Great academic opportunities: 15 calls for papers, 4 postdocs, 3 jobs, 2 visiting positions, 2 PhD stipends, winter school, and PhD course

Dear ES/PE community member, see below an abundant list of great call for papersacademic opportunities: 15 calls for papers for conferences and workshops (some are fully or partially funded), 4 post-doc and temporary positions, 3 job openings, 2 visiting positions, 2 doctoral fellowships, a winter school, and a PhD course — in various areas of economic sociology, political economy, and related fields, with August 5 – September 30 deadlinesShare this post with your colleagues and students. Good luck!

Calls for Papers:

> CfP: “Global Labor Migration: Past and Present” conference, The International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), June 20-22, 2019. The keynoters: Donna Gabaccia and Bridget Anderson. DL: August 15

> CfP: The 4th International Conference on Labor Theory of Value and Social Sciences, University of Brasilia, Brasilia (Brazil), 18 – 19 October 2018. DL: August 27

> CfP: “Uneven Development, Inequalities and the State“, the 4th Role of State in Varieties of Capitalism conference, Central European University, Budapest (Hungary), 29-30 November 2018. The keynoters: Robert Wade and Henk Overbeek. DL: August 31

CfP: “Gender and Labour Disputes: Perspectives Past and Present” conference, University of Erlangen – Nuremberg (Germany), 21-22 March 2019. DL: August 31

> CfP: “Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity” conference, Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands),  November 29-30, 2018. DL: August 31

> CfP: “Governing Markets as Knowledge Commons: The New Entrepreneurial History of Shared Social Infrastructures“, an edited volume and symposium in Spring 2019, Arlington, VA (USA). Authors will be reimbursed for their travel and accommodation costs. DL: August 31

> CfP: “Futures of finance and society“, Finance and Society Network’s conference, University of Edinburgh (UK), 6-7 December, 2018. The keynoters: Donald MacKenzie, Annelise Riles, Gillian Tett. DL: September 1. Recommended!

> CfP: “Debt, Freedom, and Development: Insights from Asia” conference, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, 15- 16 January 2019. The organisers will provide accommodation and/or a contribution towards airfare. DL: September 10

> CfP: “Knowledge Society and Sustainability” conference, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), October 17‐20, 2018. DL: September 10

> CfP: “The Transmission of Financial Knowledge in Historical Perspective, 1840–1940” conference, German Historical Institute (Washington, DC, USA), March 8-9, 2019. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered. DL: September 4

> CfP: “Gender, Race, Class and Crises: Pluralistic Approaches to the Economic Issues of our Time“, the International Confederation of Associations for Pluralism in Economics conference, Agnes Scott College (Atlanta, GA, USA), January 3, 2019. DL: September 4

> CfP for special issue: “Informal economy and digital labor in the cashless society“, Sociologia del Lavoro journal. DL for abstracts in English: September 15 

> CfP: “Economic Activities and Archival Practices in Europe between the 12th and the 21st century” workshop, Hamburg University (Germany), 4-5 April 2019. DL: September 30

> CfP for edited volume: “Alternatives to the Theory of the Firm / Alternative theories of the firm“, an Edited Volume to be published in Humanistic Management Series, Routledge Publishers. DL for abstracts: September 30

> CfP: The Historical Materialism Sydney conference, University of Sydney (Australia), 13-14 December, 2018. No attendance fee. DL: September 30

Job openings:

Professor in Sociology, especially in Work, Economy and Organization (permanent, full-time), Uppsala University (Sweden). DL: September 1

Faculty member specializing in work and organizational issues, MIT Sloan School (Cambridge, MA, USA). DL: September 14

Assistant or Associate or Full Professors in Social Inequality, Sociology Department, Yale University ( New Haven, CT, USA). DL: September 15

Post-doctoral and Temporary positions:

Lecturer in Comparative Political Economy and Development (temporary, full-time), King’s College London (UK). DL: August 8

Lecturer in Political Economy of Inclusive Development (temporary, full-time), King’s College London (UK). DL: August 8

Lecturer in the Social Science of International Development (temporary, full-time), King’s College London (UK). DL: August 8

> Post-doc Research Associate in a project on the impact of technology and digitalisation on work and employment in the logistics sector, at “Work, Organisation and Employee Relations” Centre, Sheffield University (UK). DL: August 27

Visiting opportunities:

