650 Works

W.G. Grace: Sporting Superstar, Cultural Celebrity, and Hero (to Oscar Wilde’s Villain) of the Great Public Drama of 1895

Neil Washbourne
This article explores the sporting superstardom and cultural celebrity of the Victorian English cricketer Dr. W.G. Grace, who played first-class cricket from 1865-1908. The great attention capital and significant masculine social status associated with his fame were deployed by him and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to side line the then dominant professional cricket teams and ensure that the aristocratic amateur-led MCC controlled the game from the early 1870s. It focuses on the social and...

Heroes in the Age of Celebrity: Lafayette, Kossuth, and John Bright in 19th-Century America

Simon Morgan
This article explores the relationship between the ‘hero’ and the celebrity culture of the 19th-century United States. Even by the 1820s, the activities of print media and entrepreneurial manufacturers meant that individuals widely recognised and worshipped as ‘heroes’ almost inevitably became part of the nascent celebrity culture of the age, while some actively courted this connection to pursue their own political or financial agendas. However, using the receptions of three foreign heroes, the Marquis de...

Bettymania and the Death of Celebrity Culture

Jeffrey Kahan
In this article, I want to revisit the topic, not because Bettymania matches our present reality but, rather, to measure our present paradigm against its originator. Whatever new era we now occupy, it can no longer be accurately dubbed “celebrity-driven.” Given that our airwaves are saturated with reality TV and YouTube navel gazing, that Facebook has now turned everyone into an expert on personal branding and self-promotion, and that, in America, we have a celebrity...

Edmund Kean’s Celebrity: Assemblage Theory and the Unintended Consequences of Audience Density

David Worrall
This essay will examine theatrical celebrity in early 19th-century England with particular reference to the actor Edmund Kean (1787-1833) and his first season at Drury Lane, 1813-14. His ground-breaking interpretation of Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice brought him overnight success. Using Manuel DeLanda’s assemblage theory as its main predictive model, the essay argues that celebrity is a category conferred by audience density. Archival records of Drury Lane’s financial receipts, pay rates for actors...

Casanova: A Case Study of Celebrity in 18th Century Europe

Nicola Vinovrški
Historical studies of celebrity, or particular instances of it, focus on figures who had fame which could be tied to a particular achievement or ascribed status; for example, writers, politicians, actors, artists, composers, musicians, and monarchs. These studies suggest that there were certain shifts which occurred during the 18th century which allowed celebrity to develop, that there were many theatrical and literary celebrities during this period and that the phenomenon really gained traction in the...

Histories of Celebrity in Post-Revolutionary England

Brian Cowan
The history of celebrity has been revised in recent years. Particular claims have been made for the invention of a recognizably modern form of celebrity at various points in the ‘long 18th century.’ This putative rise of modern celebrity has been linked with the rise of a modern public sphere and in many ways is understood as an offshoot of it. Furthermore, modern celebrity is often presented as a commercial enterprise and perhaps another aspect...

"The wonder of his time": Richard Tarlton and the Dynamics of Early Modern Theatrical Celebrity

Jennifer Holl
Taking the early stage clown Richard Tarlton as a case study, this article offers a historical inquiry into the dynamics of theatrical celebrity in early modern London. Specifically, this article argues that in early modern England, the multivalent term wonder encapsulated the modern concept of celebrity and that Tarlton's assignation as "the wonder of his time" spoke not only to his own remarkable celebrity, but to a robust culture of celebrity emanating from the era's...

The Two Bodies of Achieved Celebrity

Chris Rojek
From Medieval to Tudor times, the doctrine of the King’s Two Bodies was fundamental in government and the reproduction of social order. The doctrine held that the body of the monarch is simultaneously mortal and immortal. In terms of the hegemony of the power regime, this was given by God. It has long been assumed that the rise of Liberal Plebiscitary Parliamentary Democracy put an end to Royal absolutism. This paper uses the political thought...

