Los órdenes de justificación como marco analítico para el estudio de las prácticas económicas alternativas

José Luis Sánchez-Hernández & Lourdes Moro-Gutiérrez (2019)

Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas, 167, pp. 107-124.

Resumen. Este artículo emplea la teoría de los órdenes de justificación para estudiar las prácticas económicas alternativas que cuestionan el capitalismo. Los datos proceden de un cuestionario aplicado a participantes en 55 experiencias de seis ciudades españolas, y del análisis de once casos en Salamanca mediante entrevistas semiestructuradas, observación directa y seguimiento de sus espacios virtuales. Estas iniciativas alternativas construyen comunidades igualitarias, autogestionadas, autónomas y respetuosas con la naturaleza. Sin embargo, para garantizar su funcionamiento interno y satisfacer las exigencias del entorno normativo, deben introducir métodos industriales y comerciales de índole empresarial que son legitimados a través de compromisos con los argumentos domésticos y ecológicos.

Orders of Worth as an Analytical Framework for Understanding Alternative Economic Practices

Abstract. This article draws upon the theory of orders of worth to study those alternative economic practices that bring into question capitalism. Data from a survey administered to people engaged in 55 alternative experiences located in six Spanish towns are discussed, along with an in-depth analysis of eleven cases from the city of Salamanca, where semi-structured interviews, field observation and the regular monitoring of virtual spaces were used. These alternative initiatives build egalitarian, self-managed and autonomous communities, strongly focused on a respect for nature. However, they are compelled to incorporate market and business practices in order to ensure their internal operation and satisfy the demands from the legal environment. These corporate-like procedures are thus legitimised through compromises with domestic and ecological arguments.

Link to the review

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Survey-Welten. Eine empirische Perspektive auf Qualitätskonventionen und Praxisformen der Umfrageforschung

Survey Worlds.
An empirical perspective on quality conventions and practical forms of survey research

Raphael Vogel (2019)

Wiesbaden: Springer VS
Third book in the series „Soziologie der Konventionen”

Abstract. Die Open-Access-Studie nimmt eine plurale Perspektive auf Survey-Qualität ein und untersucht empirisch unterschiedliche Logiken der Survey-Produktion. Wie aufgezeigt wird, gehen die vier identifizierten Survey-Welten mit unterschiedlichen Koordinationsprozessen und Qualitätskonventionen einher. Survey-Qualität wird dabei auf einer pragmatischen Basis im Hinblick auf unterschiedliche Nutzungskontexte von statistischen Daten konzipiert. Durch die Verknüpfung der Qualitätsthematik mit der praktischen Organisation des Produktionsprozesses von surveybasierten Daten wird eine engere Verbindung zwischen den Arbeiten der normativen Survey-Methodologie und den Herausforderungen der empirischen Survey-Praxis angestrebt. Die Arbeit präsentiert die Pluralität der Praxisformen von Umfragen, sie identifiziert die Vielfalt der Qualitätskriterien und sie leistet eine konzeptionelle Grundlage für reflexives Survey-Management.

Contents ● Perspektiven auf Survey-Qualität ● Die erweiterte Perspektive der Economie des conventions ● Methodologische Grundlegung und methodisches Vorgehen ● Die vier Survey-Welten im Überblick ● Survey-Projekte aus einer survey-weltlichen Perspektive ● Eine vertiefte survey-weltliche Perspektive auf Surveys ● Skizze einer Systematisierung von Relationen zwischen Regimen des Engagements und Rechtfertigungsordnungen

Link to the book (Open Access)

Justification in Protest Publics: The Homeless Workers’ Movement in Brazil’s Crisis

Victor Albert (2019)

In: Belyaeva N., Albert V., Zaytsev D. (eds) Protest Publics. Societies and Political Orders in Transition. Springer, Cham

Abstract. In the late 2000s, a number of analysts were optimistic about Brazil’s future. Their expectant analyses did not bear out, however, as a political and economic crisis developed just as Brazil was gearing up to host two mega-events, the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. This paper has two aims. The first is to deepen our understanding of the crisis through examining one of the foremost social actors to emerge in this period: the Landless Workers’ Movement (Movimento de Trabalhadores Sem-Teto, MTST). The second is to use this case to consider the potential for the sociology of critical capacity—a field of theory that emerged out of the Political and Moral Sociology Research Group in Paris in the 1980s—to contribute to theorising the ‘justification work’ of movements and protest publics.