International Scholar in Residence Program (8-12 weeks) for junior faculty and PhD students in the field of antitrust, by American Bar Association’s Section of Antitrust Law, Washington, D.C. (USA). DL: August 31

> Junior and Senior fellowships (6-7 months) in “Labour as a Political Category” and “Political Economy of Growth and Distribution” themes at The M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre for Advanced Studies in New Delhi, India. Stipend, housing, and travel costs will be granted. DL: September 15

PhD Fellowships:

PhD  scholarship in  historical / economic sociology, with a focus on the tensions between religious imaginaries and economic rationalities, Dept. of Management, Politics and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School. DL: August 5

Fully Funded PhD studies in “New Political Economy of Europe”, University College Dublin (Ireland). DL: August 25

PhD Course and Winter School:

> CfA: “Development, Democracy and Conflict” Interdisciplinary Winter school, Dept. of Sociology, South Asian University, New Delhi (India), 26 November – 1st December, 2018. DL: August 22

> CfA: “Markets and Governance in a Post-secular Society: an Introduction to Economic Theology“, a course for PhD students only, Copenhagen Business School, 6-8 November, 2018. DL: September 26

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The Sociology of Quantification: Seeing like Numbers

Elizabeth Popp Berman and Dan Hirschman have recently published in Contemporary Sociology a worth reading review essay called “The Sociology of Quantification: Where Are We Now?” In this article, which is definitely more than a ‘regular’ review, they Sociology of Quantificationdo not just discuss several books and depict a genre of researches, but elaborate a series of topical and programmatic questions in respect of what might be perceived as a consolidating subfield — Sociology of Quantification.

“While the sociology of quantification may lack a well-defined object of study, shared theoretical concepts, and an agreed-upon methodological toolkit, studies that touch on quantification nevertheless cluster around four broad questions, which we use to orient our review.. First, what shapes the production of numbers?… Second, when and how do numbers matter?.. Third, how do we govern quantification? How should we govern quantification?.. Fourth and finally, how should scholars study quantification?” (p. 258)

Berman and Hirschman think about these essential questions through observant reading eight very interesting new books — that lack a coherent terminology and a shared framework — but all of them grapple with the power of numbers in various contexts and point out “to a vibrant conversation about quantification happening across many different fields”.
Summarizing their illuminating essay, the authors emphasize that:

“Studies of new quantified phenomena help to sharpen our conceptual categories for thinking about what quantification really is. Quantification is not a single, unified process. Work that explores the boundaries of numbers, data, and measurement helps to flesh out our vocabulary—from indicators and rankings, to models and algorithms, and now big data and biosensing, and so on. Indeed, one of the clearest takeaways from these books, read as a group, is the blurriness of “quantification” and the need for conceptual categories that will help us unpack it… The qualitative study of quantification may, at the moment, be producing a significant body of new work. But for producing a coherent sociology of quantification, we have a long way to go.” (p. 266) 

One may find this conclusion disappointing; I find it scholarly encouraging.
Read here the full (open-access) essay :
Berman, Elizabeth and Daniel Hirschman. 2018. “The Sociology of Quantification: Where Are We Now?” Contemporary Sociology  47 (3): 257 – 266.

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B&B: Populism // Rostow’s economics and Vietnam War // Informal economy grows // Universities’ privatization failures // Deficit hawks deceive you // Inequality // One-sided economists

What is Populism? Its defining feature is not anti-elitism but anti-pluralism; it’s based on a fiction but it is not fictional politics — by Jan-Werner Müller

economics fiction> A standard format of budget reporting is deceptive, but it works for the deficit hawks in economics and politics — by Dean Baker

> “Economics is so one-sided, I think, because it’s the rich who hire economists; it’s just as simple as that” — an interview with Moshe Adler

W.W. Rostow’s economic theory and ideas helped persuade US Presidents that Vietnam War was right and just — by Joseph M. Long

Informal Economy’s alternatives take root when capitalism fails: barter, time trading, and gifts in crumbling Detroit — by Valerie Vande Panne

Universities tried the soft privatization, but that has failed to stabilize their finances and miseducated people about the social value of Higher Education — by Christopher Newfield 

Inequality is the topic of this illuminating issue of Economic Sociology European newsletter, edited by Olivier Godechot

