Accounting for “Quality” in Economics

Cfp for a special issue of Œconomia

Editors of the Special Issue
Spencer Banzhaf (North Carolina State University)
Christian Bessy (IDHES, École Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay)
Erwin Dekker (Mercatus Center, George Mason University)
Julien Gradoz (CLERSÉ, Université de Lille)
JeanSébastien Lenfant (PRISM, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Stéphan Marette (INRAE, AgroParisTech)


Ever since the marginalist revolution, economics has developed as the study of equilibria in various market structures and informational contexts. According to this view, price and quantity of goods and services (assumed to be measurable) are the only two variables to be accounted for in the study of market coordination. Within this framework, it is presupposed that the nature of the goods and services being exchanged is either known from the outset or expected to vary only within  predetermined, measurable boundaries (such as firms’ location, for instance). Over the last century, the most influential schools of thought have each applied this view on their own terms, and theoretical as well as methodological debates have been bounded by this common tenet that the goods to be traded are determined previously to market coordination. Challenging this established tenet has been—and still is—one of the most complex and demanding tasks for economists to address. It is also one of the most necessary.

One such way out of this tenet revolves around the introduction of quality as a third variable to be accounted for in market coordination, leading to the more sophisticated statement that buyers and sellers of qualitatively differentiated goods are both maximizing and objective. However, any attempt to introduce quality in economic theory—whether as an additional variable or in place of quantity—raises analytical difficulties and fundamental questions: Is quality measurable and how? Is there a given objective gamut of such qualities and what makes it objective? What does quality actually mean? Is this definition amenable to some kind of market coordination analysis or does it call for alternative institutions to be established? What are the consequences of introducing quality for welfare evaluations? Are there shared principles to account for quality in economic policy? What have we learned from empirical studies on quality and market structures?

Read more : https://journals.openedition.org/oeconomia/16917

Researchers who would like to be considered for participation in this special issue of Œconomia should submit, via email attachment, the title of their paper, an extended (1,000-1,500 words) abstract, and the affiliations of all authors. This information should be sent to oeconomia@openedition.org by March 30, 2024, at the latest.

Réconcilier les économistes « standards » avec le salaire minimum.

Compte rendu de l’ouvrage « Le Salaire minimum et l’emploi » de Jérôme Gautié (Les Presses de SciencesPo, 2020)

Reconciling “standard” economists with the minimum wage.
Review of “Le Salaire minimum et l’emploi” by Jérôme Gautié (Les Presses de SciencesPo, 2020) 

Guillemette de Larquier (2022)

Socio-économie du travail, 12( 2), p. 194-203.

Extrait: “Réconcilier les économistes avec le salaire minimum passe, selon Gautié, par leur acceptation de la controverse au sein de leur discipline. Ce sont les économistes standards ou mainstream qui sont visés. En effet, dans l’ouvrage, l’auteur se restreint au cadre strictement néo-classique standard où le concept de productivité marginale, même s’il l’écrit entre guillemets, demeure l’horizon indépassable de la valeur du travail et donc du salaire. Les autres économistes, hétérodoxes ou institutionnalistes, n’ont peut-être pas besoin d’un tel plaidoyer puisqu’ils sont convaincus de la valeur des controverses pour faire avancer la recherche. Il n’empêche qu’il serait intéressant de faire le point sur ce que les économistes institutionnalistes ont à dire du salaire minimum. À cet égard, on peut lire l’ouvrage collectif d’Irene Dingeldey, Damian Grimshaw et Thorsten Schulten (2021) ; l’approche essentiellement inductive reconnaît plusieurs fonctions à un salaire minimum et plusieurs effets dans des cadres institutionnels différents. Dans l’ouvrage de Gautié, la diversité des cadres institutionnels (thème du chapitre 4) n’est pas un problème ; en revanche, le salaire minimum est traité comme un dispositif unique, un seuil minimal légal, quel que soit le contexte. Dès l’introduction, la deuxième note de la première page nous prévient : la diversité des modalités de fixation et d’application dans le monde sera ignorée. Bref, le salaire minimum sera toujours identifié à un prix (plancher) et jamais à un ensemble de règles. Or, qui dit règles dit passage de la frontière entre économie standard et économie institutionnaliste.
En franchissant cette frontière, la contradiction peut aller plus loin en remettant en question le rôle pivot de la productivité du travail. Il ne s’agit pas de nier la productivité apparente du travail (valeur ajoutée / volume de travail associé) qui est une convention statistique et comptable, ayant de la sorte une réalité sociale, mais de se défaire de l’hypothèse (ou fiction) théorique de productivité marginale. Même Philip Wicksteed, qui développa l’idée que tout facteur doit être rémunéré à sa productivité marginale, reconnaissait déjà en 1913 : « que toute richesse est un produit social ; qu’il est impossible de démêler l’apport précis de chaque individu ; et que la répartition de la richesse doit obéir à des lois sociales » (cité par Husson, 2020, p. 18). Dans ces conditions, la hiérarchie des salaires dans une entreprise ne reflète pas tant la hiérarchie des productivités qu’une distribution du revenu de l’entreprise selon des considérations économiques et sociales, plus ou moins acceptées par l’ensemble des intéressés. C’est le postulat par exemple de l’ouvrage maintenant ancien de Bénédicte Reynaud, Le salaire, la règle et le marché (1992), que l’on peut rattacher aussi bien à l’Économie des conventions (toute règle renvoie à une convention) qu’à la Théorie de la régulation (un système de règles forme ensemble un rapport salarial).” (p. 201-202)

