Quelques communications conventionnalistes au congrès de l’Afep à Rennes

Du 5 au 7 juillet 2017 s’est tenu le 7e congrès de l’Association française d’économie politique à l’université de Rennes 2. Deux cents personnes ont participé à ce très beau congrès. Nous listons ici, de manière non exhaustive, quelques communications mobilisant une approche par les conventions.

Une analyse conventionnaliste de la pauvreté énergétique à partir de l’action publique sénégalaise dans l’énergie communication de Pierre Robert (Clersé, Centre Lillois d’Etudes et de Recherches Sociologiques et Économiques). L’objet de cette communication est de dépasser les écueils des mesures standard de la pauvreté énergétique, fondées sur une vision universaliste des besoins en énergie. Le cadre d’analyse mobilise l’Économie des Conventions afin de montrer que ces besoins sont situés et se formalisent dans une convention de service énergétique. Pierre Robert étudie cette convention à partir de l’action publique dans le secteur énergétique au Sénégal, en admettant que cette action se déploie en construisant une image des besoins, qu’elle tente ensuite de satisfaire. Il mobilise pour cela des archives, la littérature grise et des entretiens auprès d’acteurs du secteur. L’analyse permet d’interroger la manière dont la société sénégalaise formule politiquement ses besoins en énergie. Lors de ce processus, les populations rurales sont laissées de côté, ce qui conduit à une représentation de besoins limités dans la convention de service énergétique.

Compter sans connaître. La construction des statistiques pénitentiaires françaises. Communication d’Anaïs Henneguelle (IDHE, Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l’Économie et de la Société). La communication porte sur à la production ordinaire du chiffre dans le milieu carcéral. L’administration pénitentiaire publie régulièrement des statistiques concernant les personnes incarcérées. Comment ces données sont-elles construites quotidiennement au sein des établissements ? Pour répondre à cette question, Anaïs Henneguelle s’appuie sur des observations ethnographiques menées dans deux établissements de la région parisienne. L’article montre qu’il existe une différence importante entre les informations juridiques, au cœur de la gestion des prisons et donc très surveillées, et les informations sociodémographiques, laissées de côté au cours du processus de codage.

Conventions de valorisation des brevets et intermédiaires du droit communication de Christian Bessy (IDHE, Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l’Économie et de la Société). Le système de brevet n’a jamais autant eu le vent en poupe et, en même temps, on assiste à une critique assez acerbe de ce système avec la remise en cause du modèle dit « propriétaire » et le retour aux « communs ». Dans cette contribution, Christian Bessy montre que cette hypervalorisation du brevet que l’on constate au niveau « macro » est liée à la multiplication de ces usages au niveau « micro » : protection et diffusion des innovations, pouvoir de marché et valorisation du patrimoine technologique, instrument de signalement et de négociation, outil d’évaluation et de capitalisation. Ces usages viendraient d’une certaine façon s’empiler depuis la genèse du système à la fin du XVIIIème siècle, sans annuler les usages antérieurs. L’idée centrale défendue est que l’institution du brevet repose à chaque époque sur différentes conventions de valorisation du brevet, même si on peut associer à chaque configuration une convention dominante qui contient les autres en germe.

La manipulation du Libor, une convention entre acteurs financiers de Guillaume Dupéret (Cerna, Mines ParisTech). Taux de référence pour de nombreux produits financiers, le Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) est depuis 2008 au centre d’un scandale de grande ampleur du fait de la manipulation dont il a fait l’objet. La communication vise à analyser cette manipulation à l’aide d’une approche conventionnaliste. Guillaume Dupéret définit d’abord la convention à la manière de Sugden (1986) : une régularité de comportement au sein d’une population telle que tous les membres de la population se conforment à la norme conventionnelle même si une autre convention aurait pu prévaloir. L’analyse conventionnaliste apporte une meilleure compréhension des dynamiques de groupe qui peuvent exister sur les marchés financiers, à partir des phénomènes réputationnels induits par une situation d’interactions répétées. À partir de la grammaire des cités de Boltanski et Thévenot (1991), l’analyse montre inversement les conditions du désengagement relationnel des traders dès lors que la convention est délégitimée par l’intérêt public des médias et de la justice.

