Fabian Muniesa's research while affiliated with Paris Sciences and Letters (PSL) University and other places

Publications (86)

Article
Public policy innovations such as social impact bonds (SIBs) have prompted critical attention in recent literature. Yet, little is known about the operations they require and the shapes they take. This study contributes to this research agenda through a focus on the problem of ‘feasibility’. We consider this notion as a vernacular preoccupation put...
Article
What is the use of calling ‘cultural’ the set of habits, worldviews, practices, struggles and processes that go today by the name of ‘finance’? Cannot the subject matter be dealt with more aptly with the word ‘political’, especially if the objective is to add some critical traction and contribute to political articulation? Drawing from a few old co...
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Full-text available
The tropes of restraint and remediation that accompany the reform of public services and public administrations often locate in efficient costing the key to the state’s economic fitness. Knowledge of costs does not feature in such reforms solely as information conducive to the strengthening of budgetary reform. It is also knowledge that needs to be...
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Islands imaginaries are imaginaries of exception, in the dual sense that islands are seen as places like no others (exceptional territories) as well as sites of exceptions to known orders of things (territories of exceptions). In Singapore, these two modalities of exception play a key role in Smart Nation, a program launched by the government in 20...
Article
The future is persistently considered in the sociology of finance from two divergent, problematic angles. The first approach consists in supplementing financial reasoning with an acknowledgement of the expectations that are needed in order to cope with an uncertain future and justify the viability of investment decisions. The second approach, often...
Chapter
The surrealist movement, understood as a broad, multifaceted network of ideals and situations, has offered productive and intriguing—though still largely unexploited—connections to sociological critique. Yet, it has also carried, in its multiple versions, the traces of its inherent tactical syndrome: a group of ‘young poets’ calling resoundingly fo...
Article
Finance Ticking Away - Martijn Konings, 2018, Capital and Time: For a New Critique of Neoliberal Reason (Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press) - Volume 59 Issue 3 - Fabian Muniesa
Article
The concept of reality saturates today’s business curriculum. Educational methods that emphasize an experiential approach to business reality, practical training through real cases, or an active realization of business insights have become almost inescapable in contemporary business education. The case method of instruction in business administrati...
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Financial imagination plays a fundamental, yet ambivalent role in the establishment of hierarchies within and between business schools, and in business life at large. This study examines this process in the ‘middle tier’ of business education: that is, in the social space in which students and instructors understand themselves to occupy a ‘mid-rang...
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What sort of reality is produced and conveyed to the business trainee through the set of pedagogical techniques that characterize the experiential business curriculum, and how does immersion in this particular kind of reality configure the business self? This essay discusses some of the rhetorical and theatrical contrivances that are used to genera...
Article
What kind of an anthropological puzzle does the performativity of strategy constitute? Rather than considering performativity as an operational concept or situating the discussion within the limits of strategy scholarship, this short essay asks how an emphasis on the performative can be regarded as a cultural condition, that is, as a ductile though...
Chapter
How natural is economic nature and how provocative is it to claim that this nature is a provoke done? The purpose of this contribution is to expose the problem of the naturalness of economic things. Naturalism in modern economic reason is examined through a series of ‘breaching thought experiments’: intellectual setups in which economics, economic...
Article
The diagrammatic slideshow constitutes a crucial communicational instrument in management consulting. However, its semiotic implications remain poorly understood. How do consultants create slides that they deem significant? How do they recognize a good slide or an effective diagram? What practical criteria do they use? To tackle these questions, we...
Article
Contribution to Review Symposium on The Provoked Economy: Economic Reality and the Performative Turn (Routledge, 2014).
Article
The quandaries of business valuation have marked the pedagogy of business administration since early attempts at institutionalizing the managerial discipline. It is however now commonly admitted, at least in legitimate financial and entrepreneurial circles, that the value of a business (that is, the monetary assessment of a functioning enterprise e...
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In a conversation with Fabian Muniesa from the board of editors of Valuation Studies, Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre unravelled a few of the distinguishing features of their new work on the sociology of valuation. Combining an updated view on the pragmatics of justification and a more recent preoccupation with the problem of prices, their propos...
Chapter
There are multiple ways in which the problematic nexus between materiality and rule can be addressed, and multiple reasons to do so. A few incomplete thoughts on the gruelling case of business (on the materiality of its rules but also on its matter proper) are offered in this chapter. How can this multifarious object of inquiry confront the problem...
Book
Do things such as performance indicators, valuation formulas, consumer tests, stock prices or financial contracts represent an external reality? Or do they rather constitute, in a performative fashion, what they refer to? The Provoked Economy tackles this question from a pragmatist angle, considering economic reality as a ceaselessly provoked reali...
