De la construction participative d’indicateurs aux rapports de force politique urbains. Réflexions sur des indicateurs alternatifs grenoblois

Guillaume Gourgues, Anne Le Roy & Fiona Ottaviani (2018)

Géographie, économie, société, Vol. 20, p. 159-182.

Résumé. Si la dimension participative du processus de construction d’indicateurs alternatifs est l’occasion d’ouvrir la boite noire de la quantification, elle permet aussi l’introduction de nouveaux rapports de force politiques entre les habitants et les responsables des politiques publiques. À ce titre, cet article questionne le poids des logiques de marché et des indicateurs qui l’incarnent sur le gouvernement des villes. Il met en exergue le rôle que peut jouer la construction participative d’indicateurs alternatifs dans l’émergence de nouveaux rapports de force politiques à l’échelle urbaine, à partir d’une expérience menée à Grenoble.

From participatory-built indicators to urban politics: Comments on alternative indicators on the French city of Grenoble
Abstract. This paper is a reflexive problematized analysis of an alternative quantification experiment in the French city of Grenoble. Even if the participatory indicators-making process questions the methodological backgrounds of quantification, their concrete uses still depend on urban politics and ratio of powers that underpin urban policy-making. According to this, we notably insist on the structural influence and hegemony of market-friendly indicators on urban governments.

Article sur Cairn / Link to the article

La Théorie de la Régulation au fil du temps

Suivre l’évolution d’un paradigme au gré des transformations des capitalismes contemporains
Robert Boyer (dir.)
Collection interdisciplinaire EMSHA (2018)

Le présent ouvrage propose au lecteur un aperçu sur la trajectoire intellectuelle d’un groupe de chercheurs qui se sont attachés à éclairer certaines questions liées à la recherche sur l’économie et la société selon les approches développées par la Théorie de la Régulation, ceci à travers un permanent aller-retour entre les enseignements et prédictions du cadre conceptuel élaboré pour rendre compte de la rupture des Trente glorieuses et de la réalité des évolutions observées depuis lors.
La particularité du présent ouvrage est de donner à voir l’ajustement de ce paradigme d’année en année jusqu’à la période contemporaine. En quelque sorte, il propose de visiter le laboratoire d’où sont sorties les nombreuses publications dérivées de la Théorie de la Régulation.

Le chapitre 7 recense un certain nombre de textes qui font dialoguer la Théorie de la régulation avec d’autres courants institutionnalistes dont l’économie des conventions.

Sommaire (textes en libre accès) / Table of contents

Note de lecture de « Collaborer pour insérer » (Philippe Semenowicz, 2017)

Jean-Paul Domin (2018)

RECMA, n° 348, p. 130-132

Cet ouvrage reprend une thèse soutenue à l’université Paris Est en 2015 et s’intéresse tout particulièrement aux structures d’insertion par l’activité économique (SIAE). Celles-ci proposent à des personnes en difficultés (sociales ou professionnelles) un retour à une situation de travail et la prise en charge de leurs problèmes. L’objectif de ce travail est d’analyser leur fonctionnement, notamment par l’intermédiaire d’une enquête de terrain réalisée dans trois structures différentes : un groupe associatif, une entreprise de travail temporaire et un groupement d’employeurs pour l’insertion. L’intérêt principal de cette étude est d’interpréter, nous le verrons, cette activité au prisme de l’économie des conventions….

Télécharger la note sur le site Cairn / Download

Patterns of engagement: identities and social movement organizations in Finland and Malawi

Eeva Luhtakallio & Iddo Tavory (2018)

Theory and Society, Vol 47(2), p 151–174.

Abstract. Based on interviews with climate-change activists and NGO workers in Finland and Malawi, this article reconsiders the ways in which the coordination of identity projects and action is approached in social movement scholarship. Rather than beginning with personal and collective identities, we take our cue from recent work by Laurent Thévenot and trace actors’ forms of engagement—the various ways actors produce commonality. As we show, doing so in vastly different social contexts allows us to see permutations in such forms afforded by participation in a transnational social movement and to identify patterns of collective action that we would otherwise be apt to miss. Finnish activists narrated their activities by way of engaging in the forms of the common good driving the climate movement, but coordinated various situations also through engagement in familiarity, comfort, and ease. Malawian activists and NGO employees also spoke of the common good the movements worked to achieve, but principally created common ground by engaging in shared individual choices and projects, which were jointly consecrated by fellow NGO participants. Ultimately, we argue that tracing forms of engagement enables more in-depth understanding of what is at stake when people act together in social movement organizations: moving away from collective and personal identity to patterns of engagement allows a vantage point into the processes through which commonality is created and generates new hypotheses regarding the coordination of action in social movement organizations.