Keywords: Crisis in Brazil; Pragmatic sociology; Protest publics; Homeless Workers’ Movement

Excerpt: “The research programme initiated by Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot three decades ago has gone by various appellations, but the most promising and relevant for my analysis is the ‘sociology of critical capacity’ (Boltanski and Thévenot 1999).
This attention to ‘critical capacity’ is often contrasted with the tendency in critical theory to downplay the critical ability of agents to make judgements, evaluate alternatives and cooperate with others. The sociology of critical capacity thus sought to theorise the rationalisation of judgements, the means by which agreement is reached between disputants and the moral dimensions of cooperation. In On Justification, the founding text of the approach, Boltanski and Thévenot develop a flexible framework for the analysis of disputes and agreements, by elaborating ‘economies of worth’ (Boltanski and Thévenot 2006). Though often described as ‘ideal types’ (e.g. Jagd 2011), these ‘economies of worth’ are perhaps more productively considered here as moral-cultural repertoires (Silber 2003) or ‘forms of argumentation’ (Ricoeur 2000, p. 83) from which actors may draw in the evaluation of everyday events, actions and relationships. A central premise of the economies of worth approach is that in order to be considered socially legitimate, actors justify actions through drawing on a notion of the good that extends beyond the self, requiring a ‘rise in generality’. Boltanski and Thévenot derive six orders of worth (or ‘polities’) from key texts of political philosophy (2006, p. 67) which specify a plurality of public goods. These include the market polity (whose key theoretician is Adam Smith), the inspired polity (St. Augustine), the polity of renown (Hobbes), the civic polity (Rousseau) and the industrial polity (Saint-Simon). Subsequent research has also expanded these to include the networked order of worth (Boltanski and Chiapello 2005) and a green order of worth, which has accompanied the spread of environmentalism (Thévenot et al. 2000). The sociology of critical capacity is not only concerned with discursive legitimacy, however. Orders of worth have common requirements for inclusion (Thévenot 2011, p. 44) and correspond to different sets of ‘qualified objects’, which are used in the course of evaluation and the pursuit of public legitimacy. Boltanski and Thévenot use the term ‘worlds’ for the combination of the orders of worth and their qualified objects and conventions. The industrial world is composed of factories and manpower (objects), for instance, whose products may be compared according to accepted criteria. There may also be compromises between the orders in any particular evaluation. A product made in a factory, to take one example, may function excellently but be energy inefficient and thus susceptible to criticism according to green evaluative criteria. Further, any evaluation is impermanent, for instance, when the product breaks down, revealing a hitherto unacknowledged flaw in the industrial quality of the machine (e.g. Thévenot 2002, p. 61). There thus may be compromises and uncertainties revealed in the process of evaluation which unfold over time. Publics may allow groups to stake claims in terms of collective goods that correspond to the orders of worth, perhaps most commonly the egalitarianism of the civic order. But the contestations in which they are engaged may only be partially captured by a framework that is, for my purposes, too narrowly focused on ‘the critical practices evident in everyday life’ (Boltanski 2013, p. 47). Boltanski and Thévenot have pursued independent research programmes following the publication of On Justification, however, that extend the scope for theorising the relationship between the private and the public (Warner 2002) in quite different ways. Boltanski’s interest in the situated ideologies and characteristic critiques of capitalism is particularly relevant for the left-wing actor analysed here (Boltanski 2011, 2013; Boltanski and Chiapello 2005; see also Chiapello 2013). This is so because protestors’ claims may be justified through critiques of capitalist relations, the inequalities they generate or the unjust behaviour of elites, rather than in terms of explicitly articulated public goods. Or rather, the public goods which they pursue may only be implicit in their critiques of injustice, particularly as principled demands become embedded in more polarised forms of political contestation. Boltanski and Chiapello identify two principal critiques of capitalism as it has developed since the nineteenth century (2005). The first is a social critique that denounces the material inequalities that are generated through capital accumulation, while the second is an artistic critique that takes aim at the alienation and inauthenticity created through the commoditisation of human labour. Boltanski and Chiapello then historicise the social and historical critiques, arguing that both the artistic and the social critiques lost relevance as capitalism entered a new phase of development after the 1970s.”

(p. 102-103)

Link to the chapter

Link to the first version on Academia.edu

10th Sociology of Conventions Workshop “Conventions@Work”

Katharina Zangerle (University of Innsbruck) & Bianca Schönherr (University of Innsbruck)

University of Innsbruck, Austria 26-27 April 2019.

In the evening of 25 April, a proper dinner constitutes the unofficial start – as it is occasionally the case with fruitful encounters – of the workshop. For the second time, the EC family gathers in Innsbruck, after prior workshops in Basel, Vienna, Lucerne, Hamburg and Reutlingen.

The next day, the host and an expert of this year’s workshop topic, Julia Brandl (University of Innsbruck), introduced into “Conventions@Work”, and warmly welcomed all Economie des conventions (EC) long-time representants, veteran performers and newcomers as well as the keynote speaker Emmanuelle Marchal (Sciences Po, Paris), well known for her intense sociological engagement with labor markets and recruitment practices. Besides her, Guillemette de Larquier (University of Lille) allowed to learn first-hand from central representatives of EC about current developments in labor market research. This year’s general focus indeed was – as the title indicates – on labor markets and personal policy work, for example understanding sources of inequalities in the labor markets by looking at recruiting practices. Also, our dear sponsor French Focus (of the University of Innsbruck) got a word in this opening session. Useful side note for researcher in financial need with a link to France: the French Focus financially supports academic exchange between academics from France and Innsbruck https://www.uibk.ac.at/frankreichschwerpunkt/index.html.de

