The Provoked Economy is controlled, implicitly and explicitly (as its author Fabian Muniesa is), by the debt owed to Javier Izquierdo (also known as A. Javier Izquierdo Martín in plain national Castilian, or as J. Izquierdo Antonio, an absurd nom de plume he claimed was his official credit card name). His old personal website is still on-line at the UNED (the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, in Madrid), with tons of papers on statistical reflexivity, financial forgery, metaphysical pranks, space tourism, cargo cult, football pragmatics and video theology. Here is a clarification from “Javier Izquierdo and the Methodology of Reality”, a short piece in which the humble disciple remembers the teachings of the master, after is death in 2010:
“In 1995, Javier Izquierdo (Colmenar Viejo, 12 June 1970 – Colmenar Viejo, 2 July 2010), then a doctoral student in sociology, initiated a liberal seminar for undergraduate students at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid […]. One of the seminar’s purposes was to have people with whom to discuss the readings he was gathering for his own research. The seminar was titled ‘La gramática de los precios’ (‘The Grammar of Prices’) and consisted of an illuminating exploration of scholarly work that was not, at that time, part of the canons of sociological education. […] The thread running through the seminar concerned the potential foundations for a moral sociology of pricing and forecasting that would take into account the technicality, artificiality and reflexivity of social reality. As the social-scientific observation of social reality in part constitutes what social reality is, so methods of measurement, valuation and accounting were to be treated as the very stuff the sociologist ought to scrutinize.” (p. 109)
It’s impressive how many references used in The Provoked Economy actually come from that foundational seminar. As it all was there already! Without surprise, it must be said, the most prominent topics that gave shape to the promising field of the “social studies of finance” in the early 2000s were already prefigured in the doctoral work that Javier Izquierdo concluded in 1999: the moral ambiguity of financial devices, the dangers of technocratic escalation, the meanders of techno-scientific reflexivity, the pragmatics of financial forgery, the politics of government through money, including the premonition of financial catastrophe. Delitos, faltas y premios Nóbel: ingeniería financiera y el sentido común de la justicia en las sociedades tecnológicas avanzadas (Crimes, Misdemeanours and Nobel Prizes: Financial Engineering and the Common Sense of Justice in Advanced Industrial Societies) is the title of the book manuscript (sadly unpublished) that came out of that work. His lucid obsession with hidden camera pranks (see here and here) translated in a most unusual argument on Las Meninas (literally considered as the “making of” documentary of a hidden camera prank). More obscure is his last manuscript, published posthumously as Marcianos, melanesios, millonarios, mochileros y murcianos: De la perdición económica o el turista espacial (Martians, Melanesians, Millionaires, Backpackers and Guys from Murcia: From Economic Perdition to Spatial Tourism, see also this):
“The book is a unique attempt at developing the potentials of a surrealist viewpoint in sociological work. It tackles the topic of Spain, especially the expression and self-observation of ‘Spanishness’ throughout the so-called Spanish touristic miracle of the 1960s onwards. The persona of the foreign tourist is presented as the candid victim of an anthropological prank (the production and display of the cultural singularity of Spain), but also as the vehicle of a very peculiar economic cargo cult (Spain’s access to economic modernity through the reception of the proverbial foreign tourist).” (p. 111)
Interested in the genealogy of The Provoked Economy? Well, it starts here.