Some institutions (social norms and conventions) of contemporary mainstream economics, macroeconomics and financial economics

David Dequech (2017)

Cambridge Journal of Economics. Volume 41, Issue 6, p. 1627–1652

Abstract. This paper applies an institutional approach to contemporary mainstream economics. It identifies some mental and behavioral rules of mainstream economics as a whole and of the mainstream segment of two important subdisciplines, namely, macroeconomics and financial economics. There are social reasons behind the sharing of these rules. They are institutions. More specifically, academics who do not comply with these rules are subject to punishment, while conformists may be rewarded. At the same time, many supporters of mainstream economics have internalized these rules as legitimate, in part because of the prestige of their advocates. Social sanctions and internalization characterize social norms. These institutions are also conventions. Through various mechanisms, some academics follow these rules at least in part because others have done so; in addition, the prevailing rules are not necessarily superior to existing or conceivable alternatives. The combination of social norms and conventions may have negative consequences for the discipline.

Link to the review

Link to the article via ResearchGate

Appel à contribution / Call for papers : « Tant de capital, temps de travail ? »

Colloque organisé les 14-15 mai 2018 par le Centre de sociologie des organisations, Paris

Résumé. Loin d’avoir disparu, le temps d’emploi a été et reste au cœur de diverses lois sur le travail et l’enjeu de nombreux conflits que ce soit dans les entreprises ou à l’échelle nationale. Si de nombreux travaux ont porté sur le passage au « 35 heures » au tournant du siècle, nous nous attacherons ici à comprendre les dynamiques temporelles en cours près de 20 ans après les premières lois Aubry. Les trois axes retenus pour ce colloque concernent (1) la quantification et les nomenclatures statistiques du temps d’emploi, (2) les conflits et les compromis sur le lieu d’emploi et (3) la régulation publique du temps d’emploi.

Trois axes thématiques :

1) Quantifier et qualifier l’évolution du temps d’emploi

2) Conflits et compromis sur le lieu d’emploi

3) Régulation publique du temps d’emploi

Calendrier :

  • Réception des propositions de communication (en français ou en anglais) : le 5 janvier 2018 au plus tard
  • Information sur la sélection retenue et annonce du programme : le 23 janvier 2018 au plus tard
  • Date limite d’envoi des communications (40.000 signes max.) : le 23 avril 2018 au plus tard
  • Colloque : 14 et 15 mai 2018 à Paris.

Appel à contribution complet :


Note de lecture de « Enrichissement. Une critique de la marchandise »

Camille Herlin-Giret (2017)

Sociologie [en ligne]

Luc Boltanski et Arnaud Esquerre (2017), Enrichissement. Une critique de la marchandise, Paris, Gallimard, 672 p.

C’est à l’identification d’une mutation récente du capitalisme qu’est consacré le dernier ouvrage de Luc Boltanski et Arnaud Esquerre. Les moindres profits générés par l’industrie de masse, la désindustrialisation comme la critique du productivisme ont constitué un terreau favorable à l’avènement d’une économie, que ces derniers appellent économie de l’enrichissement. Le terme « enrichissement » renvoie à la fois à l’augmentation du prix d’objets ayant été produits dans le passé et au profit retiré de la marchandisation de tels objets. L’économie de l’enrichissement, que les auteurs mettent au jour, repose sur de nouvelles formes de mise en valeur des biens et a la particularité d’être destinée et de profiter aux plus riches….

Article en ligne

From Research to Action

Yves Charbit & Véronique Petit (2017)

In: Petit,  V. (2017): Population Studies and Development from Theory to Fieldwork, pp 225-236.

Abstract. The general conclusion widens reflection on issues raised by the relation between research and action around a central idea: how can the indisputable contribution made by science be reconciled with the expectations and needs of the programmes and projects? Our experience of relations between field research and institutional demands leads us to emphasise the need to take into account four categories of actors and the interactions that characterise them. However, this typology must not lead to assuming that an egalitarian dialogue exists between these different categories. These actors play specific roles at particular sociological and political levels, they are marked by particular institutional rationales governing their actions, and, finally, they act within systems of constraints that can either brake or accelerate development. Identifying and understanding the rationales underlying the responses of actors is an essential point in our perspective. Finally, the theory of change and response, associated with the methodology of village monographs, does not only provide new paths for facilitating the implementation of development projects, it more generally reflection on the change from research to action.