Extract: “According to Gautié, reconciling economists with the minimum wage means accepting controversy within their discipline. Standard or mainstream economists are the target. In fact, in his book, the author restricts himself to the strictly neo-classical framework, where the concept of marginal productivity, even if written in quotation marks, remains the unsurpassable horizon of the value of labor and therefore of the wage. Other economists, whether heterodox or institutionalist, may not need such a plea, since they are convinced of the value of controversy in advancing research. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to take stock of what institutional economists have to say about the minimum wage. In this respect, the collective work by Irene Dingeldey, Damian Grimshaw and Thorsten Schulten (2021) is worth reading; the essentially inductive approach recognizes several functions for a minimum wage and several effects in different institutional settings. In Gautié’s book, the diversity of institutional settings (the theme of chapter 4) is not an issue; on the other hand, the minimum wage is treated as a single device, a legal minimum threshold, whatever the context. Right from the introduction, the second note on the first page warns us: the diversity of ways in which minimum wages are set and applied around the world will be ignored. In short, the minimum wage will always be identified with a price (floor) and never with a set of rules. And rules mean crossing the boundary between standard economics and institutional economics.
By crossing this boundary, the contradiction can go further, calling into question the pivotal role of labor productivity. It’s not a question of denying apparent labor productivity (value added / volume of associated labor), which is a statistical and accounting convention, and thus has a social reality, but of discarding the theoretical assumption (or fiction) of marginal productivity. Even Philip Wicksteed, who developed the idea that every factor should be remunerated at its marginal productivity, recognized as early as 1913: “that all wealth is a social product; that it is impossible to disentangle the precise contribution of each individual; and that the distribution of wealth must obey social laws” (quoted by Husson, 2020, p. 18). Under these conditions, the hierarchy of wages in a company reflects not so much the hierarchy of productivities as a distribution of the company’s income according to economic and social considerations, more or less accepted by all concerned. This is the premise, for example, of Bénédicte Reynaud’s now long-standing book Le salaire, la règle et le marché (1992), which can be traced back to both Economics of convention (every rule refers to a convention) and Regulation Theory (a system of rules together form a wage relationship).” (p. 201-202)

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From Critical Capacity to Legitimation Crisis. The EU legitimacy changes and the UK public sphere before Brexit

Jan Pesl (2023)

PhD thesis. Oslo: University of Oslo

JURY
Adjudication committee: Research Associate Professor Virginie van Ingelgolm, Faculty of Economy, Social and Political Sciences and Communication, UCLouvain, Belgium; Professor Hajo Boogaarden, Department of Communication, University of Vienna; Professor Bjørn Schiermer Andersen, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, UiO.
Chair of defense: Professor Grete Brochmann, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, UiO
Supervisors: Senior Researcher Asimina Michailidou, ARENA, UiO; Professor Cathrine Holst, Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, UiO