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This paper examines counterfactual display in the valuation of carbon offsetting projects. Considered a legitimate way to encourage climate change mitigation, such projects rely on the establishment of procedures for the prospective assessment of their capacity to become carbon sinks. This requires imagining possible worlds and assessing their plau...
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The post-World War II period gave rise to a large number of social-scientific techniques for investigating and intervening in social reality. A particular group of these, exemplified here by the experiments of Moreno, Lewin, Bion, Milgram and Zimbardo, worked by establishing suggestive micro-realities in which participants were exposed to, or exper...
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Editorial for the first issue of Valuation Studies (Open Access).
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This chapter draws from a recent policy-oriented investigation that seeks to ground measures for the advancement of responsible innovation in finance within an account of several dimensions of responsibility in that area. The purpose of the chapter is to clarify the several meanings that responsible or irresponsible innovation can have in finance,...
Chapter
The paper examines, through a case study on the Arizona Stock Exchange, how computerization challenged the definition of the stock exchange in the context of North-American financial markets in the 1990’s. It analyses exchange automation in terms of trials of explicitness: the computational formulation of what an exchange is calls for a detailed ex...
Article
Qu'est-ce que le marché ? Depuis une quinzaine d'années, Michel Callon et les chercheurs du centre de sociologie de l'innovation (CSI) de l'école des mines se penchent sur cette question si peu discutée par les recherches en économie ; ils l'interrogent dans le prolongement des travaux qu'ils menaient autour de la sociologie de la traduction, dite...
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Full-text available
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the potentials offered by New Product Committees for the development of responsible innovation in the financial services industry; and to provide grounds for policy recommendations. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of collective, interdisciplinary reflection and experience w...
Article
Actor-Network Theory proves particularly inspiring in reconsidering the tenets of quantitative research and computational methods in the social sciences. However, translating insights from this perspective into operational models is problematic. The paper examines, in the form of a dialogue, critical problems of the computational modelling of netwo...
Article
Examines the pragmatic efficacy of a the diagrammatic presentation of managerial problems in a consultancy slideshow through an ethnographic analysis of a consultancy mission, and discusses findings in the light of a pragmatist approach.
Article
The sociological understanding of valuation often starts with an idea of value as something that something has by virtue of how people consider it (that is, it is socially constructed, a convention, a social representation, a projection). At some point, however, analysis also often draws a contrast between this sort of appraisal and some other type...
Article
We study how state practitioners account for the shape and action of the state. We focus on the implementation, from the early 2000s onwards, of a reform of public management in France which called for a revision of the description of the boundaries and achievements of the action of the state. The reform targeted the rules governing the budgetary p...
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A review essay on the work of Javier Izquierdo.
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Les études se multiplient qui constatent que l'État, qui a émergé de la modernité comme une réalité essentiellement politique, est aujourd'hui traversé par des logiques hétéronomes qui puisent leur inspiration dans les savoirs de management. Plus rares sont en revanche les études qui cherchent concrètement à observer et à documenter le passage d'un...
Article
In the Place of Politics: the Paradox of the “Politics of Economization” Intended as an introduction, this article aims to highlight some of the lessons that stem from the different contributions that compose this issue on the “politics of economization”. Referring to the paradox that is underlying this particular form of politization, we draw atte...
Article
Intended as an introduction, this article aims to highlight some of the lessons that stem from the different contributions that compose this issue on the "politics of economization". Referring to the paradox that is underlying this particular form of politization, we draw attention on three analytical figures that are found in all the presented stu...
Article
From the Ministry to the Agency: a Study of a Process of Political Alteration An important number of studies take for granted that the state, which arouse during modernity as an essentially political reality, is nowadays increasingly shaped by heteronomous logics stemming from management. Yet, far less abundant are the studies that strive to observ...
Article
The paper examines, through a case study on the Arizona Stock Exchange, how computerization challenged the definition of the stock exchange in the context of North-American financial markets in the 1990's. It analyses exchange automation in terms of trials of explicitness: the computational formulation of what an exchange is calls for a detailed ex...
Book
Michel Callon a marqué les sciences humaines et sociales par sa production académique, par ses activités d'animateur de la communauté scientifique et par son rôle de médiateur entre la recherche et le monde de la politique, de l'administration et de l'entreprise. Il a multiplié les espaces d'entente et de confrontation, en se déplaçant aussi bien s...