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Probably the best “Acknowledgments” ever (4)


best Acknowledgments everThis work has been carried out despite the economical difficulties of the authors’ country. The authors want to overall remark the clear contribution of the Spanish Government in destroying the R&D horizon of Spain and the future of a complete generation.” (Padilla et al. 2014: 475)

Contrary to this “Acknowledgments” section, cleverly used by the researchers to submit an alarming, justified, and serious protestation, see here, here and here the past posts featuring humoristic and witty scholars’ “Acknowledgments” 🙂

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Robert Solow’s sarcastic economics

robert solowRobert Solow, one of the most honored and influential economist of the second half of the 20th century, has been involved throughout his career in a series of polemics with several neoliberal economists in academia and government. Along with substantial assertions and explanations, Solow often used to spice his arguments with witty and sarcastic stings, such as:

“Suppose someone sits down where you are sitting right now and announces to me that he is Napoleon Bonaparte. The last thing I want to do with him is to get involved in a technical discussion of cavalry tactics at the battle of Austerlitz. If I do that, I’m getting tacitly drawn into the game that he is Napoleon. Now, Bob Lucas and Tom Sargent like nothing better than to get drawn into technical discussions, because then you have tacitly gone along with their fundamental assumptions; your attention is attracted away from the basic weakness of the whole story. Since I find that fundamental framework ludicrous, I respond by treating it as ludicrous — that is, by laughing at it — so a’s not to fall into the trap of taking it seriously and passing on to matters of technique” (Arjo Klamer’s Conversations with Economists, 1983, p. 146)

“Another difference between Milton [Friedman] and myself is that everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of my papers.” (Solow 1966: 63)

“In principle, there is no reason why expectations about future inflation cannot be changed dramatically overnight. All that is needed is some gesture, some conviction, some promise, perhaps something slipped into the water supply. I drift into sarcasm, but only because sometimes the Reagan Administration’s representatives seem to adopt that line: it hardly matters what we do – if only you will believe us, your belief will make itself come true.” (Solow 1982: 23)

“The group at this conference is fairly uniform… A nonprofessional would find this whole meeting very mysterious. The discussion is very abstract; it is full of insiders’ language; people break into hysterical laughter for incomprehensible reasons. There are also some people here who are more directly concerned with practical matters. There are even more such people out in the streets of Edgartown, and those are people who could not care less about rational expectations or even about irrational expectations or identifying restrictions, whatever those words mean… I would like to assure the practical people in this room and also the ones out in the streets of Edgartown that although the battles that are fought in conferences like this appear to be fought with antique pop guns, the bullets are real and they may soon be fired at you by the Federal Reserve.” (Solow 1978: 203) 

Solow, Robert M. 1966. “Comments.” Pp. 62-66 in Guidelines: Informal Controls and the Market Place, eds. George P. Shultz and Robert Z. Aliber. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Solow, Robert. 1978. “Summery and Evaluation.” Pp. 203-9 in After the Phillips Curve: Persistence of High Inflation and High Unemployment; Proceedings of a Conference Held at Edgartown, Mass. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Solow, Robert. 1982. “Does Economics Make Progress?” Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 36(3): 13-31. (open access)

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Money fills our body to the brim,
creates our shape, our taste, the so-called self-esteem.
The shiny teeth earmark our polished fame,
the slickness crystallized since money rinsed our shame
into a sewer of repressed self-blame.

                                                                      (by Oleg Komlik)

Money Creates Taste - Jenny Holzer

“Money Creates Taste” by Jenny Holzer (2007)

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Economic Sociology, Homo Economicus, and Performativity of Economics

It is never too late, nor too early, to reread and contemplate a good theory.
The Laws of the Markets Michel CallonFor example, to mull over Michel Callon’s programmatic statement about the performativity of economics, presented two decades ago in the introduction to The Laws of the Markets:

