Archive for the ‘Michel Callon’ Category

CfP: Making the World Happen

7 February 2012

Making the World Happen: International Events and the Logistics of Globality

111th AAA annual meeting, Borders and Crossings, November 14-18, 2012, San Francisco, CA

Paper abstracts are invited for this panel to be submitted to the Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology (SUNTA).

International events (Olympic Games, World’s fairs, World cups, transnational meetings and conventions) play nowadays a significant role in the creation and densification of global connections for the flow and circulation of people, materials, capital, technologies and ideas. Whereas anthropologists have often paid attention to the symbolic and ideological dimensions of international events, analyses of the institutional, managerial and logistical frameworks of these events have predominantly been economic in orientation with a focus on their overall costs and benefits. Conversely, the recent surge of publications in event management tellingly displays a new corporate interest towards the discipline of cultural anthropology as ethnographic insights are being valued as useful toolboxes in the ongoing management of conflicts and controversies in the context of international events. This panel will bring together ethnographic investigations into the organizational layers of these short-lived global hubs in order to explore in comparative guise their complex assemblages of material and infrastructural configurations that allow for the effectivity of transnational operations.

Submitted proposals for presentations should address one of the following topics:

1. Following controversies: Opening the black box of international events sheds light on the debates and conflicting concerns that emerge between various stakeholders (individual, institutional, international, non-human, etc.) around issues such as design, themes, orientation, outsourcings, public safety, legal harmonizations.

2. Assembling atmospheres: Events designed for the fostering of global connections and the development of international exchange rely on the manufacture of breathable spaces, that is the constitution of artificial climates, spheres of immunity, air-conditioned globalities (Sloterdijk) achieved through an ecology of devices and infrastructures.

3. Spatiotemporal attunements: International events are also anchored upon the existence of “grooved channels” (Geertz, Bestor) that support the engineering of a “ready-made” globalization in order to facilitate the enactment of the daily operations of global connectivity. These include the creation and enforcement of standards that accompanies the transnational extensions in the circulation of materials, people and commodities, the constitution of “obligatory passage points” (Callon), and the establishment of hourly schedules for deliveries, inspections, maintenance, accounting activities, etc.

Please submit the following information to Van Troi Tran ( by Friday, March 16, 2012 for consideration:

Name, Institutional affiliation, Paper title, 250-word abstract, Contact information

Organizers: Van Troi Tran, Sophie Houdart

For more information:

American Anthropological Association:

AAA 2012 Annual meeting guidelines and rules for participation:

Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology:

Forthcoming events with Callon, Latour et al.

24 January 2012

20 February 2012,  18:00 – 19:30 – Bruno Latour at the Science Gallery in Dublin.

7 March 2012, 16:30 – 19:00 –  Bruno Latour & Richard Rogers:  “Digital societies: between ontology and methods,” at Goldsmiths, London

30 March 2012 – 12:30 – 16:30 – Michel Callon, Fabian Muniesa, Adam Leaver and Karel Williams: “How Methods Move in Markets,” at Open University, Camden, London

Débordements: Mélanges offerts à Michel Callon

11 January 2011

A collection of essays celebrating the work of Michel Callon; half of them in French,  half in English.

Table of Contents

Vers un modèle d’agir autonome [PDF] 9

Rémi Barbier

« De l’arbitraire à l’arbitrage » : les indicateurs de S&T en débat [PDF] 13

Rémi Barré

Transparency as a political device [PDF] 21

Andrew Barry

Le client du poste téléphonique : archéologie des êtres intermédiaires 41

Dominique Boullier

The ontological priority of mediation 61

Geoffrey C. Bowker

La sociologie est un sport collectif : petit match avec Michel Callon 69

Franck Cochoy

La dynamique de l’innovation : une interprétation de l’approche de Michel Callon en termes de communautés de connaissance 87

Patrick Cohendet, Jean-Alain Héraud & Patrick Llerena

Traduction et résonance morphique 107

Jean-Pierre Courtial

Quand l’économie échoue à être performative. Une étude de cas 129

Hervé Dumez & Alain Jeunemaître

Avec les armes de la sociologie de l’innovation : critique d’un travail récent d’économie expérimentale sur l’innovation et la propriété intellectuelle 143

Dominique Foray

Procrustean transformations: Climategate, scientific controversies and hope 153

Raghu Garud & Joel Gehman

Michel Callon : une « socionomie » contemporaine ? 169

Armand Hatchuel

Vous avez dit attachements ?… 179

Antoine Hennion

Thin air 191

Sheila Jasanoff

On the economics of techno-scientific promises 203

Pierre-Benoît Joly

Material disruptions in electricity systems: can wind power fit in the existing electricity system? 223

Peter Karnøe

La démocratie électronique et l’Open Government de Barack Obama sous l’œil critique des STS 241