Abstract. This thesis investigates the EU’s legitimacy changes preceding Brexit from 2004 to 2016. Scholars have identified legitimacy deficits and crises within the EU since the 1990s. Against this backdrop, Brexit can be interpreted as a symptom of a deeper EU legitimacy crisis. The thesis investigates the changes in EU legitimacy during the period from 2004 to 2016. During this period, the EU has undergone two crises that have impacted its central arrangements: the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the Schengen area of unrestricted movement. By concentrating on the specified timeframe, the thesis documents the legitimization changes that occurred during each crisis and have fundamentally altered the EU’s material context. The study examines shifts in legitimation and critique within the UK public sphere using computer-assisted quantitative text analysis (supervised machine-learning) and qualitative discourse analysis. The findings suggest that the EU’s institutional design has led to recurrent legitimation problems and a legitimation crisis. However, it is unlikely that the EU has experienced a severe legitimacy crisis in the period. The key implication of these findings is that unless an empirical connection between legitimacy changes and institutional changes is established, the role legitimacy plays in (de)stabilizing the institution should be considered uncertain. 

Extract: “Since I assume that actors are imbued with capacity to criticise, challenge, and ultimately revise social and cultural norms (Boltanski and Thévenot 1999), the theoretical background of this project is in many ways indebted to neo- institutionalist approaches in general (Jachtenfuchs et al. 1998; DiMaggio and Powell 1991), and pragmatic sociology in particular (Tavory and Eliasoph 2013; Eliasoph and Lichterman 2003; Thévenot 2006; Luhtakallio 2013). These perspectives portray legitimation change primarily as a shift in legitimation practices reflecting the current landscape of relatively salient cultural norms. Therefore, these approaches are well-suited for capturing not only the invoked normative standards as the modes of valuation, but also the broader ideational condition.”

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Die private und die verteilte Person

The private and the distributed person

Fabian Pittroff (2024)

Bielefeld: Transcript. Open Access

Über das Buch. Die ‘Person’ ist kein Synonym für »Mensch«, sondern eine soziale Existenzweise für menschliche und nichtmenschliche Wesen. Während die Person der Moderne an das Private gebunden ist, wird sie mit der Digitalisierung neu situiert. Fabian Pittroff analysiert diese Entwicklung in einer Serie von Studien, die sich umfassenden Aspekten widmen: der Sozialtheorie der Person, der Geschichte des Privaten, der Krise demokratischer Institutionen, der avantgardistischen Postprivacy-Bewegung, der Digitalisierung der Freundschaft, der Produktion von Selfies und den Vorhersagungen der Datenökonomie. Dabei zeichnen sich zwei Modi der Personalisierung ab: Während die private Person auf ein Zentrum hin ausgerichtet ist, existiert die verteilte Person dezentral.

Auszug: “2.3 Semantiken der Institutionalisierung
Meine Heuristik zur Untersuchung moderner Privatheiten macht den Vorschlag, neben Praktiken der Grenzziehung als zweite Komponente nach einer Semantik der Institutionalisierung zu fragen. Wenn jede Privatheit aus Grenzpraktiken besteht, aber nicht jede Grenzpraktik Teil einer Privatheit ist, lässt sich die Frage stellen, ob und in welcher Weise sich die Praktiken der Grenzziehung zu einem Gefüge verdichten, das dann als Privatheit bezeichnet werden kann. Zur Behandlung dieser Frage will ich im Folgenden neopragmatistische Theorien der Institutionalisierung und insbesondere Überlegungen von Luc Boltanski heranziehen. Boltanski beschreibt Institutionen als »körperlose Wesen« und semantische Instanzen, denen die Aufgabe zukommt, Praktiken situationsübergreifend zu qualifizieren und zu bewerten (Boltanski 2010: 134). So lassen sich auch Privatheiten als Institutionen bestimmen, die mit einer semantischen Komponente einhergehen, in der sich die Positivität und Generativität privater Praktiken ausdrückt. Der soziologische Institutionenbegriff ist generell vielfältig und zuweilen widersprüchlich, beschreibt aber grob gesprochen bestimmte Formen der zeitlichen und räumlichen Stabilisierung von Praktiken (Boltanski 2010: 83–87).” (S. 64)