Do really markets come from quality conventions? Dynamique et recomposition du « marché » (de proximité) des fruits et légumes à Montpellier communication de Sarah Millet Amrani (INRA, Institut national de la recherche agronomique). L’essor récent des circuits courts alimentaires traduit l’émergence d’un « marché de la proximité » pour lequel l’évaluation de la qualité porte moins sur les caractéristiques du produit que sur la transaction en elle-même. Pour décrire la structuration de ce marché, Sarah Millet Amrani (en collaboration avec Yuna Chiffoleau et Jean-Marc Touzard) propose une analyse du réseau de la distribution des fruits et légumes en circuits courts sur Montpellier, réalisé à partir d’enquêtes producteurs. En s’appuyant sur la théorie des marchés d’Harrison White (1981, 2002), -et son interprétation en termes conventionnalistes par Favereau et al. (2002), – la communication : (i) révèle un marché structuré en niches, mais au sein desquels les conventions de qualité ne sont pas encore stabilisées, (ii) souligne le rôle des intermédiaires dans la structuration des marchés et la construction d’accords autour de la qualité.

La fabrique des statistiques pénitentiaires

Anaïs Henneguelle (2017)

In: Crimicorpus. Revue hypermédia Histoire de la justice, des crimes et des peines.

Résumé. Cet article entend témoigner d’une expérience de recherche originale où l’ethnographie est venue compléter un travail économétrique. À la suite de la publication de résultats fondés sur des statistiques pénitentiaires, je cherche à comprendre comment celles-ci sont construites au quotidien dans les prisons. Pour cela, je m’appuie sur des observations ethnographiques menées dans deux maisons d’arrêt de la région parisienne, où je peux assister à la saisie de données par les greffiers pénitentiaires et étudier la fabrication ordinaire du chiffre. Cet article montre qu’il existe une importante dissonance cognitive entre les agents, qui n’évoquent jamais l’enjeu statistique de leurs activités et n’y sont pas formés, et les membres de la Direction de l’administration pénitentiaire, qui s’appuient sur ces sources pour assoir leurs connaissances des personnes incarcérées. En particulier, les variables sociodémographiques sont marginalisées dans le processus de construction des statistiques pénitentiaires, et leur utilisation par l’économètre est sujette à caution.

The peculiar connection between common good and self-interest

Valeska Cappel (University of Lucerne)

The question about the relationship between the common good and self-interest was the frame of plenary sessions, panel discussions and keynote-speeches at this year’s Congress of the Swiss Sociological Association (SSA), June 21 – 23th 2017 at the University of Zurich.

Relating to this topic Rainer Diaz-Bone (University of Lucerne) and Luca Pattaroni (EPFL Lausanne) organized the plenary session “Experience, conventions and the common good”.

It was a great opportunity to give space and attention to different conventionalist researches in various fields of social science relating to the topic of common good and self-interest. Regula Leemann (School for education Basel) and Jean-Michel Bonvin (University of Geneva) talked about convention theory in the field of education and social welfare, before special guest Laurent Thévenot (EHESS Paris) shared his thoughts about convention theory (CT) in the urban studies.

The aim of Regula Leemann’s presentation was to show the explanatory power of the theoretical framework of the convention theory in the research field of education. First, she referred on post-compulsory education in Switzerland. Her concern was to show how different orders of worth in the public sphere (“compound communities”) are constitutive for supplying the post-compulsory education as a common good.

Secondly, she talked about the different modes of coordination of individuals with their environment (“compound personalities”). She investigated how individual academics in Europe coordinate themselves with their professional academic and private environment. By focusing on a situation, constructing the EU as a political project of establishing a common market with the fundamental treatments of free movement of people and capital, she pointed out how a dispositive of transnational academic mobility is shaping the individual coordination between professional status and the private conduct of life.

