Michel Callon, Michel Foucault and the « dispositif »: When economics fails to be performative: A case study

Abstract : I n recent years, many important studies have focused on performativity or performation of economics (among others, see Callon, Milo & Muniesa, 2007; MacKenzie, Muniesa & Siu, 2007). Together with authors such as Yuval Millo, Fabian Muniesa, Donald MacKenzie, or Lucia Siu, Michel Callon has played an important role in this field. Most of these scholars have highlighted the way in which economics performs real world. We will, in contrast, focus on the opposite. Drawing on the case of air traffic management (ATM) in Europe, a case we have been working on for about ten years, we will attempt to show how economics failed to perform this industry. Our purpose is not to offer a kind of refutation or falsification of the performativity theory from a Popperian stance. Obviously, this theory acknowledges the fact that economics does not always perform the economy. Rather our aim is to refine the theory, to pinpoint some paradoxes related to performativity or performation, and to bring forward thinkable promising research perspectives. We shall begin by examining what, in Michel Callon‟s perspective, constitutes and does not constitute the performativity of economics. Then, we will have a look at Michel Foucault‟s notion of « dispositif » (apparatus or device), to explore how Callon relies on Foucault, but also how Foucault can still be useful when approaching the notion of device. After that, we will present the selected case, air traffic management (ATM) in Europe. Finally, we will discuss this case in connection with the theoretical framework.
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Hervé Dumez, Alain Jeunemaitre. Michel Callon, Michel Foucault and the « dispositif »: When economics fails to be performative: A case study. Le Libellio d'AEGIS, Libellio d'AEGIS, 2010, 6 (4), pp.27-37. ⟨hal-00546736⟩

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