Please join us for our next CSES Lecture Series on March 27th, 2014 at Cornell University from 4:30 to 6PM in the A.D. White House, Guerlac Room. Marion Fourcade will present her research “Classification Situations: Life-Chances in the Neoliberal Era.”
This article examines the stratifying effects of economic classifications. We argue that in the neoliberal era market institutions increasingly use actuarial techniques to split and sort individuals into classification situations that shape life-chances. While this is a general and increasingly pervasive process, our main empirical illustration comes from the transformation of the credit market in the United States. This market works as both as a leveling force and as a condenser of new forms of social difference. The U.S. banking and credit system has greatly broadened its scope over the past twenty years to incorporate previously excluded groups. We observe this leveling tendency in the expansion of credit amongst lower-income households, the systematization of overdraft protections, and the unexpected and rapid growth of the fringe banking sector. But while access to credit has democratized, it has also differentiated. Scoring technologies classify and price people according to credit risk. This has allowed multiple new distinctions to be made amongst the creditworthy, as scores get attached to different interest rates and loan structures. Scores have also expanded into markets beyond consumer credit, such as insurance, real estate, employment, and elsewhere. The result is a cumulative pattern of advantage and disadvantage with both objectively measured and subjectively experienced aspects. We argue these private classificatory tools are increasingly central to the generation of “market-situations”, and thus an important and overlooked force that structures individual life-chances. In short, classification situations may have become the engine of modern class situations.
About the Speaker
Marion Fourcade received her PhD from Harvard University (2000) and taught at New York University and Princeton University before joining the Berkeley sociology department in 2003. A comparative sociologist by training and taste, she is interested in variations in economic and political knowledge and practice across nations. Her first book, Economists and Societies (Princeton University Press 2009), explored the distinctive character of the discipline and profession of economics in three countries. She is now working on a second book, tentatively called Measure for Measure: Social Ontologies of Classification, which examines the cultural and institutional logic of what we may call “national classificatory styles” across a range of empirical domains. Current studies for this book include environmental valuation, the digitization of books and the classification of wines in France and the United States. Other ongoing research focuses on the role of the credit market in social stratification (with Kieran Healy); the comparative study of political organization (with Evan Schofer and Brian Lande); the microsociology of courtroom exchanges (with Roi Livne); and the role of business schools in the neoliberal turn (with Rakesh Khurana).
Please join us for our next CSES Lecture Series on February 6th, 2014 at Cornell University from 4:30 to 6PM in the A.D. White House, Guerlac Room. Gerald (Jerry) Davis will present his research “The Coming Collapse of the American Corporation (and What Comes Next)?”
Shareholder-owned corporations were the central pillars of the US economy in the twentieth century. Due to the success of the shareholder value movement and the widespread “Nikefication” of production, however, public corporations have become less concentrated, less integrated, less interconnected at the top, shorter-lived, and less prevalent since the turn of the twenty-first century, and there is reason to expect that their significance will continue to dwindle. We are left with both pathologies (heightened inequality, lower mobility, and a fragmented social safety net) and new technologies suitable for being repurposed in more democratic forms. Local solutions for producing, distributing, and sharing can provide functional alternatives to corporations for both production and employment; what is needed is the social organization to match the tools that we already have, or will have shortly. The time for democratic local economic forms prophesied by generations of activists may finally be at hand.
About the Speaker
Jerry Davis is the Wilbur K. Pierpont Collegiate Professor of Management at the Ross School of Business and Professor of Sociology, The University of Michigan. Davis received his PhD from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Recent books include Social Movements and Organization Theory (with Doug McAdam, W. Richard Scott, and Mayer N. Zald; Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open System Perspectives (with W. Richard Scott; Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007). Davis has published widely in management, sociology, and finance. He is currently Editor of Administrative Science Quarterly and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Committee on Organization Studies (ICOS) at Michigan. Davis’ research is broadly concerned with corporate governance and the effects of finance on society. Recent writings examine how ideas about corporate social responsibility have evolved to meet changes in the structures and geographic footprint of multinational corporations; whether “shareholder capitalism” is still a viable model for economic development; how income inequality in an economy is related to corporate size and structure; why theories about organizations do (or do not) progress; how architecture shapes social networks and innovation in organizations; why stock markets spread to some countries and not others; and whether there exist viable organizational alternatives to shareholder-owned corporations in the United States. His latest book Managed By the Markets: How Finance Reshaped America (Oxford University Press, 2009) examines how finance replaced manufacturing at the center of the American economy, and what the consequences have been for corporations, banking, states, and households in the 21st century. In 2010 it was awarded the Academy of Management’s George R. Terry Book Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Management Knowledge.
