Overflows and undertows – Callon, James and so on.

Bimbling around looking for work on how economic modelling is used to ‘construct’ reality/possibility, I stumbled on “An essay on framing and overflowing: economic externalities revisited by sociology” by M Callon, 1998.  This (among other bits) struck me –

The second attitude, typical of constructivist sociology in particular, takes the view that overflowing is the rule; that framing—when present at all—is a rare and expensive outcome; in short, is very costly to set up. Without the theatre building and its physical devices; without years of training and hours of rehearsal put in by the actors; without the habitual mindset of the audience and carefully written dramas which deliberately limit the range of preprogrammed interactions, the framing of a stage performance would be quite simply inconceivable. This viewpoint is thus the exact opposite of the preceding one: instead of regarding framing as something that happens of itself, and overflows as a kind of accident which must be put right, overflows are the rule and framing is a fragile, artificial result based upon substantial investments.7 Constructivist sociology does not deny that it is possible to achieve such clarity or put such frameworks in place, nor that such an objective is worth pursuing (see below for a more detailed discussion of this point). But it is primarily interested in showing that such a framing process, in addition to requiring expensive physical and symbolic devices, is always incomplete and that without this incompleteness would in fact be wholly ineffectual.

This fall apart, things spill over, the worms kick over the can from the inside, and prise open the lid.  It’s messy.  Smudges and kludges (my latest saying, taking over from “what a species”).

And somehow, because my synapses do this a lot, I got an echo. If there are overflows, there are undertows….

Drawn by the undertow
My life is out of control
I believe this wave will bear my weight
So let it flow

From here, of course.

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