Link to the review

Investing for profit, investing for impact: Moral performances in agricultural investment projects.

Zenia Kish & Madeleine Fairbairn (2017)

Environment and Planning A. Online first.

Abstract. The recent global boom in agricultural investment has spurred much normative critique of “land grabbing,” but amidst this critical scrutiny investor morality has remained a black box. This article examines the role of ethical narratives in advancing the financialization of nature by comparing how agricultural investment projects are pitched and implemented among two different groups of investors: mainstream agricultural investors and impact investors. We analyze the different discursive strategies used by these distinct financial communities to position themselves as ethical investor-subjects while also showing that, within both groups, some form of moral performance is necessary to maintaining legitimacy and profitability. Mainstream agricultural investors, we argue, perform morality primarily through economic and agricultural productivity, while explicit claims of socially or environmentally responsible investing serve mostly to mitigate reputational risk and preempt the value destruction of potential bad publicity. For impact investors, on the other hand, moral storytelling is essential to value generation. Their solicitation of capital involves persuading potential investors of both the value of their individual projects and the ethical framework guiding the entire sector. Finally, we present two case studies—a large-scale farmland acquisition in Mozambique and an impact investment farming project in Ghana—which demonstrate how moral performances can falter when put into practice. These case studies shed light on the co-creation of economic and moral value in markets by demonstrating how—beyond formal evaluative metrics—the everyday moral narratives of investors play a pivotal role in expanding the financial penetration of nature.

Link to the review

Konventionen und Kompromisse auf Finanzmärkten

Lisa Knoll (2018)

In: Beyer, Jürgen/Senge, Konstanze (eds.)(2018): Finanzmarktsoziologie. Entscheidungen, Ungewissheit und Geldordnung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 107-124.

Finanzmärkte nehmen in der Wirtschaftssoziologie eine Sonderstellung ein. Dies hat einerseits damit zu tun, dass sich die Wirtschaftssoziologie, insbesondere seit Harrison White (1993), speziell mit Produzentenmärkten befasst, die White von klassischen Finanzmärkten unterscheidet. Der genuine Beitrag der Wirtschaftssoziologie erscheint so auf den Bereich der Produzentenmärkte festgelegt, denn es sind die Produzentenmärkte, die vom neoklassischen Marktverständnis abweichen und nach anderen (wirtschaftssoziologischen) Analysestrategien verlangen.

Special Issue « Critique & Social Change » Historical Social Research

Thomas Kern, Thomas Laux & Insa Pruisken (eds.)

Historical Social Research, 42(3).

Critique and Social Change: Historical, Cultural, and Institutional Perspectives. How does critique change society? What are the conditions for critique to emerge? These questions are the core of recent socio-logical debates. This HSR Special Issue seeks to contribute to the sociology of critique by empirically studying the historical, cultural, and institutional conditions of critique and social change. For this purpose, critique is approached in two ways: as an outcome of social change, on the one hand, and as a cause or condition for social change, on the other hand. The contributions include a broad range of empirical case studies that examine the articulation of critique and its consequences from different perspectives. They deal with topical debates on organ donation, the justification of social inequality, neoliberalism, new public management, various protest movements (Occupy Wall Street, the democratic movement in South Korea, the environmental movement in Italy, the commune movement in the United States), the transformation of institutional logics in the field of academic science, the role of public media debates during the banking crisis of 2008 and the influence of intellectuals on the critique of clientelism in Ireland.

Link to the review

Review of Die “Economie des conventions”

Sabine Frerichs (2017)

Economic Sociology – European Electronic Newsletter 19(1), pp. 42-44.

«Rainer Diaz-Bone (2015) : Die “Economie des conventions”: Grundlagen und Entwicklungen der neuen französischen Wirtschaftssoziologie.»