About the book. The “person” is not a synonym for ‘human’, but a social mode of existence for human and non-human beings. While the person of modernity is bound to the private sphere, it is being repositioned with digitalization. Fabian Pittroff analyses this development in a series of studies dedicated to comprehensive aspects: the social theory of the person, the history of the private sphere, the crisis of democratic institutions, the avant-garde post-privacy movement, the digitalization of friendship, the production of selfies and the predictions of the data economy. Two modes of personalization are emerging: While the private person is oriented towards a center, the distributed person exists decentrally.

Extract: “2.3 Semantics of institutionalization
My heuristics for the investigation of modern privacies suggest that, in addition to practices of border demarcation, a second component should be the semantics of institutionalization. If every privacy consists of border practices, but not every border practice is part of a privacy, the question can be asked whether and in what way the practices of border demarcation condense into a structure that can then be described as a privacy. To address this question, I will draw on neopragmatist theories of institutionalization and, in particular, considerations by Luc Boltanski. Boltanski describes institutions as “disembodied beings” and semantic instances that have the task of qualifying and evaluating practices across situations (Boltanski 2010: 134). In this way, private spheres can also be defined as institutions that are accompanied by a semantic component that expresses the positivity and generativity of private practices. The sociological concept of institutions is generally diverse and sometimes contradictory, but roughly speaking it describes certain forms of temporal and spatial stabilization of practices (Boltanski 2010: 83-87).” (p. 64)

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Conventions without knowledge of conformity

Megan Henricks Stotts (2023)

Philosophical Studies, 180, pp. 2105-2127

Abstract. David Lewis’s account of conventions has received substantial criticism over the years, but one aspect of it has been less controversial and thus has been retained in various forms by other authors: his requirement that members of a group in which a convention obtains must know that they and others conform. I argue that knowledge of conformity requirements wrongly exclude certain paradigmatic conventions, including some central semantic conventions. Ruth Garrett Millikan’s account of conventions accommodates these cases, but it is marred by her (as I argue) mistaken claim that most linguistic conventions involve coordination, and by complications with her central notion of reproduction. Aiming to build upon Millikan’s insights while avoiding her account’s problems, I contend that doing A is conventional in groups in which there is widespread, interconnected copying of doing A as a way of doing something further, B, where there are other equally good and accessible ways to do B.

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The clash of cultures: Individualization and standardization in education

Ove Skarpenes & Kari-Mette Walmann Hidle (2024)

Policy Futures in Education, Online first

Abstract. In this essay, we argue that pupils in compulsory school education seem to be exposed to conflicting pressures from an (internal) tendency towards individualisation and an (external) tendency towards standardisation. Drawing on Luc Bolanski and Laurent Thévenot’s pragmatic sociology of orders of worth, we develop a theoretical framework to discuss the two conflicting cultures. In the first part of the analysis, we present the broad and enhanced tendency towards individualisation in terms of methods and content in Norwegian compulsory education – the construction of an inspirational pupil – and in the second part of the analysis, we present the development of standards for assessment – the construction of an industrial pupil. In the final section we discuss two forms of processes – individualisation and standardisation – rooted in two incompatible orders of worth, the inspirational and industrial order, respectively, and argue that these processes represent a major challenge in schools, a conflicting pressure to which pupils are being subjected.

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Analysing the Evolution of Water Governance Models in Indonesia Through the Economies of Worth Framework

Héloïse Valette (2024)