Variety in regard to disciplines (e.g., Sociologist, Economists, Historians), origin (e.g., France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria), empirical interests (e.g., from migration, health, the digital, social policy, science, farming, to intellectual property regulations and information security…), but connected through the common theoretical perspective, characterized the audience composed of about 35 scientists. Besides, it was the workshops format, which allowed the presenters adequate time (45 minutes) to make clear their arguments and respond to the assigned discussants’ and audiences’ responses of different sorts, that triggered the discussion. The following overview serves to communicate current developments in the community, but makes no account to be complete. If some of the following issues awake your interest and if you want to learn more about it, consider to personally contact the authors (they are all quite friendly). This opportunity should also serve to honor Qamar Ali’s organizational efforts behind the event!

Overview:

On the first morning, discussions were based on four presentations:

  • In the first session, Bernadette Bullinger (IE Business School Madrid) presented her work about mediating employment opportunities for migrants. Together with her co-authors Anna Schneider and Jean-Pascal Gond she thereby encounters the phenomenon of “Placing the Displaced”.
  • Eva Nadai (FHNW Olten, Switzerland) talked in the second session about the encounter of “High Tech, Low Skills” by investigating quality conventions for unskilled workers in an upskilled economy.
  • After the first coffee break, Esther Berner (Helmut-Schmidt-University / University of Federal Armed Forces Hamburg) centers in her work “Between Violence and Love, the Public and the Intimate. The “Citizen in Uniform” in the Perspective of the Sociology of Engagement” from a historical perspective the changing role of military officer.
  • Katharina Zangerle (University of Innsbruck) applies together with the co-authors Konstantin Hondros and Sigrid Quack, the EC to prominent court trials where actors litigate Intellectual Property claims in the music and pharmaceutical industry.

Julia Brandl

  • After lunch in the canteen of the University of Innsbruck, Rainer Diaz-Bone (University of Lucerne), Kenneth Horvath (University of Lucerne), Lisa Knoll (University of Hamburg), Guillemette de Larquier (University ofLille) and Julia Brandl (University of Innsbruck), long standing representants of EC, discussed on the panel “Big Data, Methods, Value Chains – Conventionalists’ Perspectives on Research Practices”.

Guillemette de Larquier, Kenneth Horvath, Lisa Knoll, Rainer Diaz-Bone, Julia Brandl

  • Finally, Emmanuelle Marchal (Sciences Po, Paris) gave her keynote about “Hiring Practices as (De)valorization”. Based on the sociology of markets, she critically encounters recruiting processes and practically asks for example: How can we know what skills are necessary for a job and how to evaluate those skills? What does a recruiter do, when she reads a CV? What game is played at personal meetings between recruiter and job applicant? BTW: The keynote referred to her book Les Embarras des Recruteurs. Enquête sur le Marché du Travail (English: The Recruiters’ Embarrassment. A Labour Market Survey/Deutsch: Die Verlegenheit der Personalvermittler. Eine Arbeitsmarktuntersuchung, Paris, EHESS, 2015, ISBN: 9782713224911).

Emmanuelle Marchal

  • Even though “work” was central in every sense, conventionalists also know when it’s time to celebrate. At the end of the day Christian Imdorf (University of Hannover) and Regula Leemann (FHNW Basel-Muttenz) announced the publication of their upcoming book together with Gonon Philipp on “Bildung und Konventionen” (English: “Education and conventions”) available at Springer Verlag: https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783658233006 in the new book series “Soziologie der Konventionen” (https://www.springer.com/series/15571?detailsPage=titles). Therefore champagne was cheerfully raised, accentuated by honoring words from Rainer Diaz-Bone. Congratulation again!

After an intensive first day, the group enjoyed a dinner in Innsbruck’s old town.

—–

  • The second day began with the presentation of Lisa Knoll (University of Hamburg), where she introduced her current paper with Eve Chiapello on “The Welfare Conventions Approach” illustrated by social impact bonds.
  • Markus Schermer from the University of Innsbruck engages, against the backdrop of changing roles of and expectations towards farming, with conventions in agriculture and food production, thereby showing how farmers (re)organize and qualify their work.
  • Karolin Kappler and Uwe Vormbusch (both from FernUniversität Hagen) presented Orders of Justification in the Field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and framed them as ‘Spaces of Negotiation’ in the Making.
  • Dominik Zellhofer from the Vienna University of Economic and Business presented an excerpt of a dissertation project on information security policies in organizations and focused on building a framework based on the sociology of conventions.

—–

  • After a light lunch, a session and discussion on “Methods and Research Question Spaces” followed with input from Kenneth Horvath (University of Lucerne) and Regula Leemann (FHNW) on “Reality Test” in EC-Its Theoretical AND Empirical Dimensions.
  • Valeska Cappel (University of Lucerne), Karolin Kappler (FernUniversität Hagen) and Sarah Lenz (University of Basel) engage in the last session with an increasingly prominent topic: “EC in the Field of Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence (AI)”, by investigating how the complex, ambiguous and contradictory moral infrastructure of late modern societies is mirrored and eventually transformed by AI.