“Underscoring the complexity of economic phenomena, a complexity to which economic theory with its cold and disincarnated view of homo economicus cannot do justice, sociology strives to give this abstract agent a bit more soul — the life and warmth he lacks — by mobilizing notions such as those of value, culture, rules or passions. Pareto dreamed it, economic sociology makes it. Yet, as we suggested, economic agents do not need be enriched. If they manage to become richer it is because, on the contrary, they were cooled, reduced and framed, particularly by economics! What we expect from sociology is not a more complex homo economicus but the comprehension of his simplicity and poverty. […]
Yes, homo economicus really does exist. Of course, he exists in the form of many species and his lineage is multiple and ramified. But if he exists he is obviously not be found in a natural state — this expression has little meaning. He is formatted, framed and equipped with prostheses which help him in his calculations and which are, for the most part, produced by economics. […] It is not a matter of giving a soul back to a dehumanized agent, nor of rejecting the very idea of his existence. The objective may be to explore the diversity of calculative agencies forms and distributions, and hence of organized markets. The market is no longer that cold, implacable and impersonal monster which imposes its laws and procedures while extending them ever further. It is a many-sided, diversified, evolving device which the social sciences as well as the actors themselves contribute to reconfigure.” (Callon 1998: 50-1)

Callon, Michel. 1998. “Introduction: The embeddedness of economic markets in economics.” Pp. 1-57 in The Laws of the Markets, edited by Michel Callon. Oxford: Blackwell. (Open access)

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B&B: Economics Nobel fools you // Moral limits, market, and science // Standardization of consumption // Capitalism cannot reform itself // Racial wealth gap // On the origin of cooperation

Economics is not a science> Glorifying economists, Nobel Prize aims to create the impression that economics is about discovering timeless truths. Don’t let them fool you — urges Joris Luyendijk

> Religious traditions toward capitalism impact scientists’ attitudes toward the commercialization of science — by Jared L. Peifer

Standardization of consumption and the senses: How cellophane changed the way we shop and buy food — by Carmen Nobel

Through trade and its norms and institutions that stabilized it, cooperative interactions between nonrelatives became possible on huge scales — by Kevin N. Laland

> “Today I have reached my conclusion,” wrote W. E. B. Du Bois in 1961, “Capitalism cannot reform itself; it is doomed to self-destruction. No universal selfishness can bring social good to all.” On W. E. B. Du Bois’ Revolutions — by Phillip Luke Sinitiere

The color of money and the racial wealth gap: the myths of the “Free Market” failed and fail black communities — a 7 min podcast with Mehrsa Baradaran, an author of The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap

It was the failure of the imperial monetary system, not the Opium Wars, that brought China low in the 19th century — argues Werner Burger 

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The IMF’s Reconstruction of Economic Orthodoxy since the Crash

