Erica Coslor on Monday, May 2nd

The workshop will be taking a mid-quarter break, with no session on Monday, April 25th.

On Monday, May 2nd, we are pleased to welcome Erica Coslor, a PhD candidate in the sociology department at the University of Chicago. Erica will be presenting her paper, “Organizational and Epistemic Change: The Growth of the Art Investment Industry.” The full announcement is below. Looking forward to seeing you at the workshop!

The Social Theory & Evidence Workshop presents:

“Organizational and Epistemic Change: The Growth of the Art Investment Industry”

by Erica Coslor
PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago

Monday, May 2nd
12 – 1:10 pm
Social Sciences Research Building, Room 401

~Please arrive a few minutes early for refreshments~

Abstract:
This paper examines the legitimization of artwork as an accepted financial investment category. As opposed to the taken-for-granted category in which it exists today, this work traces the efforts of a social movement that I call a financialization project, which was essential in establishing art investment as a legitimate area of alternative investment. Despite resistance from some actors in the art market, this boundary spanning activity was pushed forward by powerful institutional entrepreneurs from both the art market and financial arenas. The financialization effort was constrained by the formal and informal institutional logics in each arena, which provided both an opportunity structure as well as constraints to the emerging market niche. Another constraint was the potential for financial failure by unsuccessful actors in this area if they were unable to sell their products. The project was supported by a growing epistemic culture around art price information and technical information around investment by cultural economists, art price service providers, and other related supports. The result has been the hybridized growth of the art investment area with a general, if  sometimes grudging, acceptance of some investors in the art market, and mutual welcoming of tools that provide art price and price trend information. This provides an interesting case to examine the constraints in social movements, with the emergence of an acceptable ‘art investment’ perspective, and necessity of an emergent epistemic knowledge community to support and legitimate the efforts of institutional entrepreneurs if boundary spanning is to be successful.

Persons with a disability who may need assistance attending the event–or for other inquiries–please contact Maria Akchurin in advance at mma@uchicago.edu.

Tianna Paschel on Monday, April 18th

The Social Theory and Evidence Workshop presents:

“Beyond Black Radicals and ‘Sellouts’: How Black Social Movements Navigate Institutionalized Politics in Colombia and Brazil”

by Tianna Paschel
Sociology PhD Candidate, University of California-Berkeley
Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago (as of July 2011)

Monday, April 18th
12 – 1:10 pm
Social Sciences Research Building, Room 401

~Please arrive a few minutes early for refreshments~

For further inquiries or if you may need assistance to attend the event, please contact Maria Akchurin at mma@uchicago.edu. See you at the workshop!

Woody Powell on Monday, April 11th

We are pleased to welcome Walter Powell, who will be joining us next Monday to give a talk titled, “Chance, Nécessité, et Naïveté: Ingredients to Create a New Organizational Form.” The workshop will take place at noon in SS 401. The full announcement is below.

The Social Theory and Evidence Workshop presents:

“Chance, Nécessité, et Naïveté: Ingredients to Create a New Organizational Form”

Walter Powell
Professor of Education and Sociology
Co-Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society Stanford University

Monday, April 11th
12 – 1:10 pm
Social Sciences Research Building, Room 401

~Please arrive a few minutes early for refreshments~

Paper abstract (co-authored with Kurt Sandholtz, Stanford University):

We examine the genesis of new organizational forms, as well as their potential to catalyze fundamental changes in the institutional milieux that gave them birth. Our setting is the commercialization of bioscience breakthroughs in the 1970s and early 1980s, which spawned a novel collection of organizational practices that coalesced into a new science-based organizational form – the dedicated biotech firm (DBF), which became the hallmark of an upstart industry. Of greater interest, however, are the reverberations of these re-purposed practices back into the conservative institutional domains from which they were borrowed: the academy, the financial community, and the R&D labs of major pharmaceutical companies. Using historical analysis of archival data, and oral histories supplemented by interviews with DBF founders, we construct the “lash up” process (Law, 1984; Latour, 1987; Molotch, 2003) that melded elements from three separate domains – academic science, commercial healthcare, and new-venture finance – into an interactively stable pattern. Our findings modify received wisdom on organizational genesis in two important ways. First, although we accept social novelty as the reassembly of pre-existing elements, we argue that it matters greatly whether such reassembly results from recombination (the rearrangement of recognizable elements within an institutional domain) or transposition (the introduction and incorporation of foreign elements from previously separate institutional domains). Second, our analysis points to an unexplored paradox in organization theory: that commercial viability and institutional influence may be inversely correlated. Among the pioneering DBFs were two distinct variants: a handful of businesses founded through recombinatory mechanisms, and a group of firms launched by “trespassers,” amphibious scientists who naively transposed academic practices and values into a commercial setting. Perhaps predictably, the former proved a more robust business model. Yet the latter – an odd, uncomfortable intermingling of science and finance – was disruptive enough to produce fresh action, with far-reaching consequences for both the academy and industry.

For further inquiries or if you may need assistance to attend the event, please contact Maria Akchurin at mma@uchicago.edu. Looking forward to seeing you at the workshop!