On Figures Publiques: L’Invention de la Célébrité (1750-1850): Mechanisms of Celebrity and Social Esteem

Antoine Lilti & Alice Le Goff
In this interview, conducted in April 2016 by Alice Le Goff, Antoine Lilti presents his work on the “invention of celebrity” and discusses its contribution to the study of the logic of social esteem. Le Goff begins by outlining the core themes of his earlier work on salons as well as his latest book on celebrity, Figures Publiques, and in the interview poses a number of important questions going to the heart of Lilti’s important...

New Directions in the History of Celebrity: Case Studies and Critical Perspectives

Nicola Vinovrški & Robert Van Krieken
This paper provides an introduction and overview for this special issue’s collection of important new work in the history of celebrity. It sets the scene by explaining the main difficulties that have beset the development of a historiography of the very contemporaneous phenomenon of celebrity. A key issue is how one understands the historical emergence of the “public sphere,” and how confident one should be that the historical narrative concerning the public sphere and celebrity...

Expectation Formation, Financial Frictions, and Forecasting Performance of Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models

Oliver Holtemöller & Christoph Schult
In this paper, we document the forecasting performance of estimated basic dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models and compare this to extended versions which consider alternative expectation formation assumptions and financial frictions. We also show how standard model features, such as price and wage rigidities, contribute to forecasting performance. It turns out that neither alternative expectation formation behaviour nor financial frictions can systematically increase the forecasting performance of basic DSGE models. Financial frictions improve forecasts...

Transforming by Metrics that Matter – Progress, Participation, and the National Initiatives of Fixing Well-Being Indicators

Philipp Lepenies
The goal of governments is to enhance the well-being of their citizens. In the aftermath of World War II, national product (be it gross national or gross domestic) and its rate of growth were seen as a proxy indicator to measure well-being – making economic growth doubtless the most powerful political indicator in history. Yet, in light of the negative effects of growth such as climate change and due to methodological progress in measuring well-being...

Struggle for Acceptance – Maintaining External School Evaluation as an Institution in Germany

Anne Piezunka
In the educational field, evaluations based on standardised indicators play a major role in the determination of evidence-based regulations. To have an effect within a policy field, evaluations based on standardised indicators have to become institutionalised. Nevertheless, very little is known about the strategies that actors apply to institutionalise their procedure and whether these strategies are successful. This paper explores the strategies that German school inspectorates use to maintain external evaluations based on standardised indicators...

“Pay for Promise” in Higher Education: The Influence of NPM on Resource Allocation in German Universities

Michael Huber & Maarten Hillebrandt
Quantification as a way to govern by numbers has colonised all sectors of modern societies. In the German higher education sector, a Performance-Based Resource Allocation scheme (commonly referred to as Leistungsorientierte Mittelverteilung – LOM for short) has steadily been developed since the 1990s. In an organisational context characterised by increasing international competition and internal differentiation, universities and their regulators have embraced the notion of smart resource allocation through performance indicators. At the same time, the...

A Matter of Definitions: The Profiling of People in Italian Active Labour Market Policies

Carlotta Mozzana
The article explores the implications for public welfare policy of the current reliance on quantification tools to assess both people and programs. In this context, profiling has recently acquired a key role in active labour market policies, because it allows policy administrators to distinguish among different levels of risk in individuals approaching the labour market. After discussing the issue of the deployment of numbers in policies, I present and contextualize a recent case study: a...

Metrics in Global Health: Situated Differences in the Valuation of Human Life

Oscar Javier Maldonado & Tiago Moreira
This paper explores the role of knowledge, standards, and metrics in global health. Our point of departure is the observation that the emergence of ‘global health’ as a domain of research, policy, and practice in the last three decades or so has coincided with an increased interest in the validation and use of measures of health, such as the Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY), in monitoring and assessing health equity across territories and populations. This...

Failed Indicatorisation: Defining, Comparing and Quantifying Social Policy in the ILO’s International Survey of Social Services of the Interwar Period

John Berten
Despite social policy being one of the most quantified policy fields today, there is no singular indicator or set of indicators of social policy quality or performance on the global level that is universally accepted and influential, comparable to GDP in the economy. The article analyses and explains the unsuccessful indicatorisation in the ILO’s International Survey of Social Services of the interwar years. During this first elaborate study of social policies worldwide by an international...