Link to the review

From success to failure, the disappearance of clusters: a study of a Norwegian boat-building cluster

Arne Isaksen (2018)

Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society (online first)

Abstract. The article analyses the decline and disappearance of regional clusters, with an empirical investigation of why a boat-building cluster in Norway failed after the 2008 financial crisis. The article combines insights into lock-in processes that take place at the cluster and regional innovation system level with lock-in processes at the entrepreneur and firm level. The latter level focuses on the development of local conventions of how production activities should occur as a potential key lock-in process. The failure of the boat-building cluster is explained by a convention supporting artisan craft production and little support from the regional innovation system.

Link to the review

Una interpretación interdisciplinar de la caida de la monarquía española a principios del siglo XIX

Jean-Philippe Luis (2017)

In M. Bertrand, F. Andujar, T. Glesener (eds.), Gobernar y reformar la monarquía. Los agentes políticos y administrativos en España y América. Siglos XVI-­XIX, p. 81‐94.

La celebración del bicentenario de la guerra de la Independencia y de las independencias hispanoamericanas han impuesto en sus mejores estudios una visión de la guerra como una ruptura, un abismo abierto de repente por el derrumbe brutal de la monarquía imperial hispánica, consecuencia de la invasión de la Península por las tropas napoléónicas en 1808. De ahí el final de un mundo que, a pesar de todas sus contradicciones internas y de todas las tensiones que existían en su seno, seguía todavía en pié a principios del siglo XIX. Los estudios publicados desde quince años han situado el episodio en un marco atlántico que era antes casi totalmente ignorado. La similitud de la reacción de ambos lados del Atlántico frente a la caida de la monarquía, y los caminos distinctos recorridos luego por los dos espacios a partir de una misma cultura política constituyen otro aspecto fundamental de esta lectura renovada del trauma de la guerra de la Independencia.
En un océano editorial relacionado con la guerra de la Independencia, ha salido en 2010 un pequeño libro (un texto de 180 páginas), titulado Après le Roi, en que el autor, Jean-Pierre Dedieu, proponía una lectura totalmente inovadora de los acontecimientos del punto de vista metodológico y heurístico. El libro es una síntesis brillante de lo ocurrido con una interpretación fundada en el uso de teorías forjadas en una rama heterodoxa de la economía, la economía de las convenciones. De este modo, este libro constituye una experiencia interdisciplinar única, realizada por uno de los historiadores más destacados del PAPE, para interpretar la salida del Antiguo Régimen y el advenimiento de las sociedades liberales en el mundo hispánico. Este libro no pretende a la exhaustividad (por ejemplo se trata poco de los aspectos económicos) pero propone un análisis centrado en el político en un sentido amplio, es decir sobre las modalidades de distribución y repartición del poder tanto como sobre las representaciones en que estas estan fundadas. Cinco reseñas, todas muy positivas, han sido publicadas, pero ninguna dio cuenta suficientemente de lo nuevo de la herramienta metodológica1. Après le Roi describe una sociedad del Antiguo Régimen estructurada por dos convenciones principales, la convención real y la convención religiosa, entendiendo la noción de convención como el conjunto de las « reglas arbitrarias relativas al gobierno de los hombres, que constituyen el marco en que se sitúan las actuaciones, sin necesidad de que los actores se refieran a ellas de manera explícita » (p. 2). La invasión de la península en 1808 desencadenó el derrumbe de la monarquía y, con ella, de las convenciones dominantes, a las que se sustituiron poco a poco dos nuevas convenciones, la convención nacional y la convenión laíca.

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Calculable and Valuable. Nouvelles tendances du capitalisme vues depuis le regard critique d’une pragmatique des conventions

Prochaine séance du séminaire interlabo Valeur, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, mardi 17 avril 2018, 17h00

Laurent Thévenot (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)

L’infrastructure nouvelle de formes conventionnelles contournant les Etats et participant d’un gouvernement par standard et objectif marque une étape nouvelle au regard de la marchandisation du monde. La réification d’une pluralité étendue de valeurs, dans des options certifiées supposées offertes aux choix des individus, modifie les contours de l’économie politique, et appelle à un renouveau des outils d’analyse.

