Magical Formulae for Market Futures

Tales from the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos

Christina Garsten, Adrienne Sörbom

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Markets are often portrayed as being organized by way of rationalized knowledge, objective reasoning, and the fluctuations of demand and supply. In parallel, and often mixed with this modality of knowledge, magical beliefs and practices are prevalent. Business leaders, management consultants, and financial advisors are often savvy in the art of creatively blending the ‘objective facts’ of markets with magical formulae, rites, and imaginaries of the future. This article looks at the World Economic Forum's yearly Davos meeting as a large-scale ritual that engages senior executives of global corporations, top-level politicians, and civil society leaders to contribute to the overall aim of ‘improving the world’. The Davos gathering has become a vital part of the business calendar, just as much for the intensity of its networking as for the declarations of action from the speakers’ podiums. The presentations and performances in Davos work as ‘technologies of enchantment’ in Gell's (1992) sense, instilling a sense of agency onto participants. The ritual also contributes towards securing the acquiescence of individuals and organizations in a transnational network of politico-economic intentionalities. By invoking global and regional challenges and risks, discussing possible scenarios and solutions, presenters invoke a sense of urgency and contribute to the articulation of global ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’. It is proposed that the magic of Davos resides to a large extent in the ritualized form of interaction and the technologies of enchantment through which it is set up.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAnthropology Today
    Volume32
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)18–21
    ISSN0268-540X
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Cite this

    @article{fccf29d78c844000b3af7704e42318ed,
    title = "Magical Formulae for Market Futures: Tales from the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos",
    abstract = "Markets are often portrayed as being organized by way of rationalized knowledge, objective reasoning, and the fluctuations of demand and supply. In parallel, and often mixed with this modality of knowledge, magical beliefs and practices are prevalent. Business leaders, management consultants, and financial advisors are often savvy in the art of creatively blending the ‘objective facts’ of markets with magical formulae, rites, and imaginaries of the future. This article looks at the World Economic Forum's yearly Davos meeting as a large-scale ritual that engages senior executives of global corporations, top-level politicians, and civil society leaders to contribute to the overall aim of ‘improving the world’. The Davos gathering has become a vital part of the business calendar, just as much for the intensity of its networking as for the declarations of action from the speakers’ podiums. The presentations and performances in Davos work as ‘technologies of enchantment’ in Gell's (1992) sense, instilling a sense of agency onto participants. The ritual also contributes towards securing the acquiescence of individuals and organizations in a transnational network of politico-economic intentionalities. By invoking global and regional challenges and risks, discussing possible scenarios and solutions, presenters invoke a sense of urgency and contribute to the articulation of global ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’. It is proposed that the magic of Davos resides to a large extent in the ritualized form of interaction and the technologies of enchantment through which it is set up.",
    author = "Christina Garsten and Adrienne S{\"o}rbom",
    year = "2016",
    doi = "10.1111/1467-8322.12312",
    language = "English",
    volume = "32",
    pages = "18–21",
    journal = "Anthropology Today",
    issn = "0268-540X",
    publisher = "Blackwell Publishing",
    number = "6",

    }

    Magical Formulae for Market Futures : Tales from the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos. / Garsten, Christina; Sörbom, Adrienne.

    In: Anthropology Today, Vol. 32, No. 6, 2016, p. 18–21.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Magical Formulae for Market Futures

    T2 - Tales from the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos

    AU - Garsten, Christina

    AU - Sörbom, Adrienne

    PY - 2016

    Y1 - 2016

    N2 - Markets are often portrayed as being organized by way of rationalized knowledge, objective reasoning, and the fluctuations of demand and supply. In parallel, and often mixed with this modality of knowledge, magical beliefs and practices are prevalent. Business leaders, management consultants, and financial advisors are often savvy in the art of creatively blending the ‘objective facts’ of markets with magical formulae, rites, and imaginaries of the future. This article looks at the World Economic Forum's yearly Davos meeting as a large-scale ritual that engages senior executives of global corporations, top-level politicians, and civil society leaders to contribute to the overall aim of ‘improving the world’. The Davos gathering has become a vital part of the business calendar, just as much for the intensity of its networking as for the declarations of action from the speakers’ podiums. The presentations and performances in Davos work as ‘technologies of enchantment’ in Gell's (1992) sense, instilling a sense of agency onto participants. The ritual also contributes towards securing the acquiescence of individuals and organizations in a transnational network of politico-economic intentionalities. By invoking global and regional challenges and risks, discussing possible scenarios and solutions, presenters invoke a sense of urgency and contribute to the articulation of global ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’. It is proposed that the magic of Davos resides to a large extent in the ritualized form of interaction and the technologies of enchantment through which it is set up.

    AB - Markets are often portrayed as being organized by way of rationalized knowledge, objective reasoning, and the fluctuations of demand and supply. In parallel, and often mixed with this modality of knowledge, magical beliefs and practices are prevalent. Business leaders, management consultants, and financial advisors are often savvy in the art of creatively blending the ‘objective facts’ of markets with magical formulae, rites, and imaginaries of the future. This article looks at the World Economic Forum's yearly Davos meeting as a large-scale ritual that engages senior executives of global corporations, top-level politicians, and civil society leaders to contribute to the overall aim of ‘improving the world’. The Davos gathering has become a vital part of the business calendar, just as much for the intensity of its networking as for the declarations of action from the speakers’ podiums. The presentations and performances in Davos work as ‘technologies of enchantment’ in Gell's (1992) sense, instilling a sense of agency onto participants. The ritual also contributes towards securing the acquiescence of individuals and organizations in a transnational network of politico-economic intentionalities. By invoking global and regional challenges and risks, discussing possible scenarios and solutions, presenters invoke a sense of urgency and contribute to the articulation of global ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’. It is proposed that the magic of Davos resides to a large extent in the ritualized form of interaction and the technologies of enchantment through which it is set up.

    UR - https://sfx-45cbs.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/45cbs?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&url_ctx_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&ctx_enc=info:ofi/enc:UTF-8&ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&rfr_id=info:sid/sfxit.com:azlist&sfx.ignore_date_threshold=1&rft.object_id=963018064640&rft.object_portfolio_id=&svc.holdings=yes&svc.fulltext=yes

    U2 - 10.1111/1467-8322.12312

    DO - 10.1111/1467-8322.12312

    M3 - Journal article

    VL - 32

    SP - 18

    EP - 21

    JO - Anthropology Today

    JF - Anthropology Today

    SN - 0268-540X

    IS - 6

    ER -