Referring to the main topic of the congress, Jean-Michel Bonvin highlighted in his speech the theoretical challenges to bring social welfare into social actions. Relating to the capability approach (CA), he depicts the need to understand that social politics is not just a technical matter that can be defined and implemented. He claimed that there are different normativities and rationalities depending on the level of interaction (parliamentary areas, street-level bureaucrats, beneficiaries), which have to be considered. In combining the CA and the convention theory (CT) he proposes a solution for this problem: The concepts of CT, like the “economies of worth” (Thévenot) or “pragmatic regimes of engagements”, allow to understand the situation and what matters in social action. The additional benefit of consulting the CT could be to understand, why sometimes the implemented social welfare, constructed from a specific point of view, in particular situations is not receiving.

The highlight of the session was the input of the cofounder of the convention theory, Laurent Thévenot. Besides his inspiring comments on the other lectures he presented his thoughts on newer developments in the convention theory and the recent pragmatic turn of urban studies.

In particular, he focused on three main issues: First he pleaded to abandon the comparison of a public and private sphere in urban environments and focus instead on the various ways how city dwellers engage with their environment. Building commonality in the end is a result of “orders of worth backed by conceptions of the common good and the “realism” of individual interest” (Thévenot).

Secondly, in considering this point, he developed the idea of an extended view on constructions of commonality in the plural. By doing that, he identified three grammars of communality in the plural:  1) the grammar of plural orders of worth, 2) the grammar of interested individuals choosing among options in a liberal public, 3) the grammar of personal affinities to multiple common-places.

Thirdly, he spoke about his transcultural comparative research in urban studies (Europe, Russia, America), where he discovered, that the grammar of personal affinities to multiple common-places is characterized by familiar, personal and local engagement but simultaneous instrumental by authoritarian populism.

Altogether, the session was a short but impressive proof to see how convention theory is growing forward in different fields of social science and develops its explanatory power. Of course, there remain some mutual reception issues based on language barriers – but what, if not at an inspiring congress like this one, would be a decent step to overcome these problems?

The potential of the « Économie des conventions » for socio-scientific educational research

Session at the SSRE 2017 conference in Fribourg

These days, from 26-28 of June 2017, at the University of Fribourg the annual congress of the Swiss Society for Research in Education took place. Numerous workshops and symposia dealt with educational aspects like early childhood education, competence measurement in schools, school-to-work transitions, education policy and professional identities of teachers. The overall topic was the aspect of time and learning. The congress attracted 400 researchers and practitioners from the German-speaking, French-speaking and Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, as well as some international researchers.

One of the workshops was dedicated to the potential of the „Économie des conventions“ and the phenomenon of Education. In this meeting, chaired by Prof. Philipp Gonon (University of Zurich) three presentations were held and discussed. One by Dr. Hauke Straehler-Pohl (Freie Universität Berlin), another by Prof. Regula Leemann (FHNW School of Education) and a third one by Prof. Esther Berner (Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg).

Hauke highlighted the situation in a Berlin social focus area, where teachers are in a dilemma, between furthering immigrant children (coming mainly from Middle East Countries) and selecting them for further advancement in the educational system or bringing them closer to the world of work. These educational aims can be conflicting and the EC approach is very helpful to identify conflicts and consensus possibilities. Out of the axiom of common mankind, diversity and accountability to values, as it was developed in Boltanski/Thévenot (1999), there is a ground for legitimation and critique. The situational aspect of referring to different possible conventions is decisive for pedagogical orders, which can be stipulated or criticised. Analysing one interview (out of several ones which are the basis of his post-doc thesis) with a female teacher in Wedding-Berlin, Hauke referred to project-based, industrial and household-based conventions, which highlighted this back-and-forth approach between supporting and oppressing youngsters in their learning attitudes.

Regula was asking herself and the audience why in Switzerland, in contrast to Norway, training circles – networks of apprenticeship-providers who are organizing the apprenticeship in different training companies and who are in charge of the wages for apprentices – are such a minor model in the Swiss Vocational Education and Training system, although the law is encouraging such formats. With the EC-approach she states only a small reachability of such a format of training provision, due to the dominant orientation towards the market convention of small firms. Since the times of economic crisis in the 1990s, when the claim for the civic convention in order to surrender market failures (and a lack of apprenticeship opportunities) prevailed, the topical situation has changed and the conventions of the market and of networks have pushed aside the industrial and civic conventions.