——

The event was shaped by the active participation of all its attendees. Hence, special thanks to the chairs – Dominik Zellhofer (Friday) and Bernadette Bullinger (Saturday) – as well as the discussants Guillemette de Larquier, Heike Jacobsen, Arjan Kozica and Qamar Ali, Rainer Diaz-Bone, Esther Berner, Nina Pohler and Christian Imdorf who contributed to their colleagues’ scientific development.

Closing words from Julia Brandl and an outlook constituted the formal end of the two-day workshop.

Short reminder: WU Vienna invites to the 11th SoC Meeting (preliminary dates 16-17 April 2020). The central topic will be “Capitalism without Spirit? Conventions in the Age of Digital Transformation”

Doing and mediating critique: An invitation to practice companionship

Jonathan Luke Austin, Rocco Bellanova & Mareile Kaufmann (2019)

Security Dialogue, 50(1), pp. 3-19

Abstract. “What does it mean to study security from a critical perspective? This question continues to haunt critical security studies. Conversations about normative stances, political engagement, and the role of critique are mainstays of the discipline. This article argues that these conversations tend to revolve around a too disembodied image of research, where the everyday practice of researchers is sidelined. But researchers do do research: they work materially, socially, and cognitively. They mediate between various feedback loops or fields of critique. In doing so, they actively build and exercise critique. Recognizing that fact, this article resists growing suggestions to abandon critique by, first, returning to the practice of critique through the notion of companionship. This permits us to reinvigorate our attention to the objects, persons, and phenomena through which critique gains inspiration and purpose, and that literally accompany our relationship to critique. Second, we explore what happens when our companions disagree, when critique faces controversies and (a) symmetries. Here, we support research designs of tracing credibility and establishing symmetries in order to move away from critique as denouncing positions we disagree with. Third, we discuss the relation between companionship, critique, reflexivity, and style. Here, the rhetorical practices of critical inquiry are laid out, and possibilities for its articulation in different and less silencing voices are proposed.”

Keywords: companionship, critique, practice, reflexivity, style, symmetry

Link to the review

Politik aus kultursoziologischer Perspektive

Sebanstian Büttner (2019)

In: Moebius, Stephan/Nungesser, Frithjof/Scherke, Katharina (eds.) Handbuch Kultursoziologie. Band 2: Theorien – Methoden – Felder. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 583-598.

Excerpt. “Ein weiterer wichtiger Beitrag der neueren französischen Theoriediskussion zur gegenwärtigen kultursoziologischen Analyse von politischen Akteuren und Prozessen stammt aus dem Umfeld der sogenannten „Soziologie der Konventionen“ (Diaz-Bone und Thévenot 2010). Die Soziologie der Konventionen interessiert sich in der Tradition der Ethnomethodologie und pragmatistischer Ansätze in der Soziologie vor allem für mikrosoziologische und mikropolitische Prozesse der Artikulation von Kritik und der Aushandlung von sozialer Ordnung in konkreten lokalen Handlungssituationen. Neben der Analyse von ökonomischen Institutionen und konkreten wirtschaftlichen Produktionsarrangements beschäftigt sich die Soziologie der Konventionen auch mit der Analyse von grundlegenden Klassifikationsprinzipien in staatlichen Institutionen (z. B. in Statistikbehörden und Arbeitsämtern), von Praktiken der politischen Regulierung und Beratung und der politischen Praxis von Vereinen, Verbänden und sozialen Bewegungen. Darüber hinaus haben Luc Boltanski und Laurent Thévenot, zwei prominente Vertreter dieses Forschungsansatzes, bereits Anfang der 1990er-Jahre eine soziologische Theorie der Rechtfertigungsordnungen formuliert, die klassische Fragen der politischen Philosophie mit aktuellen gesellschaftstheoretischen Bezügen auf eine neue und fruchtbare Weise verbindet (Boltanski und Thévenot 2007/1991).“ (p. 592-593)

Link to the book

 

Ökonomie als Kultur

Ute Tellmann (2019)

In: Moebius S., Nungesser F., Scherke K. (eds) Handbuch Kultursoziologie. Springer Reference Sozialwissenschaften. Springer VS, Wiesbaden

