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Performing Economic ThoughtEnglish Drama and Mercantile Writing 1600-1642$
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Bradley Ryner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748684656

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684656.001.0001

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The Performativity Of Economic Models

The Performativity Of Economic Models

Thomas Heywood's If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, Part II and Philip Massinger's The Picture

Chapter:
(p.188) Chapter 7 The Performativity Of Economic Models
Source:
Performing Economic Thought
Author(s):

Bradley D. Ryner

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684656.003.0007

This concluding chapter asks what the ‘mercantile dramaturgy’ outlined in the book can tell us about the performativity of economic discourse itself, about the degree to which economic models actively shape the world they represent. For a twenty-first-century audience or readership, mercantile dramaturgy can be most beneficial in pointing towards a performative understanding of the reciprocal creation of ‘economics’ and ‘the economy’. The chapter argues that the mercantile dramaturgy of Thomas Heywood's If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, Part II and Philip Massinger's The Picture returns an awareness of mediation to the idealised models of mercantile treatises. Both plays engage with the problems of knowing about and intervening in events that occur at great distances via ‘the factor’, who serves as a figure of mediating agency, whose work is effaced when mercantile treatises promise an unmediated view of economic systems. These plays present economic models as the products of work which are themselves able to perform work. They show us not only that, in the phrase of Gaston Bachelard popularised by Bruno Latour, les faits sont faits (facts are manufactured), but also that facts are factors -- mediators that exert their own agency.

Keywords:   Gaston Bachelard, economic discourse, Thomas Heywood, If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, Bruno Latour, Philip Massinger, mediators, models, performativity, The Picture

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