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Reflexivity unpacked: performativity, uncertainty and analytical monocultures

Bronk, Richard (2013) Reflexivity unpacked: performativity, uncertainty and analytical monocultures. Journal of Economic Methodology, 20 (4). pp. 343-349. ISSN 1350-178x

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Identification Number: 10.1080/1350178X.2013.859404


This paper analyses Soros' theory of reflexivity by breaking it down into several component concepts that are individually well analysed in existing literature – including performativity, self-reinforcing feedback loops and uncertainty. By focusing on the cognitive myopia implied by analytical monocultures and on the indeterminacy implied by innovation, it helps establish boundaries of applicability for reflexivity (as opposed to standard economic) models. It argues that Soros largely ignores a key element in the formation of self-reinforcing delusions or market bubbles – the role played in conditions of uncertainty by homogeneous social narratives and shared mental models. This paper also examines how social learning, rhetoric, power, emotional contagion, the discourse of ‘best practice’, ‘and Keynes' beauty contest may lead to such shared narratives and analytical homogeneity in markets. It concludes that market instability results when there is insufficient cognitive diversity or heterogeneity of beliefs among actors to enable them to spot anomalies and novelties.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2014 12:18
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:17

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