Excerpt. “Für die heutigen kultursoziologischen Debatten ist vor allem das historische Argument Webers über die kulturelle Genese ökonomischer Rationalität relevant geworden. Insbesondere die französische Konventionen-Schule hat sich diese Einsicht in die kulturellen Wurzeln ökonomischer Rationalität für die Analyse eines „neuen Geist des Kapitalismus“ zunutze gemacht (Boltanski und Chiapello 2006; Diaz-Bone 2011). Anders als Weber gehen sie nicht mehr davon aus, dass der Kapitalismus sich je der Notwendigkeit einer kulturellen Wertschätzung und Rechtfertigung entledigen könnte. Jede Wirtschaftsordnung sei insbesondere auf die Motivation derjenigen, die ihre Arbeitskraft einsetzen, angewiesen. Das Wirtschaftsleben ist dementsprechend auf die Wertigkeiten und Klassifikationssysteme hin beobachtbar, die Anerkennung strukturieren, Leistungsmessungen erlauben und Profite generieren (Diaz-Bone 2011; Stark 2011). In dieser Forschungsrichtung sind eine ganze Reihe von Arbeiten entstanden, die von der Analyse statistischer Kategorien der Arbeitslosigkeit und Qualifikation (Salais 2007) bis hin zu den Bewertungen auf dem Kunstmarkt (Velthuis 2003) oder der Festlegung von Wiedergutmachungszahlung nach Naturkatastrophen reichen (Fourcade 2011). Im Zentrum stehen jeweils die Akte der Wertsetzung, der Prüfung, Rechtfertigung und Messung, die in die formale Kalkulation der ökonomischen Rationalität eingehen (Knoll 2013). Diese Aktualisierungen von Weber scheinen die moderne Trennung von Ökonomie und Kultur auszuhebeln – aber sie tun dies nicht vollständig. Gerade Boltanksi und Chiapello beharren wie Weber in ihrem Werk Der neue Geist des Kapitalismus trotz aller Hybridisierung auch auf einer Gegenüberstellung von Ökonomie und Kultur. Sie unterscheiden zwischen kapitalistischer Ökonomie als formaler Profitlogik auf der einen Seite und Kultur als legitimierendem und motivierendem System von Wertordnungen auf der anderen. Der Kapitalismus selbst verfüge über keinerlei Mittel der Rechtfertigung, weil er von der „Moralsphäre völlig losgelöst“ sei (Boltanski und Chiapello 2006, S. 58). Die Logik des Kapitals wird dabei als dynamisch und entgrenzend verstanden, während Kultur für die qualitative Ausgestaltung und Beschränkung einer per se unlimitierten ökonomischen Logik des Profits sorgt. Boltanski und Chiapello gewinnen aus dieser Gegenüberstellung ihr Verständnis des Zusammenhangs von Kritik, Institutionalisierung und historischem Wandel. Aber die Gegenüberstellung von Ökonomie und Kultur sorgt auch dafür, dass ein ökonomischer Kern vor der kulturtheoretischen Beschreibung bewahrt wird. So gerät aus dem Blick, inwiefern die Entgrenzung, die dem Kapital zugeschrieben wird, eine Eigenschaft ist, die selbst produziert werden muss und nicht als Annahme gesetzt werden kann.“ (p. 563)

Link to the book

 

Processes of domination in the contemporary workplace: Managing disputes in the Swedish healthcare sector

Daniel Nyberg & Christian De Cock (2019)

Sociological Review, 67(3), pp. 689-705.

Abstract. The aim of this article is to explain how forms of consent-driven domination are produced over actors with critical capacity to question the processes of domination to which they are subjected. Drawing on observations of meetings during which actors evaluated employee sick leave, we show how domination is locally achieved in situated interactions by (a) constructing a specific situational reality, (b) transferring responsibilities in accordance with this reality, and (c) positioning the actors within the confirmed bounds of the situation. Domination is produced by exploiting a gap between the reified instituted reality and the lived realities of embodied actors. Doing so enables critiques of the workplace to be absorbed and situational responsibility to be directed towards individual employees. Engaging with French sociologist Luc Boltanski’s recent work, we refer to these processes as ‘complex domination’: the domination appears centre-less and well-intentioned politics result in permanent asymmetrical outcomes – that is, the same people always lose.”

Keywords: Boltanski, discourse, domination, healthcare, sickness absence

Link to the review

Worlds, words, and spaces of resistance: Democracy and social media in consumer co-ops

Marcos Barros & Valérie Michaud (2019)

Organization, first online.

Abstract. This article explores how members of one of the largest Canadian consumer co-ops, reacting to what they saw as an assault on its democratic principles, use social media to try resisting the attempt from the board of directors to change its governance rules. Building on the Economies of Worth and Critical discourse analysis joint framework that considers power relations in the justification context, we unveil two essential moments. Initially, our analysis points to hegemonic justification struggles marked by the board and resisting consumer-members drawing on and reordering multiple worlds to debate the risk of democratic degeneration in consumer co-ops. Second, the critical insights suggest that the hegemonic control over the official deliberative arena pushed dissenting actors toward social media, an alternative space where they could deconstruct the co-ops-controlled discursive arena and create new conditions of possibility. Our article contributes to the literature on democratic degeneration in alternative organizations. More specifically, in the case of large consumer co-ops in which consumer-members have limited embodied presence, our results highlight how social media can offer a new space for debates, dissensus, and critical deconstruction. Our research also extends the post-structural criticism of the domination tendency of rational debate frameworks by showing that strategic displacement to new alternative spaces is essential to create new possibilities beyond those in central discursive arenas.

