Theme Call. Valuation as a semiotic, narrative, and dramaturgical problem

Theme Call for Abstracts 

Title: Valuation as a semiotic, narrative, and dramaturgical problem: re-opening the toolbox of valuation studies

Editors: Fabian Muniesa (Mines ParisTech) & José Ossandón (Copenhagen Business School)

Value is, at least in part, about signs. But then the study of valuation as a problem requires confronting the multifarious debates on the meaning of signification. Of course, several paths have been opened already, with the many studies of valuation drawing from various traditions in semiotics, resulting in different understandings of what value as sign is and does. A similar point could be made about narration. Valuation is a narrative accomplishment and therefore it can (and it has been) analyzed with the help of tools developed to inspect styles, tropes, and plots, and with different ways of connecting these to different theories of the rhetoric, narrative and linguistic constitution of reality. Comparable paths can be – and have been – explored in which value is thought of as a performance, where valuation is examined from the perspective of dramaturgy, contrasting several understandings of what it means to act, to enact, to represent, to express. 

It is now time, thus, to acknowledge the fact that studies of valuation rely to a great extent on analytical tools developed originally for the analysis of signs, texts and plays, drawing from different semiotic paradigms (Peirce, Saussure, Greimas, etc.), different approaches to the study of discourse (Foucault, Laclau, Butler, etc.) and narrative, and different dramaturgical metaphors (performances, roles, personae, etc.). It seems today, however, that the import flow has stopped. It is as if the concepts and analytical tools were already settled. This open call for Valuation Studies expects to demonstrate that this is not the case. It is an invitation to open up our toolbox again and enrich the analytical repertoire of valuation studies, aiming at assembling original research and fostering productive conversation on valuation as a semiotic, narrative, and dramaturgical problem.  

We seek contributions that propose, question, test, illustrate or explore new avenues for the analysis of valuation and value as semiotic, narrative and dramaturgical problem. We expect papers that explore in new ways how semiotic, narrative and dramaturgical methods and concept can help us to understand better valuation today.

Expressions of interest to contribute shall be submitted first in the form of an extended abstract (about 1000 words) that will be evaluated by the editors. Papers resulting from accepted proposals will then undergo a peer-review process.

Please address queries and expressions of interest to José Ossandón <> and Fabian Muniesa <> before September 15, 2020 (full papers expected submission April 2021).

Valuation Studies sets out to offer an academic platform for research and debate on the problem of valuation. Valuation indeed stands as a crucial problem for the social sciences and the humanities today, in more than one way. Understanding the tensions, determinants, contexts and effects of valuation practices appears indeed as a decisive requirement for the understanding of how our world is constructed, transformed or fractured. An interdisciplinary approach is required in order to investigate the technical cultures, the political imaginaries, the historical processes, the methodological problems and the institutional settings that shape the ways in which things are valued, and to identify relevant shifts, controversies and struggles. Sociological, anthropological, cultural, political, semiotic, historiographic, legal, institutional, critical, organisational approaches to the study of valuation phenomena are needed in order to establish tractable, actionable interdisciplinary knowledge on valuation as a problem. Submissions to Valuation Studies respond to broad calls for contributions curated by the journal’s editorial board. This is to ensure focus and debate, while offering the space to address each call’s purpose from many possible angles and in reference to various forms of evidence and demonstration. The journal assesses incoming manuscripts using double-blind peer review involving at least two reviewers. Accepted manuscripts are published as PDFs with full open access and authors retain the copyright to their work.

Indicative bibliography: 

Butler, Judith (1990), Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London: Routledge. 

Czarniawska, Barbara (1997), Narrating the Organization: Dramas of Institutional Identity. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press. 

Eco, Umberto (1986), Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language. Bloomington (IN): Indiana University Press. 

Fairclough, Norman (1995). Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language. Harlow: Pearson Longman Education. 

Ginzburg, Carlo (1979), ‘Clues: Roots of a Scientific Paradigm’, Theory and Society, 7(3): 273-288. 

Goffman, Erving (1956), The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York (NY): Doubleday. 

Hall, Stuart (1997). Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Thousand Oaks (CA): Sage. 

Kockleman, Paul (2016), The Chicken and the Quetzal: Portable Values and Incommensurate Ontologies in Guatemala's Cloud Forest. Durham (NC): Duke University Press. 

Laclau, Ernesto (2014), The Rhetorical Foundations of Society. London: Verso. 

Latour, Bruno (1999), ‘Circulating Reference: Sampling the Soil in the Amazon Forest’, in Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard (MA): Harvard University Press. 

Lorino, Philippe (2018), Pragmatism and Organization Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Muniesa, Fabian (2014), The Provoked Economy: Economic Reality and the Performative Turn. London: Routledge. 

Ricœur, Paul (1977), The Rule of Metaphor: Multi-Disciplinary Studies in the Creation of Meaning in Language. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.  

Schechner, Richard (2003), Performance Theory. London: Routledge. 

Smith, Barbara Herrnstein (1991), Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.