Performance circuits in the marketplace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This paper introduces the concept of performance circuits as a means for understanding economic transactions. The concept of the performance circuits emphasizes the script-like sequences and the existing cultural narratives that enable the believable performances of those scripts. The concept of performance circuits allows for Zelizer's concept of relational work to be applied in ethnographic studies of economic life, decomposing the constituent parts that enable the accomplishment of value in the marketplace. The paper opens with a dramaturgical performance at the United States Federal Reserve and then turns to microstudies of handicraft production, modern art markets, and neighborhood branding to demonstrate how one can study market dramas unfolding, sometimes unremarkably, emotions being generated, and background representations making loosely scripted actions understandable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-221
Number of pages19
JournalPolitics and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Dramaturgy
  • Economic sociology
  • Performance circuits
  • Relational work
  • Scripts


Dive into the research topics of 'Performance circuits in the marketplace'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this