Keywords: Cooperative, democracy, displacement, justification, resistance, social media

Link to the review

Multipolar governance and social upgrading in the international services value chains: The case of support-service workers in Mumbai

Randhir Kumar & Niels Beerepoot (2019)

Geoforum, first online

Abstract. A prominent theme in research on global value chains/global production networks is whether economic upgrading in global production networks has been accompanied by social upgrading for the workers involved. This paper aims to contribute to this debate by examining social upgrading among the support-service workers indirectly working for premier international ICT-ITES (Information and Communication Technology-Information Technology Enabled Services) firms in Mumbai (India). By using various Decent-Work indicators, this paper empirically assesses the work and employment conditions of the support-service workers engaged in housekeeping and cab-service segments catering to ICT-ITES firms. Building on the concept of multipolar governance, this paper highlights how at the intersection of two value chains a governance vacuum emerges which limits social upgrading for support-service workers.

Excerpt. “In this paper, conventions refer to the common normative frameworks, devised by either lead ICT-ITES firms, supplier firms, state government or civil society, that guide how labour standards are set, transferred and complied with. At the meso level, principal forms of conventions that shape value chain governance include: (I) “domestic conventions” (based on trust, loyalty and longerterm relations between value chain actors), (II) “industrial conventions” (based on operational standardization and private certification that guide value chain exchanges) and (III) “civic conventions” (based on common interests and standards in society) which explain how coordination takes place between firms in value chains2 (see Ponte and Sturgeon, 2014; Karlsen, 2018).”

(p. 3)

Link to the review

 

Fablab à la campagne : régimes d’actions et articulations des investissements

Jêrome Lamy (2019)

Sociologies pratiques, 2019/1 (N° 38), p. 49-58

Résumé. Appuyée sur les catégories mises en évidence par la sociologie pragmatique des régimes d’action, notre étude du fablab rural de Parthenay dans les Deux-Sèvres permet de mettre au jour des régimes d’engagement dans l’action articulés de façon très hétérogènes et qui paraissent différents de ceux que l’on peut observer dans les fablabs de grands centres urbains, qui ont fait l’objet de davantage d’enquêtes sociologiques. Ces articulations hétérogènes peuvent s’expliquer par la disponibilité des ressources et des compétences locales. Au-delà des différences, potentiellement perçues comme des manques, que ces différences engendrent par rapport à l’idéal-type de l’engagement des acteurs des fablabs – illustré par l’expérience originelle du mit – elles mettent également en exergue la mobilisation de compétences originales jusqu’ici ignorées dans la littérature consacrée à ces lieux.

Mots clés : Fablab, Ruralité, Régimes d’action, Investissement, Articulations

Abstract. Based on the categories highlighted by the pragmatic sociology of action regimes, our study of the rural Fablab of Parthenay in Deux-Sèvres reveals very heterogeneous regimes of engagement in action that appear different from those observed in the Fablabs of large urban centres, which have been the subject of more sociological surveys. These heterogeneous linkages can be explained by the availability of local resources and skills. Beyond the differences, potentially perceived as gaps, that these differences generate in relation to the standard ideal of engagement of Fablabs actors – illustrated by the original experience of mit – they also highlight the mobilization of original skills hitherto ignored in the literature devoted to these places.

Extrait.
Les cadres établis par la sociologie pragmatique des régimes d’action de Laurent Thévenot (2006) permettent d’étudier la façon dont les acteurs mobilisent des formes de jugement sur leurs propres pratiques. Trois régimes d’action décrivent les différentes façons dont les individus s’engagent dans leur environnement en coordonnant leurs gestes, leurs discours et les objets dont ils ont besoin (Thévenot, 2006, p. 244-250) :
– Le « régime d’engagement familier » est fondé sur la routinisation de certaines tâches dans un espace très maîtrisé. C’est « l’usage » qui constitue le référentiel principal des actions. Les repères sont inscrits dans des appuis locaux, mobilisables à tout moment et dont la réactivité est parfaitement connue à l’avance (puisqu’éprouvée à maintes reprises).
– Le « régime d’action en plan » se signale par l’accomplissement réussi d’une séquence d’activité ainsi que la sanction positive par les acteurs eux-mêmes : le succès de la réalisation n’est pas toujours aisément discernable en ce qu’elle apparaît, dans les formes de justification, comme une pure validation de ce qui est.
– Enfin, « le régime d’action justifiable » s’appuie lui sur « un ordre de grandeur légitime qui s’adosse à une spécification du bien commun (…) ». La probation publique vient couronner un accomplissement à forte valence axiologique, voire normatif.
L’entrée par cette pragmatique de l’action permet d’opérer une enquête au plus près des acteurs et de leurs pratiques. Elle offre la possibilité de saisir le type de coordination opéré entre les ressources disponibles localement et les cadrages axiologiques inscrits dans la structure idéale des fablabs. Si la place prééminente des fondateurs de fablabs ou des fabmanagers a déjà été largement notée (Lhoste, Barbier, 2016, p. 56), il reste à explorer d’autres profils d’acteurs.