Mardi 17 avril, 17h00 – EPFL – Bâtiment Mécanique (BM – 5202)

Apparatus of Valuation in the Fashion Industry of Paris

Junya Tatemi (2018)

Japanese Journal of Human Geography, Vol 70 (1), p. 25-48

Abstract. Studying the case of Paris’s fashion industry, this paper examines the apparatus of valuation and the role of agglomerations in metropolitan areas. Paris’s fashion industry is a sector in which intangible labour, such as knowledge creation, material labour involved in clothes fabrication and the networking of personal connections can be found. Furthermore, it has a complex apparatus of valuation embodied in the space of Paris: formal/informal institutions, including conventions and intermediaries; numerous commons; encounters between people; the development of social networks mediating mutual knowledge transfer; shows/salons and shops realizing the match between creators and their clients and, of course, places of interest. These heterogeneous elements, which are distributed in Paris and are assembled and arranged through the valuation of goods, function as the apparatus of valuation. In this article, I attempt to seize industrial agglomeration or the milieu as the “territorialised dispositif (apparatus) of coordination and valuation,” whereas the theory of innovative milieu understands it as a “territorialised institution/convention.”

Link to the review

Incremental Urbanism: A study of incremental housing production and the challenge of its inclusion in contemporary planning processes in Mumbai (India), by Tobias Baitsch

ABSTRACT

Whilst urbanisation reached an unprecedented dimension, in a not so distant future half of the urban population will live in ‘informal’ settlements. Often subsumed under the pejorative term slum, these habitats account for the majority of the future urban growth. Incremental urban development was once accepted as a viable means of addressing housing needs for large parts of the urban population. However, these approaches were largely abandoned in the 1990s in favour of mass housing provided through public private partnerships. While these largely failed in providing the required quantities and produced poor urban spaces, the scale of the phenomenon is such that incremental urban development needs reconsidering. However, in contrast to the well-documented experiences of the 1970s and 1980s, there is a lack of knowledge about the actual functioning of incremental development in contemporary regimes of urbanisation. Adopting an approach informed by French pragmatist sociology (Boltanski and Thévenot 2006), particularly the sociology of convention (Thévenot 1984), this research inquires into the production of slums at two levels: the intricate reality of housing production in Mumbai’s slums and the contemporary controversies revolving around urban development. Building on fieldwork in a ‘self-built’ resettlement colony in Mumbai forty years after it was established, this research examines how incrementally developing settlements are made, maintained, and transformed through everyday practices of local actors. Standing at the crossroads of the market, the political, and the social the so-called contractors are key figures engaged in the processes of construction and house making. As mediators in and of incremental urbanism they produce not only built-up space but also social space. Focusing on contractors as hitherto under-examined figures reveals that self-help housing in Mumbai, in contrast to conventional believes about housing practices of the urban poor, is by and large a professionalised mode of urban production. This research offers a refined account of the intricate reality of housing production and the ambiguous nature of incremental urbanism. Regarding urban planning, this research analyses the on-going revision of the Mumbai Development Plan 2014-2034 and the controversies accompanying it, which brings to the forefront the interplay of powers and arguments that otherwise are disguised in the dispersed and detached everyday making of the city. To better understand the discourse on current planning practices and struggles over conflicting approaches towards slums, this research examines the arguments and legitimization principles that underpin four major positions advocated in the controversies as the ‘good’ way to urbanisation. Considering them as equally valid positions allows drawing comparisons between the different conceptualisations of urban planning and development, and the role and legitimacy they confer to modes of incremental urbanism. Reading the two moments in the production of Mumbai’s slums together sheds light on the challenges to incorporate incremental urbanism into planning processes. It is argued that these challenges lie not solely with the conflicting rationalities ‘or cosmos’ of how to create a just city, which clash in the controversies, but also with the ambiguity of incremental urbanism itself. Both of which contribute to complex processes of invisibilisation, or subalternisation, of incremental urbanism.

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Thesis Director
Dr. Luca Pattaroni , EPF Lausanne

Thesis Co-Director
Prof. Dr. Christian Schmid, ETH Zurich

Jury
Dr. Florence Graezer Bideau, EPF Lausanne, president of the jury
Dr. Pushpa Arabindoo, University College London, external expert
Prof. Dr. René Véron, University of Lausanne, external expert
Dr. Jennifer E. Duyne Barenstein, ETH Zurich, internal expert

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https://infoscience.epfl.ch/record/253240/files/EPFL_TH7720.pdf

Temporality in Discourse: Methodological Challenges and a Suggestion for a Quantified Qualitative Approach

Julian Hamann & Lisa Suckert (2018).

Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(2), Art. 2

Abstract. Though most sociological discourse analyses are concerned with inherently temporal research objects, temporality is rarely acknowledged from a methodological perspective. In this article we address this gap by making the methodological consequences of temporality systematically explicit. In doing so, we attempt to initiate an important methodological debate in the field of sociological discourse analysis. As a first contribution, we specify four main methodological challenges posed by temporality to discourse analytical research processes: a sequential model of reality, entities that fluctuate and move, connections that relate entities over time, and the inherently comparative nature of diachronic analyses. We argue that qualitative approaches to discourse analysis are well equipped to deal with the first three challenges. However, they can easily be overwhelmed by the wide scope of diachronic comparative analyses. Building on these insights, we propose a quantified qualitative approach to diachronic discourse analyses. We show that quantifying tools that visualize discourse are beneficial in the final stages of qualitative interpretation. To this end, we explore the potential of word clouds, co-occurrence networks and discursive fields of correspondence for visualizing change and stability and thus accounting for temporality. Both the methodological challenges and the visualization tools are illustrated by drawing on an exemplary study on the changing nature of critiques of capitalism in the context of the recent economic crisis.

Link to the article online

Mercados como ordens sociais: uma alternativa pluralista aos dualismos da sociologia da agricultura

Paulo Andre Niederle (2017)

Raizes, vol. 37, n°2, p. 88-101.

Resumo. A sociologia da agricultura tem presenciado um profícuo debate sobre mercados alimentares. No entanto, este debate ainda é parcialmente obstado por lógicas dualistas que opõem mercados convencionais e alternativos, commodities e singularidades, agronegócio e agricultura familiar. No debate internacional, uma das expressões mais importante deste dualismo revela-se na oposição entre as abordagens dos “regimes alimentares” e “estilos de agricultura”. Após apresentar os limites das mesmas, o artigo propõe um novo diálogo entre a Teoria das Convenções e Teoria das Práticas para introduzir o conceito de mercados como “ordens sociais”. A partir dele, e com base em pesquisas conduzidas desde 2011 sobre a reestruturação dos mercados para alimentos orgânicos, o artigo analisa a configuração de quatro ordens: cívica, estética, industrial e tradicional. Cada ordem comporta nexos específicos de práticas sociais, às quais estão associados dispositivos institucionais e técnicos, bem como múltiplos significados e identidades sociais.

Markets as social orders: a pluralist alternative to the dualism in the sociology of agriculture

Abstract. The sociology of agriculture has witnessed a fruitful debate on food markets. However, this debate has still been partially blocked due to dualistic logics that oppose conventional and alternative markets, commodities and singularities, agribusiness and family farming. In the international debate, one of the most important expressions of this dualism is nowadays revealed in the opposition between the approaches of “food regimes” and “farming styles”. After presenting the limits of these approaches, this paper proposes a new dialogue between Theory of Conventions and Theory of Practices to introduce the concept of markets as “social orders”. From it, and based on research conducted since 2011 on organic food markets reorganizational dynamics, this paper analyzes the configuration of four orders: civic, aesthetic, industrial, and traditional. Each order engages a particular nexus of social practices, which are associated with institutional and technical devices, as well as multiple social meanings and identities.

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Demographic change as dystopia. Contemporary German discourses on ageing, between science and politics

Reinhard Messerschmidt (2017)

In: Loffeier, Iris/Majerus, Benoît/Moulaert Thibauld (eds.)(2017): Framing age. Abingdon: Routledge.

Abstract. Embedded in a long tradition of demographic dystopias, which Spanish demographer Andreu Domingo (2008) examined in the popular literature of the last two centuries, contemporary discourses of demographic change raise a variety of questions. Over 20 years ago, gerontologist Stephen Katz stated that ‘popular and professional discourses which currently accentuate the demographic features of aging populations are characterized by their alarmism’ and named this phenomenon ‘alarmist demography’ (1992, p. 204). He situated such alarmism in governmental narratives on the aged sub-population and its collective dependency, where popular media and think tanks ‘depict the elderly emptying the coffers of the welfare state and creating a tax burden beyond the means of the labour force to support’, giving the appearance that ‘the growing aging population is threatening to create an economic crisis with profound consequences for healthcare systems, social security programmes, industrial and intergenerational relations’ (ibid., pp. 203–204). This chapter will resituate in the present what he could see so clearly in the past. 1 Demographic change, typically understood as the ageing of the population (Schimany, 2003) with respect to its subsequent shrinkage (Kaufmann, 2005), has become commonplace in German social-science and mass-media discourse since the turn of the millennium. Although the ‘fear of population decline’ ebbed and flowed over the past century, according to Teitelbaum and Winter (1985, p. 1), ‘depending both upon demographic realities and perceptions of the links between population change and economic, social, and political power’, the ‘flow’ of contemporary discourses should be understood in the context of strategies of governmentality addressing individual and population ageing. In fact, the current flow can be interpreted as resulting from the prevailing economization of the social (Bröckling, 2007) and embedded in specific programmes of governmentality, such as the growing entrepreneurship of the self(s), which can no longer expect social care from the state. Declarations that social security systems are endangered and consequently need to be increasingly privatized are legitimized by demographic claims to knowledge of the future, which we will refer to as ‘future knowledge’ (Hartmann & Vogel, 2010). This can be interpreted as being part of contemporary ‘neosocial governmentality’ 20 (Lessenich, 2008) or the ‘neosocial market economy’ (Vogelmann, 2012). As this chapter will show, privatization of benefits (for insurance companies, the financial market, and the ‘silver economy’ driven by the rising consumption by older people and for age-specific needs) contrasts with the socialization of costs (e.g. prolonged working life/later retirement, ‘active’ and productive ageing, direct or indirect cuts in social insurance). Nevertheless, governmental programmes and associated governments of the self are not necessarily successful (Bröckling et al., 2010), because individuals can always partially or entirely reject the related discourses.

