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Department of Management, Economics and Quantitative Methods

The Other Sraffa - Surprises in the Archive?

Area bacheca: 1031

l) Jonathan Smith (Wren Library, Cambridge, UK)
Surprise in the archive: approaches to the Sraffa papers

Whatever our approach to his intellectual output, the opening of his papers has provided "unexpected vistas of Sraffa's landscape". It has allowed us access to completely new material, such as his faculty lectures, and helped us understand the routes he took to works with which we have become familiar, such as the preparatory work for Production of Commodities. Indeed, it might be argued that one purpose of archival material is at times to surprise and shake us out of the familiar ideas that we have and take us into more uncomfortable territory. But surprise is not evident in isolation from our knowledge of Sraffa's work, rather it is a reaction to the identities we each impose on Sraffa based first on our understanding of his printed work - which is a carefully controlled subset of his potential intellectual output. However these identities, these other Sraffas, are not static, but are further contextualised as we grow more and more familiar with the archive and as theories are contested in academic debate. While perhaps we should not be surprised that the archive has revealed some unexpected aspects of Sraffa's thought, the vigorous debate occasioned by nexus of our differing identities for Sraffa and the content of his archive has produced vital insights into his life and works.

sponsored by
Department of Economics
Faculty of Economics
University of Bergamo


December 21-22, 2010
aula 3, via Salvecchio 19
University of Bergamo - Bergamo Alta, Italy