Conference February 13, 2014: “Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics”

“Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics »

February 13, 2014,

Room 641, 6th Floor,

190 avenue de France, Paris

Prof. Jens Beckert, Max Planck Institut, Cologne

This Conference is taking place in the seminar « Représentations Sociales Hégémoniques: démocratie, économie, religion », organised by Thalia Magioglou and Lionel Obadia.

Abstract:

In my talk I start from  the assumption that under conditions of uncertainty the decisions of intentionally rational actors are anchored in fictions. “Fictionality” in economic action is the inhabitation in the mind of an imagined future state of the world and the beliefs in causal mechanisms leading to this future state. Actors are motivated in their actions by the imagined future and organize their activities based on these mental representations. Since these representations are not confined to empirical reality, fictional expectations are also a source of creativity in the economy. In the talk I develop the notion of fictional expectations and relate it especially to the operation of money and financial markets and innovation processes.

Biographical information

Jens Beckert is professor of sociology and director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. He studied sociology and business administration at the Freie Universität Berlin and the New School for Social Research in New York. He received his Ph.D. and his habilitation in sociology from the Freie Universität. Beckert was a visiting fellow at the sociology department of Princeton University in 1994/95 and at the Center for European Studies of Harvard University in 2001/02. In 2007/08 he was a Fernand Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. In 2012/13 he was a resident at the Institut d’études avancées in Paris.

His research focuses on the fields of economic sociology, sociology of inheritance, organization theory and social theory. Recent publications:  Capitalism as a System of Expectations: Toward a Sociological Microfoundation of Political Economy. In: Politics & Society 41 (3), 2013, 323-350. Imagined Futures. Fictional Expectations in the Economy. In: Theory and Society 42, 2013, 219-240. Constructing Quality. The Classification of Goods in Markets. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013 (ed. together with Christine Musselin).


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