Article
This article provides an ethnographic examination of olfactory consumer testing in the perfume industry. What kind of reality is generated within such practices? The analysis is focused on one particular testing method used in order to assess the hedonic performance of fine fragrances. The authors observe what happens inside the testing venue. The...
Article
An overview of the history, practice and effects of marketing consumer testing in the perfume industry.
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Description of an installation for an exhibition.
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Studies a number of aspects of the reform of public finance and public management in France (LOLF), with special attention to science and technology policy, using a pragmatist approach to the sociology of the state.
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Propose quelques développements théoriques sur le thème de la performativité des sciences économiques.
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http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/ref/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2007.00727.x
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This article contributes to a pragmatist analysis of pricing and valuation through an account of the production of closing prices at the Paris Bourse. The Paris Bourse is an electronic stock exchange and the actors in charge of its technological configuration often need to face concerns about the quality of the prices that the configuration produce...
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http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/book.asp?ref=9781405170284
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Full-text available
The notion of transparency is widely used as an analytical tool and as a guideline to propose and enforce new configurations of economic life. Focusing on several transparency-making devices, this paper tries to explore both the pervasiveness of this notion and its ambivalence in a number of relevant sites. We begin by exploring the deployment of t...
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Un dispositif d'économie expérimentale mis en place pour évaluer les dispositions à payer de consommateurs de produits sans OGM est utilisé dans cet article comme terrain d'observation d'une opération rarement décrite : l'appréciation, au sens propre de donner un prix ou plus général d'évaluer. Le dispositif étudié, à la fois riche, soigné, et proc...
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Entrée sur la théorie de l'acteur-réseau (ou sociologie de la traduction).
Article
Bringing transactions to an end constitutes a crucial stage of market activity: the detachment between the counterparties engaged in a trade must be guaranteed. In financial markets, this operation relies on organisational technologies, such as clearinghouses, that can reach a high degree of sophistication. In this paper, we use financial clearingh...
Article
How to address empirically the calculative character of markets without dissolving it? In our paper, we propose a theoretical framework that helps to deal with markets without suspending their calculative properties. In the first section, we construct a broad definition of calculation, grounded on the anthropology of science and techniques. In the...
Article
À la Bourse de Paris, dans les années 1980, le marché à la criée fut totalement remplacé par un système de cotation électronique (Cac). Dans cet article, nous nous intéressons aux circonstances qui ont rendu possible cette transition. Nous étudions les divers compromis, à la fois sociaux et techniques, que les responsables de cette innovation ont c...
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Provides ethnographic observations and analysis of a laboratory experiment in economics.
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Open outcry was fully replaced at the Paris Bourse by an automated trade execution system (CAC) in the late 1980s. In this article, we focus on the circumstances that made this transition possible. We ana- lyze the diverse compromises (both social and technical) that the officials and engineers in charge of the innovation process constructed in ord...
Article
ECONOMIC MARKETS AS COLLECTIVE CALCULATING DEVICES How to address empirically the calculative character of markets without dissolving it? In this paper the authors propose a theoretical framework that helps to deal with markets without debunking their calculative properties. In the first section they construct a broad definition of calculation, gro...
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http://www.cairn.info/sommaire.php?ID_REVUE=RES&ID_NUMPUBLIE=RES_122
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Full-text available
Our task in this paper is to analyze the organization of trading in the era of quantitative finance. To do so, we conduct an ethnography of arbitrage, the trading strategy that best exemplifies finance in the wake of the quantitative revolution. In contrast to value and momentum investing, we argue, arbitrage involves an art of association - the co...
Article
NOTE: This contribution tries to trigger some useful comparisons from two different fieldworks. The first one is about exchange automation. It has been conducted between 1999 and 2001 and it constitutes the major topic of a PhD dissertation (France Telecom R&D and Paris School of Mines). Some results have been already exploited in several academic...
Article
In this paper we address the mechanistic character of markets through an empirical investigation on the automation of a stock exchange: the Paris Bourse. In this market open outcry was fully replaced by an automated trade execution system in the late 1980s: since then the confrontation of buy and sell orders was to be performed by an algorithm. We...
Article
Today's global financial markets are regarded by many as one of the most visible manifestations of late modernity. Financial markets are expected to be readily available 24 hours a day for trading and to supply a flux of information in the form of prices. However, this image disregards the underlying complexity of the financial markets and their pa...

Citations

... On a more theoretical level, it proposes on the one hand to broaden the conceptualisation of powergenerally confined to the economic (market power) and political (balance of power) dimensions in order to embrace cognitive power: we believe that the notion of "performativity of economics", already well established in other fields such as the Social Studies of Finance (e.g. MacKenzie 2006; Muniesa and Callon 2013), can enrich the framework of EPE. On the other hand, it intends to assert the contribution of economic sociology to EPE: through the concept of "tropes" (Borch 2016), we will grasp the importance of social norms in the emergence of the modern stock exchanges. ...
... Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, platform-driven urban production has been experiencing a significant increase in intensity and expansion: platforms have not only been facilitating social and economic life in times of physical contact restrictions but have resignified urban governance by creating additional political relations among people, institutions and global economic flows. The social and political narrative of a 'techno-entrepreneurialism' like in Singapore is indicative of governments' efforts to promote tech business experimentalism (Laurent et al. 2021). Such top-down efforts are in this specific case modifying established notions of citizenship and nationhood (Chua 2019), and are penetrating almost every aspect of urban politics. ...
... Several studies in economic sociology have thrown light on how a set of market devices, co-produced by market actors through everyday interaction, create the conditions for multiplying the transactions of different types of goods and assets (Fligstein and Calder, 2015). Indeed, as Chiapello remarks in her conceptualization of financialization as a socio-technical process, different layers of professional work, carried out by both private and public actors, are needed for financialization to make progress in any given domain (Chiapello, 2020; see also Birch andMuniesa, 2020). ...
... Based on this, the study develops a two-part argument. First, aligning themselves with a strand of economic sociology concerned with the performativity of market devices (Doganova & Eyquem-Renault, 2009;Doganova & Muniesa, 2015), the authors argue that the "agri-food tech pitch" is a device that allows entrepreneurs to handle a tension between "on the one hand, the combination of world-changing ambition and profit-making potential demanded by Silicon Valley investors and, on the other, the political economic realities of food and agriculture" (p. 3). ...
... In addition, there are two main types of sports organizations that exist in society: administrative and public service. From the experience of community sports construction in developed countries, the funding for community sports mainly comes from government input, but families, enterprises, lotteries, and other channels are also gradually becoming important sources [11][12][13][14]. ...
... El siglo XXI intenta romper con el positivismo en estas disciplinas en tanto que su propio objeto lo reclama; pero nos hemos quedado cortos para medir y encontrar modelos que permitan registrar la rugosidad de la vida social y encontrar patrones flexibles y universales que permitan dar cuenta de lo social (Ibáñez, 1991, pp. 36-41;Latour, 2002;Muniesa, 2019), tampoco pueden dar cuenta de necesidades tan flexibles y universales como son las del cuidado que, como ya adelantó Sandra Harding, requieren una nueva epistemología (1986), es decir, nuevas formas de mirar y analizar los cuidados (Martín Palomo y Muñoz Terrón, 2014). Así, con la geometría fratal nos aventuramos a proponer una reflexión teórico-metodológica con la que aunar cuestiones nuevas, muy del siglo XXI con propuestas analíticas también novedosas para abordar un objeto que en las últimas décadas interroga constantemente a las CCSS. ...
... Our contribution is threefold. First, we answer recent calls for further research at the intersection of the sociology of valuation and accounting (Doganova et al., 2018;Mennicken & Power, 2015;Millo et al., 2021;Plante et al., 2021;Vollmer et al., 2009). We notably do so by theorizing how a plurality of values can be expressed in a valuation process. ...
... Muniesa demonstrates that examination of simulacra can be a relevant approach for inquiring into the performativity of cultural economy (Muniesa et al. 2011(Muniesa et al. , 2014(Muniesa et al. , 2010. Of particular relevance for this paper, Munisea observes the role of simulacral management education and the attempts made of realizing the idealized business self (Lezaun andMuniesa 2017, Muniesa 2017). He suggests we think of simulacra as provocations of reality, vehicles that eventually contribute to the effectuation of business performance. ...
... Some have even sued their universities for drops in their rankings. Ortiz and Muniesa (2018) have also used the language of anxiety to inspect how business schools' inhabitants occupy the hierarchical world of ranked universities. Plenty of good work has been produced in research that, even though it is not necessarily associated with what is now referred to as valuation studies, is concerned with similar problems. ...
... Cependant, si l'on peut facilement s'accorder qu'il est ici question de « valorisation », prendre appui sur ces travaux nécessite de clarifier ce que l'on entend par ce terme (voir p. ex. Stark, 2009 ;Lamont, 2012;Helgesson, Krause, et al., 2017 ;Doganova, Giraudeau, et al., 2018). À partir de cette question, je prolonge la réflexion et envisager les cachets non seulement comme une façon d'interroger la construction d'un marché, mais également la stabilisation des identités des différents acteurs qui y prennent part. ...