Enacting Dismal Science

Part of the series Perspectives from Social Economics pp 109-129


The Problem with Economics: Naturalism, Critique and Performativity

  • Fabian MuniesaAffiliated withCentre de Sociologie de l’Innovation (CSI), Mines ParisTech (École des Mines de Paris)


How natural is economic nature and how provocative is it to claim that this nature is a provoke done? The purpose of this contribution is to expose the problem of the naturalness of economic things. Naturalism in modern economic reason is examined through a series of ‘breaching thought experiments’: intellectual setups in which economics, economic critique and the critique of economics are confronted to annoying situations or uncomfortable paradoxes. The very idea of the performativity of economics and the critical reactions it prompts are analysed in these terms: that is, as an anthropological test on the quandaries of economic naturalism.