Hay que apoyar a Podemos

Los argumentos y discusiones entorno a Podemos de cara a las elecciones generales del próximo 20 de diciembre giran en gran medida en torno a cuestiones propias al momento particular que vive España hoy: moralidad en la vida pública, desigualdad social, marco institucional del Estado, política económica. Pero la oportunidad que representa Podemos, la fuerza política que se formó a principios del año pasado a raíz del Movimiento 15-M, debe entenderse y defenderse también desde un punto de vista global y en cierto sentido más grave: el del papel singular y excepcional que puede jugar Podemos frente a la evolución catastrófica que vive hoy el tejido político de Europa, y su reverberación a nivel internacional.

Europa se convierte en un lugar políticamente irrespirable. El repliegue entorno a ideales de identidad nacional se entremezcla con el desmantelamiento de las políticas de bienestar, abriendo la vía a un fortalecimiento abiertamente belicista de la noción de frontera y a la justificación de estados más o menos permanentes de competición, segregación y excepción. La marea de inhumanidad que se vislumbra en el Mediterráneo no deja de ser, al menos en parte, una consecuencia de este síndrome europeo. Tras el fracaso de la alternativa que representó Syriza hasta hace escasos meses, Europa y el mundo que la rodea necesita un movimiento político que pueda servir de vehículo masivo y eficaz a un ideal de democracia abierta e internacional. Podemos es claramente la única vía disponible ahora.

Existen, claro está, otras opciones  inmediatamente disponibles, que la actualidad política en Francia ilustran perfectamente. Tras la catástrofe ideología orquestada por el gobierno anterior encabezado por Nicolas Sarkozy y por el actual presidido por François Hollande (referencia constante a unos “valores republicanos” de contenido fantasmagórico, esencialmente “franceses”, que exigen, para cobrar sentido, la figura cada vez más presente de un “enemigo del interior”), una franja muy importante del electorado ha optado, naturalmente, por lo que Marine Le Pen a justamente llamado la “versión original” : el Frente Nacional que lidera es efectivamente, tras las elecciones regionales francesas de este mes de diciembre, el primer partido político de la República Francesa. Ninguna de las otras principales fuerzas políticas parece capaz de explicar clara y serenamente porqué no hay que votar Frente Nacional, prefiriendo simplemente impedir que la gente lo pueda hacer. Esto es lo que hay, y esto es lo que se puede esperar para toda Europa con las consecuencias que conllevará.

Esto es lo que hay, claro está, si no se ocupa con otro mensaje el espacio político que la gente, con razón, ve vacío entre las dos más temibles alucinaciones políticas preferidas de Europa: la tecnocracia y la nación. Con Podemos, España puede constituir ese espacio: no solamente a través del peso estratégico que este país tiene a la hora de definir en qué puede consistir Europa y el Mediterráneo, pero también mediante una transformación de las instituciones democráticas internacionales, empezando por el Parlamento Europeo. Es posible ocupar ese espacio desde Podemos para transformarlo. Apoyar a Podemos es preparar una Europa respirable.

Por esta razón, el 20 de diciembre votaré a Podemos.

— Fabián Muniesa

Fabián Muniesa, sociólogo, vive y trabaja en París, Francia. Esta nota de opinión se publicó inicialmente en castellano el 14 de diciembre de 2015 en provokedeconomy.net, blog dedicado a la publicidad de su libro The Provoked Economy (Routledge, 2014).

Capitalizing on Madrid

Readers attentive to the twitter account of The Provoked Economy know already that the author has been active on the customer service front these past months. Special mention to two events next week in Madrid, to be handled in (rusty) Spanish. It’s Wednesday, 29 April 2015. At 12.00am, a conference on “Capitalizar, capitalizar, capitalizar: por una antropología de las finanzas” (“Capitalizing, capitalizing, capitalizing: for an anthropology of finance”) at the Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Then at 7.00pm, a chat at Medialab-Prado on “La economía provocada” (yes, that would be “The Provoked Economy”).

The Word of Critique

Another slip of the pen! This paragraph from The Provoked Economy is explicitly about the grammar of critique:

“If being critical means saying that things are bad (which is one way critique is predominantly understood in the social sciences today), then it looks like there is plenty of choice in our dubious economic world (depending of course on the ‘we’ who talks). If it means considering truth from all possible angles (in the often forgotten philosophical sense of the world), it is also clear that there is still a plethora of things to be studied about the connections and contradictions that govern our thought (also with a caveat on ‘our’). If it means setting κρίσις (krísis) in motion (instituting a distinction, drawing a separation or, more prosaically, just changing things), then we surely need to acknowledge the countless interventions that purposefully aim at marking our economic reality (and our political deictics too).” (p. 130)

Why then taking the “word” for the “world”?

Foregrounding References: Another One

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.

 

Felicitous Review

Another beautiful review of The Provoked Economy! This time proposed by Hervé Dumez and available from Le Libellio. It’s here, pages 61 to 66 (in French). It contains a most careful reading, and a number of most relevant challenges. From the conclusion:

“In the first page of Fabian Muniesa’s book, we can read the word “felicitous”. The word comes back a few times. But the book does not seem to consider the problem of performative failure. Curiously enough, the image of the bridge is offered: “For reality is indeed constructed, but it is so as the bridge stands firmly over the water, that is, insofar as it undergoes a laborious process of material assemblage” (p. 11). But, precisely: bridges fall down from time to time, even in the context of modern technology” (p. 65)

Point well taken! Thanks, Hervé.

Elementary Review

Barbara Czarniawska, the Arthur Conan Doyle of organizational science, authored a review of The Provoked Economy that is better than the book. A quick excerpt:

“The title of the second part is ‘Elementary case studies’, but they are about as elementary as Sherlock Holmes’ cases. Indeed, Muniesa is Sherlock, and the readers are Watsons, but the explanations are engaging and convincing.”

The review is available from the Scandinavian Journal of Management. Thank you Barbara!