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Special Issue Journal of Cultural Economy Year : 2010

Performativity, economics and politics


Presenting the theme of performativity in a journal named the Journal of Cultural Economy makes the role performativity plays in the economy a logical place to start and the debt to Michel Callon (1998) an obvious one to acknowledge. Callon's idea was that ‘economics does not describe an existing external “economy”, but brings that economy into being: economics performs the economy, creating the phenomena it describes’ (MacKenzie & Millo 2003, p. 108). This idea is now recognized by many authors as one of the major contributions to economic sociology (see, e.g., Barry & Slater 2002; Holm 2007; MacKenzie & Millo 2003; MacKenzie 2004, 2007) and has been accompanied by vivid debates across the social sciences about the actual influence of economics and economists over economic practices (e.g. Miller 2000; Callon 2005, 2007; Ferraro et al. 2005; Ghoshal 2005; MacKenzie et al. 2007) and more generally over society and political processes (see, e.g., Bazerman & Malhotra 2006; Fourcade 2001, 2006). But when we remember to take the ‘cultural’ dimension into consideration – that is, when we move beyond economic sociology to the broader intellectual realm of social sciences and humanities at large – we are also reminded that Callon was not the first scholar to develop an interest in performativity as a way to address issues whose importance goes well beyond pure language processes. Since Austin (1962) outlined the philosophical proposition that speech is not primarily or exclusively ‘constative’, that is, it does not just ‘state’ facts but, in certain felicitous conditions, ‘acts’ or ‘performs’ certain realities, the idea of performativity has engaged theorists within the political and social sciences, philosophy and gender theory notably including Pierre Bourdieu (1982), Jacques Derrida (1991), and of course Judith Butler (1990, 1993 ,1997). (First two paragraphs of the introduction)
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hal-03473755 , version 1 (10-12-2021)



Franck Cochoy, Martin Giraudeau, Mcfall Liz. Performativity, economics and politics. Journal of Cultural Economy, 3 (2), 2010. ⟨hal-03473755⟩
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