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[Commlist] CFP - Twenty Years After: The Workshop on Cultural Economy

Fri Oct 25 16:41:41 GMT 2019

*Twenty Years After: The Workshop on Cultural Economy*
/City, University of London/
/Friday January 10th 2020/

The Workshop on Cultural Economy took place at the turn of the millennium, at the Open University’s Walton Hall in Milton Keynes, hosted by the Pavis Centre for Social and Cultural Research. This brought together scholars from a range of social science disciplines – cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, management, human geography, science & technology studies – to discuss renewing the study of economic life, after “the cultural turn”. Participants were interested, first, in the rise of finance, corporate management culture, the business functions of design, advertising and marketing, retail and service work, “enterprise discourse” in the creative industries and emerging tech sector, and so on. This was loosely referred to as the “culturalisation” of the economy. Second, they were interested in applying and developing constructivist approaches to these phenomena, particularly drawing from Foucauldian governmentality and genealogy, Actor-Network Theory, and the broader world of economic sociology, anthropology and geography. This led to an edited collection, book series’ and teaching programmes, followed by large funded research consortia (e.g. CRESC <>) and eventually a new journal: the Journal of Cultural Economy. <>

From an initial loose programme of research, it might now be described as a distinct (if still relatively undisciplined) academic field, with international reach. As a field, it is characterised by the production of insightful and detailed re-descriptions of the micro-sociology of trading floors, economic methods, algorithms, the lived experience of debt, credit, insurance, speculation, calculation and a range of market devices. These are typically informed by rich ethnographies, inventive textual re-readings, and sometimes primary professional experience. Yet the relation to cultural studies (arguably whence it sprung), especially to cultural /identity/ and cultural /politics/, is no longer at all clear – even while this would seem to be an increasingly urgent empirical concern for contemporary economic and social life.

The anniversary workshop will aim to look back at the emergence of this field therefore – taking a cultural economy approach to Cultural Economy, as it were – to think about its theoretical and institutional conditions, alongside absences, counterfactuals and paths not taken. It will seek to learn from this and provoke new directions.

Extended arguments as well as shorter provocation pieces are equally welcome. Those who cannot attend are encouraged to contribute to the dialogue through blogposts to be published on the JCE website. A selection of contributions to the workshop are intended to be compiled for a future issue of the Journal of Cultural Economy.

A limited number of travel grants are available for PhD students, or those without access to appropriate institutional resources, based in the UK (courtesy the Journal of Cultural Economy, and Sociology departments at the University of Edinburgh and City, University of London).

Please respond to (toby.bennett /at/ <mailto:(toby.bennett /at/> by Friday November 29th 2019.

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