by Ben Clift*

Analysing how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) contributes to prevailing understandings of sound economic policy reveals how economic orthodoxy is historically contingent, and throws into relief the malleability of economic policy credibility. These indirect IMF attempts to exercise power are important yet understudied. Fund views evolve through a complex and political process which can be best understood by grasping the organisational and sociological dynamics of the Fund’s internal workings and its hierarchical structure. My new book The IMF and the Politics of Austerity in the Wake of the Global Financial Crisis IMF and the Politics of Austerity in the Wake of the Global Financial Crisis(Oxford University Press, 2018) delineates how the IMF uses its knowledge bank, expertise and mandate for surveillance and coordination to act as a global arbiter of legitimate policy. It finds that which economic ideas are drawn on by the IMF, and how, to inform and underpin their economic policy analysis and recommendation has important implications for governments’ economic policy space.
Those who can make authoritative knowledge claims, such as the Fund, enjoy a privileged position within the intersubjective process of constructing economic rectitude. Indeed, the IMF has long been in the business of developing and corroborating a prescriptive discourse regarding appropriate (and more importantly inappropriate) economic policy. My research analyses how the IMF’s approach to fiscal policy has evolved since 2008, and the role played by the IMF in shaping advanced economy policy responses to the global financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis. As such it makes a novel contribution to understandings of the Fund’s role within the politics of austerity.
The book is interested in the politics of austerity, and one of its central aims is to explore the assumptive foundations underpinning economic policy positions of the Fund and others since the crash. It reveals in novel depth how the premises of Fund economic policy thinking have been revisited by key Fund figures including Managing Directors and the Chief Economist– often incorporating somewhat unconventional elements from within the Fund’s repertoire of economic thinking. There has been a notable rehabilitation of Keynesian insights, economic ideas which have long been accreted into IMF thinking and practice.
The approach taken in the book pulls back the veil on the politics of economic ideas both within the IMF and in the IMF’s interactions with major advanced economy governments. It combines in-depth content analysis of the Fund‘s vast intellectual production with searching interviews with a wide range of key Fund economists and senior management involved in the development and advocacy of Fund fiscal policy recommendations. Integrating close textual analysis with extensive interviews, it comes close to inhabiting the “lived in” space of IMF debates.
In doing so, it reveals the repertoire of IMF economic ideas, accreted into its practice over many decades, to be broader than generally appreciated. Fund economists see themselves as non-doctrinaire, pragmatic policy economists – drawing a broad array on ideas and schools of thought (from the Keynesian and New Keynesian to the decidedly anti-KeynesianReal Business Cycle’ theory arising out of New Classical Economics) according to the policy context and economic conjuncture. One striking finding is the broad range of policy ideas and positions the IMF has both advocated and reconciled to (New Consensus) mainstream economics. For this reason, understanding Fund ideational evolution as paradigm change has limited explanatory value.
The book substantially revises our understanding of the IMF’s economic policy thinking and its effects on the room to manoeuvre enjoyed by governments. The IMF is not beholden to an outmoded ideology in the Washington Consensus, nor is it simply applying a one-sized fits all Neo-Classical model to macroeconomic policy debates. Rather, the Fund is engaged in pragmatic and reflexive processes of what John Campbell callsbricolage’, its ideas evolving to retain relevance to and ‘traction’ within pressing economic policy debates.
The analysis opens the ‘black box’ of internal Fund debates and practices, and situates these within internal IMF power relations to develop a novel theory of ideational change in international organisations. This delineates institutionally mediated cognitive filters – such as the Fund’s scientific and technocratic culture and its existing body of economic policy knowledge – as a precursor to specifying mechanisms of change. It highlights how these cognitive filters shape how actors make sense of their environment and their role as pragmatic policy economists. These theoretical underpinnings of the book enable it to unearth how a reflexive Fund sees itself as increasingly ‘open-minded’ and keen to learn lessons and correct short-comings of past crisis responses. Establishing the conditions of ideational evolution through mechanisms of change helps explain how prevailing economic ideas within the IMF can and do change. It also accounts for which economic ideas prevail and why.
Another theme of the book is that economic ideas, even when espoused by technocratic and self-avowedly ‘scientific’ institutions like the IMF, are always rooted in understandings of the principles of political economy – normatively-informed views of how the economy and policy work. These relate to crucial issues such as the nature, propensities and appropriate roles of state and markets, and what economic policy can and should do. It comes down taking a position on a spectrum of views about how far the market, left to its own devices, will likely deliver the most efficient outcomes, and to what extent (and under what conditions) public power should intervene to improve the growth and economic stability.
It is, broadly speaking, the same ideological debate which pitched Keynes against neo-classical economic orthodoxy in the 1930s. This underlines the political role played by the Fund in its efforts seeking to shape economic policy conduct in selecting and foregrounding particular economic ideas and insights. As noted above, economic orthodoxies and conventional wisdoms are built upon contingent social constructions of economic assumptions.
Another contribution of the book is to provide a framework for understanding the successes and failures of IMF efforts to wield influence. Fund actors were motivated by a desire to be on the ‘right side of history’ and to counter what they saw as the mistaken premises of austerity. Had their counsel been heeded more closely, the ‘Great Recession’ may not have been so prolonged or deep. Yet the IMF was limited in its ability to gain ‘traction’ amongst policy-makers, and induce changes to policy settings of governments. This led to policy approaches, in the Fund’s view, overly focused on debt and deficit reduction to the detriment of economic stabilisation, growth, and equity.
Ben Clift is Professor of Political Economy and Deputy Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University or Warwick, UK. His wider research interests lie in comparative and international political economy, and he has published widely in leading politics and political economy journals on the IMF, French and comparative capitalisms, the politics of economic ideas, economic policy autonomy, and the British and French politics of austerity.

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Free to Choose: Hayek’s Road to Fascism

Friedrich Hayek – one of the protagonists and scholastic machinists of Neoliberalism, quite clearly positioned himself in regard to the following subject matter:

No doubt an American or English “Fascist” system would greatly differ from the Italian or German models; no doubt, if the transition were effected without violence, we might expect to get a better type of leaderAnd, if I had to live under a Fascist system, I have no doubt that I would rather live under one run by Englishmen or Americans than under one run by anyone else. Yet all this does not mean that, judged on our present standards, our Fascist system would in the end prove so very different or much less intolerable than its prototypes.” (von Hayek, Friedrich. 2001. The Road to Serfdom. Routledge. P. 139)

hayek neoliberalism fascism

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