Joint Seminar on Forms of Economization in a Global Market and The Metrology of CO2 Emissions

26th Oct 2009

14:30 - 17:00

Seminar room 1.06, Old Surgeons' Hall, High School Yards


Prof Koray Caliskan - "Forms of Economization in a Global Market"

Abstract: This paper maps the forms of economization invented, deployed and resisted among market participants in global cotton trade. It has two objectives. First, it describes the new social scientific approaches in studying economic phenomena as processes of economization by drawing on the empirical example of a global agricultural market. Second, it analyses the global cotton market in four spheres of interaction- pricing, performativity, market maintenance and politics of economization. It argues that markets should be seen as processes of economization that bring together a multiplicity of actors such as farmers, economists, traders and various non-human agents. These actors invent and develop various prostheses such as market prices, reports, maintenance tools that are deployed as media of relating to, shaping and reforming relations of economization. These actors and their prostheses compete against and cooperate with each other to shape possible fields of actions of market agents. In conclusion the paper argues that markets can only be understood if social scientists have their own prostheses right to depict the economic geography that they simultaneously map and contribute to its making. The paper ends with speculating on the political and social scientific consequences of seeing markets as processes of economization.

Martin Rosenstrom - "Taking measures to measure: On the metrology of CO2 emissions"

Abstract: What happens in the closed rooms where measures are taken to measure emission? If we are to understand how the European emission market for emission allowance can function as an instrumental for control we ought to address this question. Without measuring performing the market there would no market. Socio-technical processes of measuring play a vital part in creating the commodity and thus the supply, demand and the trading. But this also means that the numbers produced of measuring has to be trusted as accurate. The numbers of measuring has to be black boxed as accurate when they are reported by measuring practitioners in the centre for calculation. This should not be possible as it means creating certain figures out of uncertain practices, but as a matter of fact it is attained. Measuring experts are somehow configured to black box socio-technical methods as producers of certain numbers despite abundant sources of uncertainty and error in method and in the properties of the measuring instruments. How this is possible is what we try to find out by stepping into the inner rooms of measuring where uncertainty is tackled but also created and recreated by the very same processes that is meant to produce trust, a thought in line with MacKenzie's notion of the certainty trough and some other theories within STS that will be dealt with in our paper.

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