Esther used the EC-approach for a historical account of written apprenticeship contracts that have replaced oral contracts in the period from 1874-1930 in Switzerland. Her theoretical framing was also a critique of functional and system-theoretical approaches. The concept of an apprentice is in her view the result of negotiations: is she or he more a learner, or a person, who has to be protected as minor (not an adult person), or is she or he a worker. In Swiss history this question was debated around the legislation of industry, trade and civic regulation, which was also based on quality claims, referring to the respective conventions. The result of this long-standing debate was really a far-reaching compromise, which defined an apprentice as a person, who has to be protected in his or her learning aspirations and thus needs a written contract.

All these shortly presented arguments were developed further in the discussion, which found a resonance in the audience who partly was first time confronted and challenged with the EC-approach.

The workshop activists warming up with a Fondue Fribourgeoise on the eve of the conference

Forthcoming workshop “Governing by numbers: Key indicators and the politics of expectations”

Workshop, October 5 – 7, 2017, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

Organizers: Walter Bartl, Audrey Terracher-Lipinski

Advisory committee: Petra Dobner, Oliver Holtemöller, Christian Papilloud, Richard Rottenburg, Reinhold Sackmann, Konstanze Senge

Politics in the 20th century created a whole array of indicators, such as gross domestic product (GDP) or unemployment indicators, that became crucial for the structuration of entire policy fields. Politics in the 21st century, inspired by the new public management discourse, complemented this trend by developing not only more indicators but also by inventing new forms of regulation and new ways of modelling political expectations about the future. In the sociology of quantification, the relevance of numbers in democratic politics and democratic representation was among the earliest issues addressed. A basic assumption in this line of reasoning is that there is an inherently political dimension to what seems to be methodological or technocratic issues in the quantification process. While research has become more diversified, there is also growing need for systematizing theoretical approaches and empirical findings as well as pursuing a strategic approach in defining desiderata for further research so as to build a more coherent stock of knowledge about the politics of quantification.

The planned workshop seeks to advance this endeavor by focusing especially on institutionalization processes of key indicators and particularly on the relevance of key indicators to a ‘politics of expectations’.

Governing by indicators: In a globalizing world of ever more complex social relations, there is a rising demand for accessible and comparable knowledge. Since numbers are said to possess many features that cater to this demand, quantification has been observed as a pervasive feature of contemporary society. Indicators are a special form of quantification in that they emphasize the intentional use of numbers and scripted (political) action. Indicators can be qualified, first, as numbers that use a limited set of measurable parameters to make phenomena visible that cannot be observed directly. Hence, otherwise latent phenomena become manifest by operationalizing them using certain indicators. For example, the American census created racial categories that consequently came to represent heterogeneous populations as homogeneous groups of society. Second, since indicators simplify complex phenomena, their interpretation depends on concepts that ensure their communicability. Concepts aid interpretation by relating the phenomena of interest to the chosen measure. However, these concepts (implicitly) contain causal attributions and, hence, suggest scripts for (political) action.

Key indicators and politics: The power of indicators to structure entire policy fields is very much debated. On the one hand, there is evidence that particular key indicators are so widely used in society that they have become crucial to the regulation of social life ― such as GDP with respect to economic policy. Among the evidence supporting this view is that the effects of some key indicators have a visible impact on policy fields ― a case in point are performance indicators and their impact on education policy. Other indicators operate largely hidden from public scrutiny. On the other hand, very often the power of indicators is also questioned ― as in the case of environmental indicators in politics. However, the processes by which indicators become institutionalized as key elements of collective efforts to achieve larger social goals are still poorly understood. The same can be said about conflicts over alternative indicators. With regard to the potential power of indicators, the contributions will address institutionalization processes of key indicators and conflicts that arise from divergent practices of using indicators in politics. Can indicators mediate conflicts between different actors?