Speaking about “new economic sociolo y,” what first comes to mind is, usually, “American” and not “European” economic sociology (Smelser and Swedberg 2005, 17). This is no coincidence. The label was created in the United States, as a response to what was then understood as “economic imperialism” (Convert and Heilbron 2007, 35): new efforts to explain “the social” by generalizing the rational-choice approach, advancing new institutional economics, or turning to behavioral economics altogether. In countering these tendencies, “new economic sociology” and “socio-economics” represented alternative strategies to bring sociology back in (ibid., 45–46): the “intra-disciplinary strategy” sought to revitalize the anaemic subdiscipline of economic sociology (with the support of the Russel Sage Foundation, albeit ironically under the latter’s “Behavioural Economics” program), whereas the “interdisciplinary strategy” led to the founding of the “Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics” (in mimicry of the already existing “Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics”)…

Link to the review

Download the article

Conflicts in the calculation and use of the price index: the case of France

Florence Jany-Catrice (2017)

Cambridge Journal of Economics, Online first.

Abstract. This article presents a socio-economic analysis of the evolution of construction of inflation in France. Analysis of the various open or more muted controversies that underlie the history of the index throughout the twentieth century and into the first decades of the twenty-first century shows that the various challenges to the index have always been and continue to be linked, albeit to varying extents, to issues around economic distribution and representations of wealth. However, the actors engaged in these controversies and the principles around which they are organised have changed: politics, which brought into play the various social relations between government, statistical agencies and trade unions, has gradually given way to more scientific considerations, which has meant that the more recent controversies have been more technical in nature. And by giving experts a greater role to play, these controversies have also tended to play out at an even greater distance from the traditional actors. It is also shown that these controversies are embedded in a real world which, because of its increasing complexity and singularity and its (justifiable) concern with quality, is not fully captured by the available tools, despite their sophistication.

Link to the review

Durées courtes, journées longues. Fragmentation du temps de travail et pression sur le salaire

Amandine Barrois & François-Xavier Devetter (2017)

La nouvelle revue du travail 11/2017

Résumé. La diversification des temps de travail rend de plus en plus complexe la mesure des durées et plus floues les frontières entre temps de travail effectifs et temps « libres ». L’objectif de cette contribution est d’essayer de mesurer l’importance et les conséquences de cette confusion dans le cadre de la journée de travail. En effet, il s’agit ici de mettre en relation deux durées spécifiques : la première correspond à l’amplitude de la journée de travail (entre le début de la première période travaillée et la fin de la dernière période travaillée) tandis que la seconde renvoie à une durée journalière moyenne calculée à partir de la durée hebdomadaire et du nombre de jours travaillés. Le rapport entre ces deux valeurs peut alors être considéré comme une mesure de la densité du temps de travail quotidien. L’analyse de cet indicateur fait apparaître que certaines professions sont particulièrement concernées. Le recours à des temps de travail fragmentés se répercute alors sur les rémunérations mensuelles et peut s’apparenter parfois à des mécanismes de contournement du SMIC. Il interroge à la fois la signification sociale de ces mécanismes de gestion de la main d’œuvre et les façons dont le temps de travail est décompté.

Abstract. Working time diversification has made it harder to measure total working hours while blurring the boundaries between actual and “free” working time. The present text seeks to assess the magnitude and consequences of this confusion within a working day framework by comparing two specific working time measurements : one corresponding to the magnitude of the working day (the time elapsing between the start of the first working period and the end of the final one) ; and a second referring to average daily working hours calculated using weekly totals and the number of days actually worked. The relationship between these two quanta might then be deemed to measure the density of daily working time. Analysis of this indicator reveals that certain professions are affected more than others. The fragmentation of working hours impacts monthly compensation and is sometimes a kind of trickery used to get around paying minimum wage. Hence the questions raised here about the social significance of these workforce management mechanisms and the different ways that working hours are counted.