[…]

Furthermore, Alain Desrosières discussed the problem of tension between realism and conventionalism specifically regarding the criteria for quality in official statistics and concluded that differentiation based on structuralism-inspired compromise solutions10 can help people to ‘understand the often obscure debates and controversies triggered by statistical arguments, both in the public arena and in the social sciences’ (2009, p. 321). With respect to central demographic concepts, such a debate would only be obscure if consequential reflection upon the boundaries of this construction is neglected. This differentiation is compatible with the epistemological position that Ian Hacking (2002) described as ‘dialectical realism’. It accommodates the specific character of demographic (future) constructs as discursive games of truth intertwined with power relations, avoiding the trap of epistemic relativism.

Link to the book

Alternative Agri-Food Networks in Turin and Piedmont. A Matter of Quality

Filippo Barbera & Joselle Dagnes (2017)

Bollettino della Società Geografica Italiana, Serie XIII, vol. X, p. 169-179

Abstract. This article makes a socio-territorial analysis of alternative agro-food networks compared with other productive-distributive chains. The focus of the analysis is on the concept of quality and its conception by consumers of the various distributive chains. In line with convention theory, quality is considered an emergent social construct by the players who give the market its form. The article is an empirical analysis applying this analytical reasoning to conventional, alternative and hybrid agro-food chains in Turin and Piedmont.

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Forms of uncertainty reduction: decision, valuation, and contest

Patrik Aspers (2018)

Theory and Society, Online.

Abstract. Uncertainty is an intriguing aspect of social life. Uncertainty is epistemic, future-oriented, and implies that we can neither predict nor foresee what will happen when acting. In cases in which no institutionalized certainty about future states exists, or can be generated, judgment is needed. This article presents the forms by which uncertainty is reduced as a result of judgments made about different alternatives in a process involving several actors. This type of uncertainty may exist, for example, about which artist is the best, which offer in the market is more valuable, which football team is better than all the rest, or which research proposal will get a grant. The result of different forms of uncertainty reduction is increased certainty concerning alternatives in relation to one another, such as good and bad, rank lists, scores, quality assessment, and “winner and losers.” Based on the result, uncertainty is reduced and action is facilitated. The forms are structural and comprise roles; may be legitimate in a smaller or larger domain; and may exist in all spheres of life, as exemplified in sports competitions, in labor markets, and in the ranking of universities. Three forms of uncertainty reduction based on judgment are identified in this article: (1) decision, made by an authority; (2) valuation, by means of which order arises as a result of actors ascribing values; and (3) contest, by which an order is the result of direct struggle.

Link to the article

 

Counting Clicks: Quantification and Variation in Web Journalism in the United States and France

(2018)

American Journal of Sociology, 123, no. 5, p. 1382-1415.

Abstract. Sociological studies often emphasize the role of metrics in broader processes of convergence and homogenization. Yet numbers can take on different meanings depending on their contexts. This article focuses on the case of journalism, a field transformed by quantification in the form of “clicks.” Drawing on ethnographic material gathered at two news websites—one in New York, the other in Paris—it documents important differences in the uses and meanings assigned to audience metrics in the United States and France. At the U.S. website, editors make significant decisions based on metrics, but staff journalists are relatively unconcerned by them. At the French website, however, editors are conflicted about metrics, but staff writers fixate on them. To understand these differences, this article analyzes how the trajectories of the U.S. and French journalistic fields affect newsroom dynamics. It shows how cultural differences can be reproduced at a time of technological convergence.

Link to the article