Martha Lampland

Professor

Martha Lampland is a Professor of Sociology and a core member of the Science Studies Program at the University of California, San Diego.  She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1987.   Her interests consist of political economy, social history, and feminist science studies; her research focuses on Hungary, and Central Europe more generally.  She has a long term interest in the history of commodifying labor, and the variety of formalizing practices that entails: rationalization, standardization, quantification, and commensuration.  Lampland’s early field work was conducted during the socialist period in Hungary; later studies addressed the postsocialist context, with an eye to continuities as much as to change.  Archival research she has conducted has spanned both the 19th and 20th centuries.  As an anthropologist conducting research in Europe, she is keenly aware of the fact that the concepts we enshrine as social theory are sociocultural artifacts of European history, so the provincialism of contemporary social theory is a recurring theme in her analyses.  In recent years, Lampland has spent time studying jokes, specifcially the role of humor in politics.  

 

Professor Lampland has published two books on the commodification of labor: The Object of Labor. Commodification in Socialist Hungary  (University of Chicago Press, 1995) and The Value of Labor.  The Science of Commodification in Hungary, 1920-1956 (Chicago, 2016).  She has also co-edited two books: Altering States.  Ethnographies of the Transition in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, co-edited with Daphne Berdahl and Matti Bunzl (University of Michigan Press, 2000); and Standards and their Stories. How Quantifying, Classifying and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life, co-edited with Leigh Star (Cornell University Press, 2009). 

 

Curriculum Vitae

 

Selected publications

“’From Each According to their Ability, to Each According to their Need.’ Calorie Money and Technical Norms in mid-20th c. Hungary,” IN Economic Knowledge in Socialism, 1945-1989 (Duke, forthcoming)

 

“What Happened to Jokes” The Shifting Landscape of Humor in Hungary,” (with Maya Nadkarni) East European Politics and Societies (2016)

 

“The Technopolitical Lineage of State Planning in Mid-Century Hungary (1930-1956)” IN Entangled Geographies. Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War (2011)  

 

“False Numbers as Formalizing Practices,” Social Studies of Science (2010)

 

“Classifying Laborers: Instinct, Property, and the Psychology of Productivity in Hungary (1920-1956)" IN Standards and their Stories. How Quantifying, Classifying and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life (2009)

 

“Reckoning with Standards” (with Leigh Star) IN Standards and their Stories. How Quantifying, Classifying and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life (2009)

 

“The Advantages of Being Collectivized: Cooperative Farm Managers in the Postsocialist Economy” IN Postsocialism: Ideas, Ideologies, and Practices in Europe and Asia (2002)

 

“Corvée, Maps and Contracts: Agricultural Policy and the Rise of the Modern State in Hungary during the 19th Century,” Irish Journal of Anthropology (1998)

 

“Family Portraits: Gendered Images of the Nation in 19th Century Hungary,” Eastern European Politics and Society (1994)

 

“Pigs, Party Secretaries and Private Lives,”  American Ethnologist (1991)

 

“The Politics of History: Historical Consciousness of 1847-1849,” Hungarian Studies (1990)

I am engaged in a study of work science, agricultural productivity and wages in Hungary (1920-1956), studying in particular the rise of economic policies advocating scientifically calibrated wage forms in the 1920s and 1930s, and the influence of these policies on the development and implementation of Stalinist cooperative agriculture in the 1950s.

Two intersecting agendas underlie this project:

**writing a post-Cold War history of the transition from capitalism to socialism in Hungary , with a particular attention to both the continuities and discontinuities in economic theories and expert personnel between the two regimes.

**focusing the analytic strengths of science studies on the study of 20th c. social policy, state formation and labor politics.

Archival research constitutes the primary materials used in the analysis. For the 1920s and 1930s, scholarly and popular publications (journals, pamphlets and newspapers) are studied. From 1945, these materials are augmented with extensive use of government and party documents, from the national and county level. In addition, interviews were conducted with a number of economists and policy-makers who were directly involved in creating a new socialist agriculture.

BOOKS

2009    Standards and their Stories. How Quantifying, Classifying and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life.  co-edited with Susan Leigh Star.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

2000    Altering States: Ethnographies of Transition in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.  co-edited with Daphne Berdahl and Matti Bunzl.  Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 

1995    The Object of Labor: Commodification in Socialist Hungary.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

BOOKS  IN PROGRESS

The Value of Labor: The Science of Commodification (Hungary, 1920-1956)
(under review at the University of Chicago Press)          

ARTICLES and BOOK CHAPTERS

2011    The Technopolitical Lineage of State Planning in Mid-Century Hungary (1930-1956) INEntangled Geographies. Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold WarGabrielle Hecht, ed. Pp. 155-184. Cambridge: MIT Press.

2010       False Numbers as Formalizing Practices.  Social Studies of Science 40(3):377-404.

2009      Classifying Laborers: Instinct, Property, and the Psychology of Productivity in Hungary (1920-1956) IN Standards and their Stories. How Quantifying, Classifying and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life, Martha Lampland and Susan Leigh Star, eds. pp. 123-142.  Ithaca: Cornell.  with S.L. Star

2009    Reckoning with Standards IN Standards and their Stories. How Quantifying, Classifying and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life, Martha Lampland and Susan Leigh Star, eds. pp. 3-24.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

2002    The Advantages of Being Collectivized: cooperative farm managers in the postsocialist economy IN Postsocialism: Ideas, Ideologies, and Practices in Europe and Asia, Chris Hann (ed.) pp. 72-123.  London: Routledge.

2000    Afterword IN Altering States: Ethnographies of Transition in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union.  Daphne Berdahl, Matti Bunzl and Martha Lampland, editors.  pp. 209-281. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

1998 Corvée, Maps and Contracts: Agricultural Policy and the Rise of the Modern State in Hungary during the 19th Century. Irish Journal of Anthropology 3:7-40.

1997a  Farmers in the Post-Cooperative Economy.  Paper written for the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research. 

1997b  The Social Constraints on Economic Transitions.  State Wage Policy in the Transition to Stalinism.  Paper  written for the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research.

1994a  Feminizmus és Társadalomkutatás [Feminism and Social Research] IN Férfiuralom.  Irások nökröl, férfiakról, feminizmusról  [Male Domination.  Writings on women, men and on feminism].  Miklós Hadas, ed.  pp. 55-62.  Budapest: Replika Kör.

1994b Family Portraits: Gendered Images of the Nation in 19th Century Hungary . Eastern European Politics and Society 8(2):287-316.

1994c  Családi Portrék: Nemi Szerepekben Megfogalmazott Nemzetkoncepciók a Tizenkilencedik Századi Magyarországon.  [Family Portraits: Gendered Images of the Nation in 19th Century, abridged version].  Cafe Babel 11(1-2):119-129. 

1993    Death of a Hero.  Hungarian National Identity and the Funeral of Lajos Kossuth.  Hungarian Studies 8(1):29-35.

1991 Pigs, Party Secretaries and Private Lives. American Ethnologist 18(3):459-479.

1990    The Politics of History: Historical Consciousness of 1847-1849.  Hungarian Studies 6(2):185-194.

1990    Unthinkable Subjects: Women and Labor in Socialist Hungary.  East European Quarterly 4:389-398.

1989    Biographies of Liberation: Testimonials to Labor in Socialist Hungary IN Promissory Notes: Women in the Transition to Socialism, Sonia Kruks, Rayna Rapp and Marilyn Young (ed.), pp. 306-322. New York: Monthly Review Press.