Lien vers l’article en ligne / Link to the online article

Discourses, Conventions, and Critique – Perspectives of the Institutionalist Approach of the Economics of Convention

Rainer Diaz-Bone (2017)

Historical Social Research 42(3), pp. 79-96

Abstract. The institutionalist approach of economics of conventions (EC) was developed in France in the last decades and recombines pragmatist and structuralist concepts. In EC, conventions are not regarded as institutions, but are conceived as interpretative frames how to interpret the meaning of institutions and situations, and how to handle institutions in situations of coordination. The difference between institutions and conventions offers space for “critical movements” and can implement a tension as well as an infrastructure for critique. The article introduces main concepts of EC, which could be applied to the analysis of social critique. In fact, the pragmatist analysis of critical moments and practices of justification was one of the birth moments of EC and EC has developed strategies to analyze and explain social change. The article presents some newer reflections of EC on power and dispositive. Furthermore, the article relates the Foucaultian notions of discourse and power to EC’s analysis of critique and social change. Finally, a current strand of EC research is discussed, which is the study and critique of neoliberalism and the role of the state.

Link to the review

Link to the full text via Researchgate

Note de lecture de « Collaborer pour insérer ? »

Une  note de lecture de l’ouvrage de Philippe Semenowicz : Collaborer pour insérer ? Les partenariats sociaux dans l’insertion par l’activité économique, Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, coll. « Economie et société », 2017, 232 p.

Aubrie Jouanno, « Philippe Semenowicz, Collaborer pour insérer ? Les partenariats sociaux dans l’insertion par l’activité économique », Lectures [En ligne], Les comptes rendus, 2017. URL :

La réponse de l’auteur : Philippe Semenowicz, « Collaborer pour insérer ? : une réponse de Philippe Semenowicz à Aubrie Jouanno », Lectures [En ligne] Les comptes rendus, 2017.

Et la recension dans Alternatives économiques : ici.


Process-oriented Micro-Macro-Analysis. Methodological Reflections on Elias and Bourdieu

Nina Baur (2017)

Historical Social Research, December

Abstract. Both Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu argue that both the research question and social theory should guide methodology and methods. Both theorists reason that any social theory should keep in mind the importance of macro-level structures; micro-level interactions and social change. In order to fully grasp patterns of social change, social scientists would require a complex causal processed-oriented micro-macro-analysis. Because in research practice, it is almost never possible to implement the full methodology, both Elias and Bourdieu used a short-cut by using a six-step methodology, consisting of (1) self-reflexivity and detachment; (2) explicating the theoretical perspective; (3) a reconstructing of the figuration’s/field’s socio-genesis; (4) a reconstructing of the micro-level; (5) a reconstructing of the macro-level; and (6) a theoretical synopsis. By using an example on local variation of economic practices, the paper illustrates this five-step methodology and concludes with further questions for future research.

Link to the draft via Researchgate

De l’affirmation d’une distribution alimentaire connectée

Samuel Deprez (2016)

Netcom, 30-1/2, p. 81-118

Résumé. Longtemps restée discrète, popularisée depuis quelques années avec le succès des drives d’enseignes, la distribution alimentaire connectée s’affirme désormais dans les parcours d’achats des ménages et modifie leurs « univers d’approvisionnement ». Des supermarchés en ligne à la vente de particuliers à particuliers, elle revêt des formes plurielles selon les acteurs qui les initient et les systèmes de valeurs qui les portent. Toutes singulières, elles illustrent chacune la nature des changements portés par le numérique dans ce secteur et constituent à leur niveau une expression de la « convention Internet ». L’exemple des drives fermiers est ici retenu pour proposer une lecture territorialisée de cet e-commerce alimentaire qui prend place dans le paysage commercial, modifie les pratiques d’achats et le rapport aux circuits traditionnels de la distribution alimentaire.

Abstract. Having long been a low key affair but made popular over the last few years with the success of leading retailers’ click and drive facilities, connected grocery retailing is now firmly established in the shopping habits of households and has modified their “supply world”. From online supermarkets to sales between individuals, it has taken on myriad forms according to the actors initiating the value systems that support them. They are all different and each one illustrates the nature of the changes introduced by digital technology in this sector and at their level represent an expression of the “Internet convention”. The example of farm click and drives is used here to put forward a territory-based reading of food e-commerce taking place in the commercial sphere, modifying purchasing practices and the relationship to traditional channels of grocery retailing.

Article en ligne/ Online article

Recht und institutionelle Regelwerke in der Perspektive der pragmatischen Soziologie der Konventionen

Michael Grüttner (2017)

Soziologische Revue, 40(4), pp. 539-546.

