Category Archives: Daily

Some of my lessons from 2007 ASA

1) Talks where you spend 1/2 the time talking about the literature review almost never work, and often make people’s eyes glaze over. I am middling at speaking myself, but telling the audience something interesting is more important than reminding them that you’re well-read in your field. 2) I found the sessions less inspiring than […]

Intermediaries and Ambiguity

Marc Ventresca and I wrote a quickie article for the London Times a few years back, a short what’s-what of economic sociology. In it, we wrote the following: Intermediaries are vivid in these cultural and organizational studies of markets. They are, at the individual level: brokers, experts, consultants, analysts, and appraisers. They also work at […]

Performativity, yet again

This critique, by Omar at OrgTheory, has the dual distinction of being snidely pissy and wrong. First the pissy. Omar suggests that the apparently “busy schedule of a Parisian anthropologist of science” doesn’t accommodate the study of “big” markets, where representational critique is much better than performativity. I also enjoyed the dig that fancy Parisians […]

Trumping knowledge

This , and Kieran’s rejoinder, put me in mind of one of the best and worst things about expert knowledge.

Public Prices and Baselines, part I

One of the more taken-for-granted things about financial markets (and as I’m studying fine art, those as well) is the role of public prices in the mobilization of prices more broadly. This has sweeping importance, but I’m not sure a commensurate amount of theoretical attention.

Does Information-mining displace decision-making?

A number of tools are around to improve decision-making by providing information. The latest, announced by IBM, is “stream computing“, a somewhat mysterious-sounding technology that aims to improve the performance of single-threaded applications on multi-core chips. The seemingly most important application is that stream computing can aid in analyzing digital data as it comes into […]

Beyond physics and the economic molecule

Daniel and Yuval’s posts at SocFinance continue to be very important to me, with Daniel’s latest striking a particular chord. I agree quite a bit with the sensibility of his post. Over and again, there are questions about the ‘organic’-ness of markets, can they be designed if they are found in nature. This was rehearsed […]

Categorical Commensuration

One of the claims about commensuration is that it helps to resolve comparative issues by transforming quality into quantity. The art project I’m working on challenges this pretty fundamentally.

$40 Million

I read in June’s issue of Art News that Steve Wynn seems to have dropped his lawsuit with Lloyd’s of London over Le Rêve. If you’ll remember, this is the painting Mr. Wynn popped an elbow through while showing it to friends. His claim, interestingly enough, is that this reduced the value of the painting […]

Orthogonal thinking

One of the more insidious elements of commensuration is the normative push to treat what were qualitative differences as differences of common degree. For an organization engaged in a competitive marketplace, or a competitive reputational field more generally, this can be a problem.