Emplacing the Canonization Process of Urban Models: Richard Florida’s Creative Class Theory and the City of Toronto
University of Toronto, Canada
In recent years, the interest in urbanism has transformed from an issue of a limited professional group into a discussion of the wider public. Like other issues entering the public realm, a market of ideas has developed around cities, which includes a group of ‘influencers’ who carry models to new places and are sometimes called ‘gurus’. To unpack the canonization process of urban models, I build on Andrew Abbott’s Linked-Ecology perspective and examine the forces that enable and restrict ‘space-travelers’ (Liu, forthcoming) like the ‘gurus’ to bring professional knowledge to a broad non-professional audience. However, when using this tradition that observes the metaphorical migration of selected ‘travelers’ between professional ecologies, I add a geographical dimension and examine how ideas and experts are validated through space. The analysis focuses on a case that doesn’t follow the expectations, inquiring why Richard Florida, the author of “the rise of the CC” (2002), who migrated to Toronto after his ideas were widely adopted by a vast urban coalition and as part of the University of Toronto’s attempt to bring an academic ‘rock-star’, still didn’t succeed to maintain his position in the city as a ‘guru’. Using media coverage of Florida’s affairs in Toronto between 2003-2018 and interviews with 34 local thinkers and ‘city-builders’, among them Florida himself, I explain why this seemingly promising match between the ‘guru’ and the city wasn’t sustained. I point to the spatial elements that underlie the ability of professionals and the knowledge they carry to enter new realms and maintain legitimacy.
Startup Pitches - a Global Communicative Genre in Economy?
Technical University Berlin, Germany
The Startup Pitch is a communicative form that is used to present innovative business ideas and has gained significant importance over the past decades. Originating in the Silicon Valley, it corresponds to a global trend of creating startup businesses that pursue innovative, scaleable and profitable business models. It plays a crucial role for the relationship between startup companies and supporting organizations such as venture capital firms, business angels and accelerator programs. This paper uses the concept of communicative genres (Luckmann) to describe the communicative form of startup pitches. It stems from within the sociology of knowledge tradition and addresses this phenomenon by analyzing aspects of the broader institutional context (external structure) and typical situative forms of social (inter)action (internal structure) within one single analytical framework.
In terms of interactional settings, delivering and interpreting pitches requires a high degree of specific knowledge that ensures the functioning of pitches (e.g. in the context of specific events): both presenters and recipients need to know what makes a ‘good’ pitch in terms of relevant information, sequential order and the specific terminology used etc. As it addresses innovative ideas, it processes the insecurity resulting from the general contingency of future developments. The paper argues that the startup pitch is a globally prevalent communicative genre. It is carried by a specific constellation of experts and transcends traditional boundaries (e.g. of nation states) by creating itself symbolic boundaries between realizable and non-realizable, innovative and non-innovative as well as profitable and non-profitable business models.
Social Illusions as a Challenge for Modern Sociology of Knowledge
University of Bialystok, Poland
Modern man encounters, all the more often, a world of fiction, false realities, imaginations, wishful thinking and the likes. All of these descriptions refer to the state referred to in antiquity as that of illusion (mainly in the Platonic sense). Today's illusions are created in a mass way and they result in us taking part in these illusions (to a lesser or greater extent). This is particularly achieved by marketing institutions, political institutions, ideological organisations, the film industry, corporations connected with virtual reality and gaming and so on.
Illusiveness seems to grow in the modern world disseminating throughout society and the experience of individuals it and in many fields of activity. Through this process, modern people live out a life of illusion more than that of reality. For a sociologist of knowledge, it is obvious that this state of functioning corresponds to a proper state of conciousness. Thus, sociology of knowledge can research all fields connected with the constructioning of illusion and is even obliged to do so.
In this presentation there will be a short analysis of the so called „society of knowledge”. It will try to answer the question: Does the above name refer to the meanings of the terms used, or is it another illusion put into circulation among the public?