(p. 52)

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Quality standards in polycentric systems: A case of shipping

Daria Gritsenko & Michael Roe (2019)

Geoforum, Online first

Abstract. This article contributes to the literature on transnational environmental governance (TEG). Polycentricity is a popular conceptual approach in TEG, but coordination in polycentric systems remains largely unexplored. We put forward a conceptual model of quality standards as a productive links between different orders of governance in polycentric systems. Existing theories distinguish between regulative, institutional, and normalizing functioning of quality standards. We develop an integrative approach highlighting the mechanisms of coordination that rely on these three functions of quality standards. The case of TEG in shipping is used to illustrate how quality standards function not only as soft rules, but also as institutionalized references and shared conventions, enabling coordination across levels and scales. The paper draws attention to the limits of regulatory standardization, outlining how practical value can be gained from emphasizing the normative work associated with promulgation of quality standards.

Keywords: Transnational environmental governance, Quality standards, Polycentricity, Coordination Shipping

Excerpt. “The last strand of theorizing focuses on the normalizing function of quality standards. Some GVC scholars integrated convention theory stemming from the French sociological tradition (Boltanski and Thevenot, 2006) into the study of quality standards (Ponte and Gibbon, 2005) to emphasize that alongside with rules rooted in collective intentions, mutual expectations that arise in the process of actions, called conventions, not only guide, but also legitimize actions. The normalizing function of quality standards allows bridging immediate (and often tacit) and broader codified knowledge by providing vocabularies for describing expectations and visions of desirable outcomes (Ponte et al., 2011). These visions and associated vocabularies defining what quality is, which procedures for quality governance are appropriate, and who can exercise control over it, are rooted in the broader historical context and societal values (Busch, 2000; Barham, 2002).”

(p. 3)

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Rethinking environmentalism in a ”ruined” world. Lessons from the permaculture movement

Laura Centemeri (2019)

In: Jens Hoff, Quentin Gausset & Simon Lex, Building a sustainable future. The role of non-state actors in the green transition, Routledge, In press.

Abstract. How do the meaning and practices of environmentalism change if we see the current environmental crisis as resulting not from accidental externalities but from a process of ordinary socio-ecological ruination brought about by the dominant logics of productivism and capitalist accumulation? In a world where socio-ecological ruination is ubiquitous, environmental engagement is not limited to protection from or denunciation against processes of socio-ecological exploitation. It also takes the shape of practices of care. I will discuss the notion of care as expression of environmental reflexivity and the case of the permaculture movement as an example of environmentalism grounded in practices of ecological care. Based on the results of a research project on the diffusion of the permaculture movement in Italy, my argument is that permaculture initiatives try to regenerate damaged socio-ecological systems through creating a variety of local pericapitalist economies. These alternative economies are always at risk of being recuperated by capitalist dynamics. One way of limiting this risk is to build networks of pericapitalist initiatives while multiplying the connections between the diverse forms of environmental engagement. This entails designing political ecotones in which environmental actors can coexist in their diversity and work to define a shared socio-technical imaginary.

Excerpt. In my view, underlying this transformation of environmentalism is the acknowledgment that the environmental crisis is related not only to random catastrophic events and episodic externalities but to a more ordinary and structural condition of progressive socio-ecological degradation. This ordinary process of degradation that, more often than not, goes unnoticed is linked to the dominance of growthism not only as a guiding principle of economic organisation but as a central socio-technical imaginary. Rob Nixon (2011) coined the notion of “slow violence” to point to those processes that create the conditions of “conjoint ecological and human disposability” (Ibid., p.4) or, to put it differently, of “simplification for alienation” (Tsing, 2015), that are necessary to sustain growth as currently intended, i.e. as measured by GDP. My point is that this disposability by means of simplification entails reducing the legitimate value arguments one can resort to in public decision-making processes in order to justify certain value practices against others. Justifiable value practices are those value practices that are socially encouraged, routinised and stabilised through “investments in forms” (Thévenot, 1984), the establishment of conventions (Diaz-Bone and Salais, 2011), rules of socialisation, so as to maintain the conditions for the reproduction of a certain socio-economic order. They rest on shared legitimate value arguments and shared “socio-technical imaginaries” (Jasanoff and Kim, 2015) : these arguments and imaginaries combine logics or “modes of valuation” (Centemeri, 2017) in specific ways that are privileged over others. In the current phase of global capitalism, dominant value practices are influenced by arguments and imaginaries that establish the uncontested centrality of economic growth, which is recognised as the source of social wellbeing. As a consequence, social goals are translated into standardised and quantified objectives to be achieved under budgetary constraints, giving rise to what Laurent Thévenot (2015) calls “governing through objective objectives”. The process whereby good government is defined as the achievement of “objective objectives” accounts for the progressive erosion of the diversity of legitimate value arguments in the public space and for public decisionmaking being understood as the result of calculation and not deliberation. As discussed by Torre (2018), these processes entail the steady transformation of sovereignty into a generalised colonial model in which increasing social inequalities are the norm (see Piketty, 2014).

