Performativity, economics and politics: an overview

Cochoy, Franck; Giradeau, Martin and McFall, Liz (2010). Performativity, economics and politics: an overview. Journal of Cultural Economy, 3(2) pp. 139–146.



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).

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