Please join us for our next CSES Lecture Series on October 31st, 2013 at Cornell University from 4:30 to 6PM in the Physical Sciences Building 401. Howard Aldrich will present his research “Everyone an Entrepreneur? Recognizing the Gap between the Veneration of Entrepreneurship and the Reality of Its Costs.”
Entrepreneurship enjoys widespread appeal in nearly all capitalist nations, but start-up success has proved elusive for most entrepreneurs. In a paper published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal in 2012, Tiantian Yang and I explained the low likelihood of entrepreneurial success by focusing on the contrast between organizational forms in terms of cultural codes that tap into widely held perceptions versus organizational forms in terms of blueprints that sustain effective guidance for organizational activities. In our Journal of Business Venturing article on estimating the liability of newness, also published in 2012, Yang and I argued that most studies of nascent entrepreneurs actually understate the magnitude of the problem facing newly organized ventures. The dilemma facing nascent entrepreneurs during their life course is the incomplete and fragmentary nature of these opportunities for learning about start-up practices. I conclude by offering suggestions, based on paper published in the Journal of Evolutionary Economics this year, for further research to discover what entrepreneurs actually do during the start-up.
Howard Aldrich is Professor & Department Chair, Sociology, and Adjunct Professor of Management in the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Aldrich research focuses on entrepreneurship, the origins of new organizational populations, gender differences in business management and organizational evolution. Among his research projects is a study of the process by which entrepreneurial teams are founded, and it focuses on similarity and differences between team members. He also is examining the contributions made by voluntary association membership to entrepreneurial success, as well as how to design courses and classroom activities to promote active learning. Dr. Aldrich won the Carlyle Sitterson Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2002. In 2000, the Swedish Foundation of Small Business Research named him the Entrepreneurship Researcher of the Year and the Organization and Management Division of the Academy of Management presented him with a Distinguished Career of Scholarly Achievement award. His book, “Organizations Evolving”, won the Academy of Management George Terry Award as the best management book published in 1998-99, and was co-winner of the Max Weber Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Organizations, Occupations and Work.
Please join us for our next CSES Lecture Series on September 26th, 2013 at Cornell University from 4:30 to 6PM in Goldwin Smith Hall G76. Martin Ruef will present his research “Between Slavery and Capitalism: The Legacy of Emancipation in the American South.”
In the U.S. South, a free labor market rapidly—although, in some cases, only nominally— replaced the plantation system of slave labor in the years following the American Civil War. Drawing on data comprising 75,099 transactions in the antebellum period, as well as 1,378 labor contracts in the postbellum era, I examine how the valuation of black labor was transformed between the 1830s and the years of emancipation. I trace the process of valuation through four markets for labor, moving from slave purchases and appraisals within the plantation economy, to the antebellum system of hiring out, to wage-setting for black labor under the auspices of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Comparative analysis of labor pricing across these markets reveals systematic differences: slave markets placed price premiums on children and young women, and occupational skills emerged as the most salient influence in the pricing of wage labor. I conclude by theorizing how transvaluation of labor occurs when markets for unfree and free workers are governed by distinct institutional conditions.
Martin Ruef’s research considers the social context of entrepreneurship from both a contemporary and historical perspective. He draws on large-scale surveys of entrepreneurs in the United States to explore processes of team formation, innovation, exchange, and boundary maintenance in nascent business startups. Ruef’s historical analyses address entrepreneurial activity and constraint during periods of profound institutional change. This work has considered a diverse range of sectors, including the organizational transformation of Southern agriculture and industry after the Civil War, the transition of the U.S. healthcare system from professional monopoly to managed care, and the character of entrepreneurship during the Industrial Revolution.
Please join us for the final lecture in the 2012-2013 CSES Lecture Series where Paul Ingram will present his research on “The Gentlemen Slave.”