The politics of expectations: The future is essentially uncertain. Yet political actors have to build expectations about the future in order to make plans and collectively binding decisions. Expectations are fictional in the sense that those who rely on them treat them as if they were certain to become reality. This creates an incentive for actors to try to influence the expectations of others by creating credible accounts of future states of the world. How are expectations about the future symbolized and narrated in politics? How do indicators operate as instruments of imagination? Do indicators measure past developments, implicitly assuming that these developments will continue in the future, or do they project future developments, explicitly aiming to account for the contingency of the future? Recently, there seems to be an increasing relevance of prospective indicators such as in inflation targeting when central banks communicate expected inflation rates or when policy targets are formulated as quantitative indicators such as in the European Union’s Open Method of Coordination or in the global governance of development.

Confirmed speakers include Laurent Thévenot, Kenneth Prewitt, Christina Boswell, Rainer Díaz-Bone, Philipp Lepenies and others.

Deadline: Registration is possible until 1st 

Information & Registration

Surveys as a social process: A workshop dedicated to the roots of the Economics of conventions

Caroline Näther & Raphael Vogel (University of Lucerne, Switzerland)

From 01.06 to 02.06 we co-organized a Workshop about surveys as a social process hosted by the Technical University of Berlin. The fundamental idea of this workshop was to refine the understanding of surveys first, as a product of a wide distributed process and second, as an entity that enacts itself social processes. It is a continuation of a discussion group organized by us at the Congress of sociology held in Bamberg in September 2017. The workshop was organized by the two initiates as well as Prof. Nina Baur (Technische Universität Berlin), Dr. Andreas Schmitz and Alice Barth (both University of Bonn). The workshop was addressed to three different group of survey-interested, such as survey-methodologists, survey-users, but also researchers that examines the survey-process itself. The goal was to critically analyze surveys as a social process from different angles. Therefore it was a well ambitioned project, whose success was ambivalent. On the one hand, the workshop enabled different researchers affiliated to survey-research to come together and share their perspectives. In times of more and more specialized sciences, this alone is a noteworthy accomplishment. Additionally, it was an ideal opportunity for us two doctoral students to present our research to a public outside the well-established network of researchers in the field of economics of convention (EC) in the German speaking countries. It was therefore a test to check if our EC-informed perspectives on surveys make sense to a broader, survey-interested public. All in all, different participants of the workshop mentioned the friendly and constructive atmosphere. This was enhanced by the different workshop lunches and dinners. On the other hand it was maybe exactly this atmosphere, which didn’t lead to intensive discussions about the difference and conflicts of the different perspectives on the survey-process. In the aftermath of the workshop, it would have been a good idea to focus on several stations of the survey-process and then determine and discuss the different perspectives on it. But probably this is a task for a following workshop, as it is clear that the different participants of the workshop needed first to have an insight into the perspectives of the other participants. A well-defined agenda setting for the workshop without this prerequisite is probably difficult.

All in all, the workshop was a nice opportunity for us to have a broad insight into different perspectives and disciplines in survey-methodology and to get comments and feedback to our own work about coordination in survey-projects. Additionally, the workshop showed that the perspective of EC is more and more outgrowing in the German speaking countries from a sole perspective in the economic-sociology to a broad paradigm in sociological research.

In this place, a big thank you to the other organizers, especially Nina Baur, who organized the place for this workshop. It would not have been possible, to connect a broad mix of survey-researchers without her. Last but not least, a big thank you also to the staff of Nina Baur, who looked for the well-being of the survey-participants.

Some of the participants of the workshop enjoying discussions and superb Spanish Tapas at the Restaurant Mar y Sol in Berlin.

Understanding discrimination in hiring apprentices: how training companies use ethnicity to avoid organisational trouble

Christian Imdorf (2017)

Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 69(3), 405-423. 

