The economy in the making: socio-technical devices, economics, management sciences, and performativity

Previous work at the CSI has shown that the shaping of markets (their creation, stabilization and transformation) is the result of actions undertaken by multiple actors with widely diverse approaches and interests.

Within economic sociology – a field that is now consolidated and endeavours to explain these processes – the perspective developed by the CSI adds an original contribution which:

– is characterized by the attention it pays to the variety of actors concerned by market formation, the key role of technical devices and scientific knowledge, and the importance of experimentation and of processes of qualification of goods and services;
– studies the articulation between the economic and the political, that is, the way in which market devices incorporate certain assumptions on desirable forms of social organization, and can be designed a instruments of regulation with collectively defined objectives.

Research at the CSI also concerns the pragmatics of evaluation, that is, the study of:

– the operations through which the value of objects is constituted and their prices set;
– phenomena of quantification;
– the performative nature of instruments derived from economics.

This interest covers various fields: entrepreneurship, energy and carbon markets, consulting, finance, information and communication technologies, and the health economy.

Projects related to this theme

LaPIn – Creating labels to foster innovation: This project aims at analyzing how labels are mobilized by the economic actors and by public authorities so as to orientate, coordinate and spur innovation in the construction sector in response to the challenges posed by sustainable development is presenting.
Project website : http://www.csi.mines-paristech.fr//WebCSI/LAPIN/
Contact : alexandre.mallard@mines-paristech.fr

SMEGreenTech : This project aims at studying the dynamics of emergence of industrial sectors and markets for green technologies, and the role played by the SME in this dynamics. Particular focus will be given to three study sites: the eco-materials for construction, biofuel and the biogas sector.
Contact : alexandre.mallard@mines-paristech.fr

PERFORMABUSINESS : This project studies business culture with attention to socio-cognitive devices such as: management consulting techniques and tools (slideshow reporting), tools used by professionals of business valuation (business plans, business models), and pedagogical instruments used in business education (the case method).
Project website : http://www.csi.mines-paristech.fr//performabusiness/
Contact : fabian.muniesa@mines-paristech.fr

AUDITVMONDE : this work analyzes the origins and evolution of quantitative indexes for measuring audiences and which, by virtue of agreement on what a tele-viewer means, have become measurements of the actors’ activity, indexes used to set prices, conventions between the market actors, and even instruments that can be mobilized in the public debate.
Contact : cecile.meadel@mines-paristech.fr

Forests, policies and the economics of carbon: Vera Ehrenstein’s doctoral thesis examined the mechanisms and effects of assigning an economic value to the carbon of forests, an ideal subject for investigating a “politics of climate change” where economics with its devices, institutions and practices plays an essential part.
Contact : fabian.muniesa@mines-paristech.fr

Pricing electricity in France in the 1960s: this doctoral thesis is devoted to the collective construction – by a group of heterogeneous actors including economists, engineers, planners, policy-makers and statisticians – of a pricing system where the concept of equilibrium and the role of prices have been defined in a particularly innovative way.
Contact : guillaume.yon@mines-paristech.fr

Quantification in the policies and organization of healthcare: the doctoral thesis of Pierre-André Juven focused on the introduction of activity-based costing as a mode of funding health institutions. It analyses the complex agencement of medical, organizational and accounting devices required by this method, and the partially controversial effects that this type of system has on the organization of healthcare.
Contact : vololona.rabeharisoa@mines-paristech.fr