(p. 6/7)

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Le champ des objets composés

Nicolas Dodier & Anthony Stavrianakis (2018)

In: Les objets composés. Agencements, dispositifs, assemblages. Raison Pratiques 28. Paris: EHESS, pp. 9-38.

A propos de l’ouvrage. Ce que nous pointons, ce n’est pas la variabilité qui émerge nécessairement d’une enquête empirique, et qu’un chercheur s’attache en partie à réduire. Ce ne sont pas non plus les interdépendances entre des formes de matérialité non sociales et les objets que les sciences sociales ont placés au cœur de leur investigation (cultures, groupes, institutions, interactions sociales, dispositions). Par hétérogénéité profonde nous entendons cette consistance particulière des objets qui, associant les unes aux autres des entités aux capacités modulables relevant de catégories différentes, parfois au-delà de dualités fortement établies (matière et langage, nature et culture, technique et politique), obligent les chercheurs à imaginer les notions et les méthodes propres à les appréhender. En somme, des objets « composés ». Pointer cette hétérogénéité et s’y affronter a été une préoccupation de Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze et Félix Guattari, puis de la théorie de l’acteur-réseau, de la sociologie des régimes d’engagement, et plus récemment de l’anthropologie des agencements globaux. Mais les fronts aujourd’hui se déplacent. Venant de différents horizons de l’anthropologie et de la sociologie, issus des mondes anglophones et francophones, des chercheurs éprouvent le besoin de re-conceptualiser les notions et de redéfinir les enquêtes qui leur sont associées. Trois directions s’en dégagent, autour de trois concepts clefs – agencements, dispositifs, assemblages –, qui construisent un regard inédit sur les lieux où règnent les objets composés: des expériences de la vulnérabilité aux lieux d’énonciation du droit, des laboratoires scientifiques à l’expression des impératifs religieux, des milieux urbains, industriels et agricoles à l’exercice du pouvoir politique. Ainsi émerge un espace de recherches, dont ce numéro met en évidence les choix, les éclairages et les manières de faire.

Extrait. “La combinaison de mondes fondés :
À partir des années 1980, émerge une autre approche des objets composés, qui retient l’hypothèse que certains éléments que l’on peut qualifier de « fondationnels » (certains principes, certaines valeurs, la résolution d’une contradiction fondamentale, etc.) ont la capacité de lier entre eux des éléments hétérogènes (au sens de la variété des catégories dont ils relèvent) au sein d’un même ensemble composé, appelé «monde», «régime», ou «grammaire», selon l’angle plus particulièrement retenu. Cette approche met également l’accent sur le fait que les humains doivent combiner entre eux ces différents mondes ou régimes, la vie sociale étant marquée par la diversité et la conflictualité irréductibles entre les éléments fondationnels à la base de chacun d’entre eux. C’est ainsi que Luc Boltanski et Laurent Thévenot (1991) ont abordé la manière dont les personnes font référence à un sens de la justice. Ce cadre général a nourri des travaux conduits, par extension et déplacements, à partir de cette base (voir notamment Boltanski & Chiapello 1999, Boltanski, 2004).” (p. 17)

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Legitimation as justification: Foregrounding public philosophies in explanations of gradual ideational change

Martin B. Carstensen & Magnus Paulsen Hansen (2019)

European Journal of Political Research, 58(2), pp. 582-602

Abstract. In accounts of institutional change, discursive institutionalists point to the role of economic and political ideas in upending institutional stability and providing the raw material for the establishment of a new institutional setup. This approach has typically entailed a conceptualisation of ideas as coherent and monolithic and actors as almost automatically following the precepts of the ideas they hold and support. Recent theorising stresses how ideas are in fact composite and heterogeneous, and actors pragmatic and strategic in how they employ ideas in political struggles. However, this change of focus has, until recently, not included how foundational ideas of a polity, often referred to as ‘public philosophies’, are theorised to impact on institution‐building. Drawing on French Pragmatic Sociology, and taking as a starting point recent efforts within discursive institutionalism to conceptualise the dynamic nature of public philosophies, this article seeks to foreground moral justification in accounts of ideational and institutional change. It suggests that public philosophies are reflexively used by actors in continual processes of normative justification that may produce significant policy shifts over time. The empirical relevance of the argument is demonstrated through an analysis of gradual ideational and institutional change in French labour market policy, specifically the development from the state‐guaranteed minimum income scheme of 1988 to the neoliberal make‐work‐pay logic of the 2009 scheme, Revenu de solidarité active. The analysis shows that public and moral justifications have underpinned and gradually shaped these radical changes.

Keywords: ideas; legitimacy; France; labour market policy; reform

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