Stadt: University of Mannheim

Beginn: 2017-06-01

Ende: 2017-06-03

For what it’s worth.
Challenging and negotiating value in literature and in economic theory
International and interdisciplinary conference


Agnieszka Komorowska (University of Mannheim) –
Annika Nickenig (Humboldt-University Berlin) –
Claire Pignol (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) –


June 1-3, 2017, University of Mannheim, Germany, L 7, 3-5, Room 4.58


The concept of value is at the heart of economic thought; it is part of most economic debates since the 18th century and has been conceptualized from different perspectives. The idea of economic value, understood as exchange value, has been the object of recent discussions not only concerning the determinants but also concerning the necessary presuppositions of its existence. In a similar way, literary theory is closely linked, since its beginning, to the attempt of establishing esthetic values (Werturteile). Axiological statements, as
well as discussions concerning their formation, relevance and legitimacy, can be found throughout the history of literary thought. In addition, literary texts themselves are in constant interaction with the moral and social values of their time, which they reflect and represent in an either oppositional or affirmative way.
The concept of value thus plays a crucial and defining role in both the literary and the economic sphere. Both spheres face tensions between different values: moral, esthetic or exchange values, social or individual values, growing or decreasing values. Furthermore, there is an antagonism between given values and occurring processes of (re-/de-)valuation. These tensions bring to light a number of sometimes contradictory models of negotiation and valorization. The conference takes its starting point in the interdisciplinary study of the various, often interwoven, layers of these negotiations of value.
Our principal assumption concerns the challenging of established moral and social values: Both literature and economics, confront us with values that may differ from moral and social values, question them in explicit and implicit ways or on the other hand may express, explore or spread declining or increasing values. Our focus lies on the semantics and the poetics of these contestations, rooted in the assumption that literature and economic thought share an “amoral” tradition of contesting and challenging social values. At the same time, we will analyze how, on the contrary, literary and economic discourses participate in legitimizing official discourses by appropriating them with their proper means and assimilating them to their models of representation. Focusing on the discussion of values (meaning moral, social and economic values, past or present values etc.) in economic theory and on the representation of economic value in literature the conference seeks to explore models of valorization that try to shape an idea of inter-subjectivity and social relations based on an affective regulation or “economy” of desire and ethics.



15:00-15:20 Agnieszka Komorowska / Annika Nickenig / Claire Pignol
Welcome and Introduction

Panel 1: Valuable Relations: Economic Theory and Cultural Studies

15:20-16:00 Esther Schomacher (Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany):
Can we really read money? On concepts of money and value in today’s cultural studies – and their genealogy

16:00-16:40 Verena Rauen (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland):
Priceless? The Intertwinedness of Moral Values and Economic Prizes in the Philosophy of Economics

17:00-17:40 Urs Urban (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany):
Value and Non-Value of the economic man. The embodiment of bio-economics as a fundamental differentiating feature in
the Literature of the Early modern period

17:40-18:20 Claire Pignol (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, PHARE, France):
“The discovery of money, it has been as an atomic bomb”. Economic and moral values in Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets
of Svetlana Alexievich

FRIDAY, JUNE / 2ND / 2017

Panel 2: The homo oeconomicus in the Early Modern Period

09:00-09:40 Helmut Pfeiffer (Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany):
Psychic and textual hypothecs: Montaigne’s „De la vanité“

09:40-10:20 Idoya Zorroza (University of Navarra, Spain):
The Market Description of Francisco de Vitoria: between economy and moral

10:40-11:20 Annika Nickenig (Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany):
Precious Values. Negotiations of Worth in Early Modern Spain

11:20-12:00 Shifra Armon (University of Florida, USA)
The Perfect Touch: Real and Symbolic Capital in Alonso Jerónimo de Salas Barbadillo’s El caballero perfecto (1620)

Panel 3: Economic anthropology in the 18th century

15:00-15:40 Laurent Jaffro (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, PHARE, France):
Diderot on Family Values and Fortune

15:40-16:20 Agnieszka Komorowska (University of Mannheim, Germany):
The economic value of happiness. Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos and economic theory
in Spanish Enlightenment

16:40-17:20 Laurie Bréban (University of Paris 1 Phantéon-Sorbonne, PHARE, France):
Women and the debate on luxury in the French novels of the eighteenth century

17:20-18:00 Beatrice Schuchardt: (University of Siegen, Germany): Negotiating values in the 18th Century Spanish Debate
on Luxury: Private Vice or Public Benefit?


Panel 4: Individualism and Interest. Negotiating Value in the 19th Century

09:00-09:40 Christophe Reffait (University of Picardie, CERCLL, France):
The measure of self-value

9:40-10:20 Alexandre Péraud (University of Bordeaux 3 – Montaigne, TELEM, France):
“Dis-moi combien je vaux” or the narrative construction of economic value
of the individual

10:40-11:20 Marie-Laure Massei (University of Paris 1 Phantéon-Sorbonne, CRHXIX, France):
Locating value and worth in Jane Austen’s novels

11:20-12:00 Annette Disselkamp (University of Lille 1, CLERSE, France):
Theodor Fontane, or how a traveler and writer views the change of values
in the 19th century

Panel 5: Imagination and (Inter)Space. Negotiating Value in the 19th and 20th Century

13:20-14:00 Thomas Skowronek (Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany):
Oblomov Machines. Making Imagination work in 19th Century Economic and Literary Discourses

14:00-14:40 Claudia Gronemann (University of Mannheim, Germany):
“Producing belief in the creative power of the artist”: the author as player in the literary business focused through the lens
of contemporary French fiction