We consider the influences on entering into ‘dirty business’ by which we mean economic activity that violates cultural values. We consider individual disposition to violate norms as a function of status, social contagion in a network, where status determines influence, and the role of a social movement to ignite attention to the norms and their violation. We analyze who entered the Liverpool slave trade. We find that high status Gentlemen were more likely to do so, and that they were highly influential on the behavior of their network partners. The abolition movement affected an increase in the magnitude of social influence, and shifted the balance of influence in favor of non-slavers.
Paul Ingram is the Kravis Professor of Business at the Columbia Business School, and Faculty Director of the Columbia Senior Executive Program. His PhD is from Cornell University, and he was on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University before coming to Columbia. He has held visiting professorships at Tel Aviv University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Toronto. The courses he teaches on management and strategy benefit from his research on organizations in the United States, Canada, Israel, Scotland, China and Australia. His research has been published in more than forty articles, book chapters and books. Ingram’s current research projects examine the influence of intergovernmental organizations on foreign direct investment and democratization; the structure and efficacy of managers’ professional networks in China and the United States; and the effects of networks and institutions on the evolution of the Glasgow shipbuilding industry. He has served as a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology, a senior editor for Organization Science, an Associate Editor for Management Science and on the editorial boards of Administrative Science Quarterly and Strategic Organization.
Cultural and Technical Innovation: The Twin Foundations of Economic Growth
Malott Hall 251
Please join us for our next CSES Lecture Series on February 28th, 2013 at Cornell University from 4:30 to 6PM in Malott Hall 251. Jack Goldstone will present his research on “Cultural and Technical Innovation: The Twin Foundations of Economic Growth.”
Modern economic growth rests on innovation; that is widely accepted. But innovation is usually seen as proportional to effort, investment, and levels of accumulated knowledge technological prowess. These are positive forces; but innovation also requires overcoming the negative forces of established authority, intellectual ‘sunk costs,’ and the vested interests who benefit from maintaining status quo beliefs. Only Western civilization was successful in overcoming these negative forces. This was not due to any exceptional flexibility or vibrancy in Western culture. Quite the reverse, it was due to the exceptional rigidity and closure of Western intellectual culture prior to 1500, and the impact of discoveries on that rigid system which broke it open and led to new world views.
Professor Jack A. Goldstone is the Virginia E. and John T. Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Previously, Dr. Goldstone was on the faculty of Northwestern University and the University of California, and has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University and the California Institute of Technology. He is the author of Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World, awarded the 1993 Distinguished Scholarly Research Award of the American Sociological Association; Why Europe? The Rise of the West in World History; and nine other books as well as over one hundred research articles on topics in politics, social movements, democratization, and long-term social change. He has appeared on NPR, CNN, Al-Jazeera, Fox News, and written for Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Al-Hayat and the International Herald Tribune. His latest book is Political Demography: How Population Changes are Reshaping International Security and National Politics (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Please join us for our next CSES Lecture Series with guest lecturer Siegwart Lindenberg. Lindenberg (PhD Harvard 1971) is professor of Cognitive Sociology at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He is one of the founders of the Inter-University Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS) and member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
His main interests lie in the areas of microfoundations for theories on collective phenomena, especially theory of model building, theory of social rationality, goal-framing theory, theory of human goals and wellbeing (SPF theory), and theory of norms; self-regulation and pro- and antisocial behavior; and groups and relationships (including various forms of solidarity and contracting), especially theory of interdependencies (functional, cognitive, and structural) and theory of sharing and joint production and theory of solidarity.
Please join us for the 2012-2013 CSES Lecture Series. Our Lecture Series brings to the Cornell campus leading scholars in the social sciences. Recent visitors include James Baron, Robert Barro, Mary Brinton, Paul DiMaggio, Frank Dobbin, Ronald Dore, Peter Evans, Neil Fligstein, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Gibbons, Mark Granovetter, Avner Greif, Gary Hamilton, Russell Hardin, Justin Yifu Lin, Barnaby Marsh, John Meyer, Douglass North, Michael Novak, Charles Sabel, AnnaLee Saxenian, Neil Smelser, Duncan Watts and Harrison White. The Center’s breadth of activities contributes greatly to the rich array of opportunities — both intellectual and personal — in economic sociology at Cornell.