Abstract. Children of immigrants from non-EU countries face particular problems to access apprenticeship training in German-speaking countries. In this context this article asks how recruiters in small and medium sized companies (SME) make sense of national and ethnic origin when hiring new apprentices. The author proposes Boltanski and Thévenot’s theory of justification in order to conceptualise ethnic discrimination in hiring. Accordingly, the social body of a company consists of multiple interweaved (industrial, domestic, market) ‘worlds’ of social coordination and justification. In order to avoid organisational trouble and to guarantee the further existence of the company, these worlds claim different principle of personnel assessment, some of them penalising applicants of specific ethnic origin. Empirically, the article refers to apprentice recruitment in Switzerland and Germany. It illustrates that employers in SME expect trouble in the domestic and in the market world of the company when hiring school leavers they perceive as foreigners. Hence, discriminatory categories such as ethnicity are used as symbolic and organisational resources for trouble avoidance in hiring apprentices.

Link to the article

Collaborer pour insérer ? Les partenariats sociaux dans l’insertion par l’activité économique

 Philippe Semenowicz​ (2017)

Cet ouvrage analyse le fonctionnement de trois structures d’insertion par l’activité économique : un groupe d’insertion de statut associatif, une entreprise de travail temporaire d’insertion et un groupement d’employeurs pour l’insertion et la qualification. Il se dégage trois « conventions d’insertion », qui sont autant de compromis. L’insertion apparaît au final comme une notion ouverte à plusieurs acceptions. Leur portée dépend de la capacité des entreprises sociales à établir des compromis exigeants avec les entreprises classiques.

Philippe Semenowicz est enseignant à l’université Paris-Est Créteil et chercheur associé au laboratoire ERUDITE.

 

Introduction et table des matières disponibles en ligne

Appel à articles/Call for papers “Pluralist Thinking in Economic and Socioeconomic Education” JSSE

The Journal of Social Science Education will publish a special issue in September 2018 on the theme of “Pluralist Thinking in Economic and Socioeconomic Education”. The issue will edited by Reinhold Hedtke, Bielefeld University, Germany.

http://www.jsse.org/index.php/jsse/announcement/view/23

For more than ten years, pluralism in economics and in the education of economists has been a hot issue. Contemporary criticism of conventional economics education has started around the turn of the millennium with student initiatives for pluralist economics like the post-autistic economics movement – with a stronghold in France (autisme-économie) – and gained momentum after the financial crisis of 2007/2008. Students turned against the perceived one-sidedness of syllabi, textbooks and exams of their universities and against economists and economics’ lack of contact with reality. In consequence, economic plurality and pluralism in economic(s) education was put onto the public agenda, initiated controversies and triggered changes in policies of higher education.
Recent student movements, however, are not the first and only stage for the debate on pluralism in economics and economic plurality. On the contrary, methodological, paradigmatic and theoretical pluralism in economic research has triggered a controversial scholarly debate. It involves key questions of teaching economics and business studies in the right way, at universities as well as at schools. Moreover, since citizens and voters, pupils and students are confronted with contentious issues concerning economic policies and their pluralist scientific rationales.
However, we do not know much about the impact of these debates on curricula, schools, textbooks, classroom practices and teacher training. Undergraduates, in principle, may be fortunate to find a more pluralist place for studying – as far as there are heterodox professors left – and overcome economics’ orthodoxy by changing the university or, at least, the department. Others may join ongoing protest movements for pluralist economics or educate themselves via pluralist platforms and webs of knowledge. In contrast, pupils and students of secondary and vocational schools as well as trainee teachers normally do not have these options. As a rule, they have to come to terms with the established curricula, content, textbooks and exams.
Against this backdrop, the thematic issue of the JSSE addresses phenomena, findings, problems and educational approaches of economic plurality and pluralism in economic research at different levels and in different contexts of the educational system. The issue will focus on teaching and learning in schools, on teacher education at universities and teacher training colleges and on social representations of economic plurality held by young people.
The thematic issue calls for deeper analyses of the underlying justifications and assumptions, guiding educational conventions and ideologies, corresponding policies, practices and vested interests. It welcomes papers of different formats, such as theoretical and conceptual or empirical papers, policy and curriculum analyses, comparative analyses, process tracing and discourse analyses as well as actor-centred empirical school and classroom research. We also look for qualitative research like ethnography of classroom practice, case studies of pluralist lessons or studies of pluralist teaching cultures.

