Prisms Refracting Promises: The Speculative Nature of Blockchain Technology

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Following Geiger and Gross (2017), this paper explores the roles and responsibilities of specific promissory actors in the market hype around digital healthcare. The paper draws on the concepts of mediating instruments (Miller & O’Leary, 2007) and dispersed calculation (Czarniawska, 2004), and the paper uses a temporal perspective on promissory actions (Mouritsen & Kreiner, 2016). The paper investigates the roles and responsibilities of technology journalists, healthcare regulators and pharmaceutical innovators through the instruments that these actors use to encourage investments in the future market for digital healthcare, as well as to engage in investments themselves. The aim of the paper is to explore how promissory actors make promises about the future of digital healthcare, how these promises relate to one another through mediating instruments and the extent to which we can use a prism analogy to understand the center for this calculation. We argue that the center of the calculation is a moving target: Promissory actors recalculate the center as they invest in the market, and due to the dispersion of the calculation, we can determine the centrality of this calculation only once we know the result. Actors use prisms differently, and the prisms refract the actors’ promises in different ways.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventThe 5th Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop: Market Situations-Situated Markets - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 6 Jun 20188 Jun 2018
Conference number: 5


ConferenceThe 5th Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop
LocationCopenhagen Business School
Internet address

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