Pierre Lascoumes

Avoir ou ne pas avoir de réseau : that’s the question [PDF] 257

Bruno Latour

The Greer-Bush test: on politics in STS [PDF] 269

John Law

What can heterogeneity add to the scientometric map? Steps towards algorithmic historiography 283

Loet Leydesdorff

Michel Callon et le « tournant performatif » de la théorie de l’acteur-réseau. Vers une anthropologie des objets techniques en situation 291

Christian Licoppe

Models as coordination devices 299

Donald MacKenzie

Table des matièresDe l’usage dans l’échange. Quelques propositions issues de la perspective de l’économie des qualités 303

Alexandre Mallard

Accounting for others 315

Peter Miller

Bami goreng for Mrs. Klerks and other stories on food and culture 325

Annemarie Mol

Cooling down and heating up: a stress test on politics and economics 335

Fabian Muniesa

La stratégie comme exercice de traduction. Une illustration sur le marché dermo-cosmétique 343

Hervé Penan

The politics of hybrid forums 357

Dominique Pestre

Performativity and economic demonstrations: pitching quality and quantity 369

Trevor Pinch

Processes of entanglement 381

Arie Rip

Callon and the life of democracy 393

Nigel Thrift

Market studies explosion?

11 March 2010

Looking at the list of accepted papers (RTF file) at the 1st Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop coming up in Sweden in June this year, I’m wondering if “explosion” is too hyperbolic a term or just right to describe what seems to be a dramatic increase of interest in the social study of markets these days. Many of the titles appear to be referring to the concept of market devices introduced in the volume edited by Callon, Millo & Muniesa in 2007, who draw on the insights of science and technology studies and actor-network theory for the study of economic phenomena, especially markets.

P.S. And there is also of course the After Markets event coming up in Oxford in April, along similar lines, in the tradition of their excellent “Does STS Means Business” series. Check out the provocation piece for this event here (PDF).

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.


Militancy and ANT

2 October 2009

Nick Srnicek‘s talk, “Framing Militancy” [PDF], at the Militant Dysphoria event at Goldsmiths this week generated some interesting blog reflections on the relationship between politics and actor-network theory. Here are Levi Bryant’s thoughts on ANT and politics. Graham Harman’s thoughts on the role of networks and connectedness in politics are here, here and here.

Economization and marketization

20 August 2009

In their article “Economization, part 1: shifting attention from the economy towards processes of economization” [ (2009), Economy and Society 38(3): 369 – 398], Koray Çalışkan and Michel Callon propose a research programme for the study of the processes of economization, very much along the lines of Callon’s (1998) The Laws of the Markets project. They define economization as follows:

This term is used to denote the processes that constitute the behaviours, organizations, institutions and, more generally, the objects in a particular society which are tentatively and often controversially qualified, by scholars and/or lay people, as ‘economic’. The construction of action (-ization) into the word implies that the economy is an achievement rather than a starting point or a pre-existing reality that can simply be revealed and acted upon.

The article reconstitutes the debate on how to conceptualise economic phenomena, by reviewing relevant works from economics, economic sociology (including  “new economic sociology”),  and anthropology. Drawing on science studies (among others invoking the ANT principle of generalised symmetry between humans and nonhumans), they shift the attention onto the apparatuses at work in economization:

Envisaging institutions as socio-cognitive prostheses that enable the (economic) formatting of individual behaviours is an important contribution to the understanding of the processes of economization as well as the role of economics and, more generally, the social sciences in these processes.

The article builds on and advances Callon’s (1998) original critique of Granovetter’s notion of embeddedness. The authors promise to expand on the process of how value is co-created by humans and things in the forthcoming second part of the article, which will zoom in on the process of marketization as a particular example of economization. Their goal is

to understand how complex and hybrid social configurations are perpetually being constructed through the conjoined contributions of circulating material entities, as well as competent agents engaged in valuation practices,

(at which point intriguingly they reference Bruno Latour’s unpublished “modes of existence” manuscript).

Hat tip to socializing finance.

Envisaging institutions as socio-cognitive prostheses that enable the (economic) formatting of individual behaviours is an important contribution to the understanding of the processes of economization as well as the role of economics and, more generally, the social sciences in these processes.

Acting in an Uncertain World – in English

16 January 2009

The English translation of the 2001 book by Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes and Yannick Barthe, Agir dans un monde incertain: Essai sur la democratie technique, is being published by The MIT Press in March 2009. The contents and downloadable sample chapters of Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy are available here.

Performativity as politics

12 December 2008

The socializing finance blog has a very informative summary of the “Performativity as Politics: Unlocking economic sociology” conference that took place in Toulouse in October. The conference explored the political dimensions of the actor-network theory approach to performativity that has developed within economic sociology, by bringing it together with alternative conceptualisations of performativity and politics from other fields. A 10-page document with the abstracts (PDF) of the talks is also available.