L’emprise des marchés, by Michel Callon (Paris, La Découverte)
The grip of markets. Understanding how they function in order to change them
While partisans and despisers of the market economy confront each other with a rare violence, a prior question arises: what is a market?
Michel Callon shows that the organization of market activities is not limited to the mere confrontation between offers and demands. How is a “thing” transformed, after immense efforts, into merchandise? By what means do agents become capable of assessing goods and of calculating their decisions? Does not their meeting require meticulous adjustments? What are the mainsprings of the mobilization and of the framing of passions? How do they manage to attract customers and obtain their willingness to pay?
From a multitude of examples taken in finance, energy, food, real estate, gambling, health, mass retailing, electronic commerce, global warming and even funeral services, the author highlights the diversity and proliferation of the activities deployed and the investments made to devise solutions to these problems.
At the end of an exciting journey, which makes it possible to follow the career of goods from their conception to their circulation in the sphere of consumption, the reader becomes aware of the multiplicity of configurations.
The “market agencements”, a notion that Michel Callon places at the very heart of his reflection and which replaces that of market, make it possible to account for the richness and the complexity of the processes at work. They also give new possibilities for action to all those who refuse to submit to the grip of existing markets without discussion.
2017 – La Découverte
“Par delà l’offre et la demande : le marché”. Intervenant : Michel Callon, Sociologue, professeur à Mines ParisTech et chercheur au Centre de sociologie de l’innovation.