It doesn’t take a particularly bright person to realize that the “performativity of markets” was the hot-button issue at this year’s American Sociological Association meetings, at least among my extended tribe.  Of course, dear Harrison White (of the ‘will you breakdance for us at your dissertation defense?’ fame) has been writing about this shit for years, that is, if I have any idea what the ‘performativity of markets’ is, and I’m pretty sure I don’t.  It seems I need to read this and then it is in the recursive nature of knowledge that I’ll have to keep reading, which I hope will land me back with what-seemed-to-be-excellent Kieran Healy’s post here, and also the talk that he gave at the ASA, which seemed mad dope.  Double dope was dude’s talk on pricing in (secondary) art markets which I’m pretty sure is an old topic in hard core econ, but seemed to have this “performativity” word in it, too.  So if there’s new wine in an old bottle, I think he’s serving it at his restaurant (somewhere on Barnard’s campus).

I got a ‘bit’ from his talk–“burned painting” is used to refer to those works of art that are bought and sold too many times within some span and cease to raise in price as a consequence–he says they “cease to be seen as art” or something similar.  This seems like it could quickly become a general principle, rather than a observation isolated to works of high art.  I made a little note in my Moleskine that in the limited universe, ‘burned paintings’ may be structurally similar to Pete’s ‘aesthetic exhaustion’ (cases in which people, for reasons too vague for us to determine, cease seeing some object, style, or artist as art-ish, beautiful, or interesting).  Of course, on second thought, these are not the same thing at all.  That teaches you that you’re not Van Gogh or Picasso, dammit. 

On the same panel, someone else quipped that “entanglement is the new embedded” which got a big laugh, but empties out the more you think about it.  Or that’s just me.  Cause that sounds like the same problem I’m having with “performativity.”

Um, one more note_to_self: think about the translation or transmogrification of objects through decay as a sociological process.

Highlights of the mini-conference included John Mohr and his schema of formal models in cultural sociology,  Fred Turner’s notion of the Whole Earth Catalogue’s found model, everything about Robin Wagner-Pacifici (especially her love of food and remarks on art), Tia DeNora, and Ann Swidler who has lovely hair and lovely ideas.


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6 responses to “ASAs

  1. “Um, one more note_to_self: think about the translation or transmogrification of objects through decay as a sociological process.”

    That reminds me of this:

    and this:

    which contains the salient line:
    “But it is also worth remembering that London is sinking – indeed, the whole of southeast England is sinking – roughly 8″ every century. That may not sound like much, but there are 10,000 centuries in a million years; so, providing such a rate remains constant, London – amazingly, sadly, absurdly, excitingly – will be more than 6500-feet below ground, buried more than a mile in the muck and clay.”

  2. Tammy

    The Barnard guy is Peter Levin, who is as funny as he is smart.

  3. funny as he is smart

    this could go two ways, no?

  4. funny as he is smart

    this could go two ways, no?

  5. jlena

    I KNOW Tammy means it ‘the good way.’

    I *loved* your talk–can I read it? And do you agree it relates to the “performativity” stuff? (And I beg your forgiveness if you addressed this in the text. I was running on 30% battery power.) (And NO that’s not a joke about the powerpoint snafoo.)

  6. Hi, there!..b145b9aedf065e237c8b6c84b6b3ca79

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