 2.0 (also discussed elsewhere) by developing a conceptual framework that allows him not only to describe the conditions for the emergence of such calculative individual agency and its characteristics but also to present some normative considerations for political action. In the process he also manages to revitalise actor-network theory for the study of economic phenomena.