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Seeing Like a Market

  • IRLE CONFERENCE ROOM 2521 Channing Way Berkeley, CA, 94704 United States (map)

Marion Fourcade, Sociology, UC Berkeley

What do markets see when they look at people? Information dragnets increasingly yield huge quantities of individual-level data, which is analyzed to sort and slot people into categories of taste, riskiness, or worth. Developed to better understand and improve customer experience, these tools also define new strategies of profit making. In this mainly theoretical talk, I will discuss how the facticity of these scoring methods makes them organizational devices with powerful classifying effects, structuring product and price offerings on various markets and patterning life-chances for individuals. I will also suggest that these processes generate a new economy of moral judgment, where rankings outcomes produced through behavioral tracking are increasingly experienced as morally deserved positions.

R.S.V.P. Margaret Olney, margaret_olney@berkeley.edu