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From detachment to appropriation: performing commodification 
Veit Braun (University Frankfurt)
Saskia Brill (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)
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Alexander Dobeson (Copenhagen Business School)
Measurement, commensuration, markets and values
Bowland North Seminar Room 10
Start time:
28 July, 2018 at
Time zone: Europe/London
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

Commodifying is more than just slapping price tags on things. It entails myriad ways of shaping, measuring, containing, releasing and reattaching objects, not to mention countless transformations of those who commodify. Understanding commodification as enriching, this panel asks how it is performed.

Long Abstract:

Commodification is more than just slapping price tags on things. All too often, it has been synonymised with the intrusion of capitalism into the paradise of values, reducing all of them to the single common denominator of money. While commodification is regarded as the degeneration of the social, commodities are denounced as watered-down emulations of "real" things, the ones that money cannot buy. But what if commodification was not about impoverishment but enrichment? What if commodities were not things emptied of old values but laden to the brim with new ones?

Commodification entails a myriad of techniques for shaping, measuring, containing, releasing and reattaching things - not to mention the countless transformations of those who do the commodifying. This panel gathers perspectives on how commodification is performed and what shape a thing will have to take to become a commodity. Contributions might address (but are not limited to) the following questions:

- How do commodities (and not just calculative minds and devices) make markets?

- What do the calculability and materiality of commodities look like?

- What is done to commodities to make things and people (or things and things) meet?

- How do ongoing commodification and decommodification go hand in hand?

- What kind of subjects are produced by commodified objects - and vice versa?

- What are the others of commodities - assets, necessities, luxuries, services, gifts, to name just a few - and what do they teach us about commodification?

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Accepted papers:

Session 1