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Making up value: towards an ethnography of the new price-setters

Pigounidès, Vassily (2018) Making up value: towards an ethnography of the new price-setters. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.p8gtfcixyvhi


This thesis aims to describe and analyse at once the sociotechnical logics that give essence to the mechanics of value-creation in a start-up in Paris’s ‘Silicon Sentier’. It is for this reason composed of two texts of deliberately disparate styles and statuses. The first essay pursues a threefold objective. The first is to provide detailed ethnographical data, produced by direct, participant observation, on a social world which is largely unknown, even more so as the received ideas which start-ups are subject to are widespread. On this basis, I then draw some of the governing principles of this entrepreneurial activity as it is carried out nowadays in the French start-up ecosystem, through this antagonistic relationship which links the start-up to the ‘large firm’. Finally I sketch an analysis of value creation in which the organisation is at once the space, the instrument, and the target. The second essay revisits the ‘performativity of economics’ through the specific case of PriceMatch. I point out, firstly, how neoliberal policies of deregulation and the advent of information technology, made it possible the rise of an industry of revenue management technologies, of which PriceMatch is one of the most recent manifestations. Then, I indicate how the scientific literature on revenue management constitutes a reservoir of techniques and arguments in which the engineers of the start-up can draw on. Finally, I show how certain economic representations can emerge in a practical context, but how these can only be imposed through some ruses and artifices used by the start-up members.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Vassily Pigounidès
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Sets: Departments > Accounting
Supervisor: Miller, Peter

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