 We are reluctant to impose a rigid framework but we would be especially interested in knowing how authors respond to one or more of the following questions:

  •      What are the epistemological, philosophical, psychological or sociological foundations of pluralist thinking about economy, economic life and economic policies and how do they relate to economic and socioeconomic education and to social science education?
  •     What are key empirical findings of pluralist teaching and learning in economic and socioeconomic education at schools, universities and teacher training colleges?
  •     How do students cope with the challenge of pluralist economic thinking in the classroom? What impact does pluralist education have?
  •     What do we know about plural economic thinking of young people and plurality in their representations of the economy? How do they cope with plurality and diversity in their every-day life? What are the approaches to mundane economic plurality socio/economic education should prefer?
  •     The social sciences provide an abundant diversity of approaches to the economy and of economic ideas, but learning time is limited. Which approaches and ideas should be selected for secondary or higher education and why?
  •     How can teachers and teacher educators realise pluralist teaching and learning in every-day teaching?
  •     What are the main normative contexts and patterns of legitimisation for economic pluralism or monism of teaching and learning?
  •     What is the relationship of pronounced pluralism in the economic/socioeconomic curriculum and in teacher education to vested interests and socio/economic policies? How is teaching about scientific controversies in schools and universities related to public dispute on the economy and economic policy?

The issue will contain:

  •     An editorial in which key themes are highlighted and articles are briefly summarised;
  •     4-6 articles of between 6-9000 words;
  •     2-4 book reviews (each approximately 4-800 words long) on issues of pluralist economic teaching and learning in schools.

The focus of the special issue will be socio/economic education and subject-matter research related to the social science domain and its core disciplines economics, economic sociology and business studies. The editors will also welcome theoretical and empirical material that allows for consideration of issues using insights from a range of other academic disciplines and areas (e.g. économie des conventions/sociology of conventions, sociology of education, sociology of knowledge; economic psychology; economic anthropology etc.).

The following schedule will be used:

  • First submission by authors to editors: 20 December 2017
  • Response to authors by editors: 30 January 2018
  • Final submission from authors: 15 May 2018
  • Final reviewing and papers ready for layout: 31 July 2018
  • Publication: 15 September 2018

Capital and Carbon: The Shifting Common Good Justification of Energy Regimes

Thomas D. Beamish & Nicole Woolsey Biggart (2017)

In Charlotte Cloutier, Jean-Pascal Gond & Bernard Leca (ed.), Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 52) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.173 – 205.

Abstract. This article traces the regimes of worth that defined energy for centuries as a productive force of human and animal labor, an understanding that transformed in the 18th century to an “industrial-energy” regime of worth supporting an economy of mass production, consumption, and profit and more recently one centered on market forces and price. Industrial and market energy and the conventions and institutions that support them are currently in a period of discursive and material ferment; they are being challenged by different higher order principles of worth. We discuss eight emergent energy justifications that argue what kind of energy is – and is not – in the best interests of society.

Link

Accounting Values, Controversies, and Compromises in Tests of Worth

Marcia Annisette, Gillian Vesty & Thierry Amslem (2017)

In Charlotte Cloutier, Jean-Pascal Gond & Bernard Leca (ed.), Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 52) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.209 – 239.

Abstract. This article will consider the various ways in which accounting can be conceptualized within Boltanski and Thévenot’s economies of worth theoretic. Drawing on two case illustrations, a not-for-profit welfare agency and a government-owned water utility, we follow the unfolding of disputes and the variety of outcomes in which accounting is implicated. We illustrate the role of accounting in justificatory actions and the ways in which it “holds things together” in compromise arrangements. We also illustrate the situations which challenge the “test” of worth and the innovative accounting responses that either facilitate coordination and agreement or become controversial and be the object of organizational and institutional dispute.