Rezensierte Publikationen / Review of :

Rainer Diaz-Bone, Die „Economie des conventions“. Grundlagen und Entwicklungen der neuen französischen Wirtschaftssoziologie. Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2015, 402 S.

Rainer Diaz-Bone / Claude Didry / Robert Salais (Eds.): Law and Conventions from a Historical Perspective. Historical Social Research Vol. 40 (Special Issue).

Mit der Veröffentlichung von „Die ,Economie des conventions‘. Grundlagen und Entwicklungen der neuen französischen Wirtschaftssoziologie“ kulminiert die langjährige, wegweisende Beschäftigung Rainer Diaz-Bones mit der „Economie des conventions“ (EC) in einem ersten umfangreichen Einführungswerk zu diesem sozialwissenschaftlichen Ansatz. Bevor hier das Buch gemeinsam mit dem Sonderheft (Special Issue) „Law and Conventions from a Historical Perspective” (Diaz-Bone / Didry / Salais) als einen Schwerpunkt auf die besondere Rolle von Recht und Regelwerken in der EC legend vorgestellt wird, soll daher zunächst ein Blick auf diese umfangreiche Rezeptionsarbeit von Rainer Diaz-Bone geworfen werden, die ganz wesentlich zur Verbreitung der EC im deutschsprachigen Raum beiträgt. Trotz ihrer Entstehung bereits im Frankreich der 80er Jahre des letzten Jahrhunderts und obwohl das Hauptwerk von Boltanski und Thévenot (1991) im Original bereits vor über 25 Jahren erschien, wird die EC hierzulande bis zur Jahrtausendwende kaum wahrgenommen. Eine Ausnahme bildet Peter Wagner (1993), dessen einführender Artikel aber lange wenig Resonanz erfährt. Erst mit der deutschen Ausgabe des „Nouvel esprit de capitalisme“ (Boltanski / Chiapello, 2006) kommt die Rezeption dieses Ansatzes hier zu Lande langsam in Gang, wenn auch verkürzt auf die Frage nach seinen Implikationen für die kritische Soziologie und ihre Potentiale für die Formulierung einer Soziologie der Kritik. Rainer Diaz-Bone hat ausgehend von wirtschaftssoziologischen und kultursoziologischen Arbeiten (Diaz-Bone, 2005; 2007; 2010) entscheidend dazu beigetragen, das Potential dieses Ansatzes für das deutschsprachige akademische Publikum in seiner ganzen Breite zu erschließen. Denn auch wenn die EC auf eine mindestens dreißigjährige Beschäftigung mit wirtschafts- sowie rechtswissenschaftlichen Forschungsgegenständen zurückblicken kann, berührt sie doch in ihrer Entwicklungsgeschichte weit darüber hinausgehende Phänomene der sozialen Welt und deren pragmatischen und institutionellen Kern. Deutlich wird dies insbesondere in einer Sammlung aus dem Französischen übersetzter Aufsätze, die Diaz-Bone (2011) mit dem Untertitel „Grundlagen einer pragmatischen Anthropologie“ versah. Dort wird sowohl die Perspektive der EC auf die Wirtschaft deutlich, als auch darüber hinaus ihre allgemeinen, transdisziplinär geprägten Annahmen über menschliche Handlungen sowie ihr eigentümlicher Zugang zu ihren Gegenständen, der vom Problem situativer und situierter Koordination unter Ungewissheit ausgeht. Insbesondere zu dieser Sammlung von Primärliteratur bietet das nun vorliegende Einführungsbuch die perfekte Ergänzung. Die EC – so möchte ich hier argumentieren – kann als elaborierter Ansatz innerhalb eines sozialökonomischen Paradigmas angesehen werden, welches – transdisziplinär ausgerichtet und auf gesellschaftliche Praxis bezogen – die Grenzen zwischen Soziologie, Wirtschafts-, Rechts- und Politikwissenschaft bewusst ignoriert (Hedtke, 2014; Heise / Deumelandt, 2015; ähnlich bereits Oppolzer, 1990). Ihre Beschäftigung mit Recht und Regelwerken im wirtschaftlichen Kontext kann hierfür als beispielhaft gelten.

Link to the review