Public Debt Management between Discipline and Creativity. Accounting for Energy Performance Contracts in Germany

Lisa Knoll & Konstanze Senge
The determination of government debt levels is a complex multilayered process subjected to constant reform. In the aftermath of the 2007-8 financial crisis, a twofold reform trend has emerged. On the one hand, the European Commission demands and supports stronger harmonization of national accounts, thereby eliminating loopholes for creative accounting practices such as public-private partnerships or swap deals, which increase government debt levels in many cases. On the other hand, the European Commission demands and...

Formalizing the Future: How Central Banks Set Out to Govern Expectations but Ended Up (En-)Trapped in Indicators

Timo Walter
Modern ‘inflation targeting’ monetary policy has been one of the prototypes of future-oriented modes of social coordination which in recent years have captured the sociological imagination. Modern central banking is commonly presented as achieving greater efficacy by directly managing economic expectations, in particular when contrasted with the previous heavy-handed, “hydraulic” transmission of policy objectives through systems of economic aggregates. Such empirical claims are mirrored in the theoretical distinction drawn by sociologists between the openness and...

Let’s Count and Manage – and Forget the Rest. Understanding Numeric Rationalization in Human Service Provision

Ingo Bode
In recent times, the development of Western welfare states has been strongly influenced by regulatory and managerial approaches that embody what this special issue refers to as ‘governing by numbers’. This article delineates this development by using the example of the human service industry in Germany. The analysis is embedded in a macro-sociological perspective on blurring boundaries between the capitalistic (market) economy and the welfare state, arguing that a certain kind of (instrumentalist) numeric rationalization...

Statistical Panopticism and Its Critique

Rainer Diaz-Bone
The article develops the concept of statistical panopticism, thereby combining the French approach of economics of convention (EC) and Michel Foucault’s concept of panopticism. The differences between Foucault’s original notion of panopticism and statistical panopticism are emphasized. It is argued that statistical panopticism has been made possible by the enormous growth of quantification, datafication, linking, and centralization of numerical data production, data collection, and data analysis. This has been (mainly) realized by private enterprises and...

Measure for Measure: Politics of Quantifying Individuals to Govern Them

Laurent Thévenot
This article compares a variety of modes of quantifying individuals to govern them. The analytical grid issues from a former research program on the Politics of Statistics that focused on one of these modes of governing by numbers, the statistical nation state, which is here included in an array of more recently developed governing numbers based on benchmarking, digital tracking, or self-quantifying. Three main operations differentiate modes of governing by numbers: measuring individuals for quantification,...

Governing by Numbers - Key Indicators and the Politics of Expectations. An Introduction

Walter Bartl, Christian Papilloud & Audrey Terracher-Lipinki
In this special issue of Historical Social Research, indicators are considered epistemic devices that render the world governable by quantification. While endowed with an aura of objectivity, indicators are not neutral devices. Instead they transform the world they claim to describe. Against the backdrop of a global proliferation of indicators, we argue in favour of research that strategically focuses on the processes that lead to the institutionalisation and systematic use of key indicators in politics...

Family Systems and Fertility, Western Europe 1870-1960

Paul Rotering
This paper investigates the associations between fertility decline in Western Europe since the nineteenth century and the most elementary institution through which relationships between kin are defined: the family. Fertility levels in Western Europe declined strongly since the mid-nineteenth century but also show marked regional variations, comparable to developments in sub-Saharan Africa in the world today. Recent explanations of fertility decline point at the role of social relationships with kin and non-kin in the diffusion...

Politics of Taxonomy in Postcolonial Indonesia: Ethnic Traditions between Religionisation and Secularisation

Martin Ramstedt
The article discusses the politics of taxonomy that drive the entangled dynamics of religionisation and secularisation of ethnic traditions in postcolonial Indonesia, and the associated sociopolitical context. Defined in accordance with both emic notions of agamasasi (religionisation) and the concept of religion-making originally advanced by Arvind-Pal S. Mandair and Markus Dressler in 2011, “religionisation” relates to three interrelated processes that have had distinct ramifications in the different periods of postcolonial Indonesian history: (1) the way...

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