Link

 

Why coffee and not honey – untangling the limits and opportunities for certifying the ‘moral quality’ of products, by Jan-Christoph Janssen

PhD thesis defended the 29th may 2017, under the supervision of Sigfrid Quack and Christine Trampusch, Universität zu Köln

Why did Fair Trade take momentum in some industries within certain national contexts and not in others? In this thesis, I apply the arguments of H. C. White, Tilly, Fligstein and McAdam in order to understand the success and failure of applying similar standards to various product markets through one certificate. Four national settings and seven product categories are compared – coffee, cocoa, bananas, sugar, rice, wine, and honey in Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the USA are chosen and analyzed between the years 2002 and 2011. The effects of the discourse and structural preconditions (i.e. oligopolies) are analyzed in concert through the application of fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). I investigate the role of firms and social movements in the process of change. Two equifinal paths to change in markets are theorized and analyzed. One of those paths is driven by institutional entrepreneurship, the other by social movements. The findings of the fsQCA back the perspective of social movements and institutional entrepreneurship as substitutive drivers of change in markets and the two paths. Less successful attempts to penetrate markets though certification lack the discourse and the focus of single firms or entrepreneurs within the discourse. In addition, the evidence pinpoints to changing processes over time and the need to move beyond static analyses. This study contributes to the current state of the art by offering a comparative perspective on the effect of social movements and institutional entrepreneurship on mature markets. In this vein, fsQCA is applied deductively and the concepts and paths are disentangled in a compelling manner. INUS conditions are theorized as constitutive parts of paths to change. Finally, this study compares the opportunities and fallacies of penetrating markets through certification in general – and Fair Trade certification in particular.

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The Concept of Development Conventions: Some Suggestions for a Research Agenda

David Dequech (2017)

Journal of Economic Issues, 51:2, p. 285-296.

Abstract. Development conventions are broadly defined as socially shared systems of rules of thought or behavior (institutions) regarding development, with the properties of conformity with conformity and arbitrariness. Conformity with conformity means that the fact that others have adopted a convention, or are expected to adopt it, plays a role in leading someone else to adopt it. Arbitrariness means that a non-inferior alternative exists or is conceivable. This article identifies several social mechanisms through which the conformity of others leads one to conform. It also relates arbitrariness to the possibility of assessing development from various viewpoints, to the inconclusiveness of evidence, and to uncertainty about future consequences.

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Meat your enemy. Animal rights, alignment, and radical change

Glen Whelan & Jean-Pascal Gond (2017)

Journal of Management Inquiry, 26(2), pp. 123–138.

Abstract. Radical change can be conceived in terms of the reconceiving of ontological distinctions, such as those separating humans from animals. In building on insights from French pragmatism, we suggest that, while no doubt very difficult, radical change can potentially be achieved by creating “alignment” between multiple “economies of worth” or “common worlds” (e.g., the market world of money, the industrial world of efficiency). Using recent campaigns by animal rights organizations as our case, we show how the design of “tests” (e.g., tests of profitability, tests of efficiency) can help align multiple common worlds in support for radical change. Our analysis contributes to the broader management and organization studies literatures by conceiving radical change in terms of changing ontological categorizations (e.g., human/animals vs. sentient/ non-sentient), and by proposing that radical social change agents can be helpfully conceived as opportunistically using events to cumulatively justify the change they desire overtime.

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Marketing and compromising for sustainability. Competing orders of worth in the North Atlantic

John H. Finch, Susi Geiger & Rachel Joy Harkness (2017)

Marketing Theory, 17(1), pp. 71-93.

Abstract. The purpose of our article is to propose that compromising is a constitutive characteristic of those marketing systems that entail matters of public interest or concern. In such markets, actors design compromises as they encounter criticisms of and contending justifications for the market’s products, as these refer to price, efficiency in production and use, regulatory compliance or ecological sustainability. Tests and justifications are vital in order to determine what is valuable and by which measure. As a theory framework, the economic sociology of conventions provides a basis for assessing these contests, compromises, and justifications over the issue of worth in a marketing context. Through an ethnographic study of the regulated activities of chemicals service companies supporting the upstream petroleum industry, we assess how actors evaluate and justify the market’s products and services in this environmentally sensitive setting by means of tests drawing from different orders of worth: the green, the industrial and the market order. Our contributions show that by artful and pragmatic compromising around exchanges, actors in marketing systems can balance several conflicting orders of worth over the question of worth without needing to converge on an overriding institutional logic.

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