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Classification Seminar with Marion Fourcade (UC Berkeley)


From: Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 01:10pm

To: Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 04:10pm

Marion Fourcade lecture and seminar on April 9-10, 2019.

CCA Main Seminar series on Classification with guest Marion Fourcade (UC Berkeley). Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for pre-circulated readings. Open to the public. Lunch served beforehand; reception to follow.

"A Maussian Bargain: The Give and Take of the Personal Data Economy"

The modern digital economy is built upon an implicit Faustian pact: companies provide online services for free, tempting us—like Faust—with universal knowledge at the tip of our keyboard; in return, users sign away access to traces of their lives. This peculiar kind of reciprocity, located somewhere between market and gift, does not align well with established economic forms. Relying on sociological and anthropological theory, we conceptualize it as the “Maussian bargain.” We draw on interviews with the designers and builders of these systems to explore the technical, political, economic and cultural conditions of this particular form of exchange, as well as the productive enrollment of personal data it has enabled, and on which 21st-century capitalism depends.

Marion Fourcade is a  Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 2000 and is an alumni of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. A comparative sociologist by training and taste, she has analyzed in her work national variations in neoliberal transitions, political mores, valuation cultures, and economic knowledge. Ongoing collaborative research with Kieran Healy looks at the rise, consolidation and social consequences of new classificatory regimes powered by digital data and algorithms. Other current projects include the microsociology of courtroom exchanges (with Roi Livne); stratification processes in the social sciences (with Etienne Ollion); and the politics of wine classification and taste in France and the United States (with Rebecca Elliott and Olivier Jacquet). Professor Fourcade’s work has appeared in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, Socio-Economic Review, American Behavioral Scientist, Annual Review of Sociology, Journal of Economic Perspectives and other outlets. She is a recipient of the Lewis Coser award for theoretical agenda setting, the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Book Award and the Ludwik Fleck prize for outstanding book in the area of science and technology studies (Society for the Social Studies of Science). Website:


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