Water Alternatives, 17(1), pp. 121-144. Open access

Abstract. The water governance model that currently dominates at the international level is based on the principles of the Dublin Conference (1992), one of which asserts that water is an economic good. Faced with growing environmental issues as well as increased demand for recognition of water as a human right or as a common good, this model is being contested both in international arenas and at national or local levels. This article aims to examine the justification discourses used by actors who either challenge or reinforce the dominant model. The focus is on water qualification issues, which we argue have a significant impact on policymaking and the renewal of water governance models. We employ the Economies of Worth framework (Boltanski and Thévenot, 1991) not only to decipher which values actors resort to when qualifying water – as a human right, an economic good, or a social good, for example – but also to understand the reasons why one qualification prevails over others in water-related debates. We examine these debates in the Indonesian context, where many disputes arising from water qualification have occurred, the ‘tests of worth’ in Boltanski and Thévenot’s framework. Using a qualitative methodology, we conducted semi-structured interviews and reviewed legislation and operational documents to explore three such tests of worth. Our case study reveals the persistence of the governance model that promotes water as an economic good, despite extensive debate and new regulations that may have strengthened a model based on the qualification of water as a human right.

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Innover dans les Établissements médico-sociaux. L’accompagnement des personnes âgées atteintes de démence mis en forme par la « Méthode Montessori adaptée »

Innovation in medical-social establishments. The “Adapted Montessori Method” for elderly people with dementia

Lambelet, Alexandre/Malbois, Fabienne/Jetzer, Anne (2023)

In Pascal Maeder, Milena Chimienti, Viviane Cretton, Christian Maggiori, Isabelle Probst et Stéphane Rullac (eds.), Innovation et intervention sociales. Impacts, méthodes et mises en œuvre dans les domaines de la santé et de l’action sociale. Zurich: Seismo, pp. 265-289. Open access

Extrait: “S’inspirant des principes pédagogiques développés par Maria Montessori, dont les célèbres préceptes « Aide-moi aÌ faire par moi-même » (Montessori 2007, cité par AG&D 2015) et « Chaque chose que vous faites à ma place est une chose que vous m’enlevez » (Montessori 2007, cité par AG&D 2015), la MMA envisage les personnes âgées atteintes de démence comme des personnes capables et propose un autre modèle de coordination entre professionnelles et résidentes, au sein duquel l’action professionnelle vise l’autonomie des résidentes. À ce titre, elle propose un modèle d’action susceptible de faire innovation, pour autant bien sûr que l’on se saisisse des « appuis conventionnels » (Dodier 1993 ; Dodier et Barbot 2016) qui la caractérisent. Ces appuis sont conventionnels en cela qu’ils fournissent aux professionnelles qui s’y rapportent des ressources et des perspectives communes pour coordonner leurs actions, entre elles et envers les résidentes. Ces appuis tirent leur force de leur agencement au sein d’un modèle d’action qui conjugue leur hétérogénéité pour établir de nouvelles façons de voir et de faire. Leur éventail est très divers. Il s’agit aussi bien des habitudes déposées dans les corps et/ou éduquées par l’apprentissage ou la formation, que des manières de faire inscrites dans des objets (pictogrammes, livres de lecture ‘Montessori’, scripts d’action, grilles d’observation, liste de principes, etc.). Ces appuis englobent également les manières de voir encapsulées dans des mots et des lexiques spécifiques, ainsi que la conception spécifique du travail qui prévaut au sein de l’institution. Au sein d’un EMS, le travail peut en effet être défini tant par la tâche (dont les principaux critères de codification sont le temps et la répétition d’un contenu spécialisé) comme dans l’Organisation scientifique du travail (Thévenot 1986), que par le projet (dont les principaux critères sont la flexibilité, la polyvalence, la connexion), comme dans l’organisation du travail en réseau (Boltanski et Chiapello 1999 ; Vásquez 2019) propre aux modèles d’accompagnement centrés sur la personne (Kitwood 1997 ; McCormack 2004), dont la MMA fait partie.” (p. 267-268)

Extract: “Inspired by the pedagogical principles developed by Maria Montessori, including the famous precepts “Help me to do by myself” (Montessori 2007, cited by AG&D 2015) and “Every thing you do for me is something you take away from me” (Montessori 2007, cited by AG&D 2015), the MMA envisions elderly people with dementia as capable individuals and proposes an alternative model of coordination between professionals and residents, within which professional action is aimed at residents’ autonomy. As such, it proposes a model of action likely to lead to innovation, provided of course that we seize the “convention-based supports” (Dodier 1993; Dodier and Barbot 2016) that characterize it. These supports are conventional in that they provide the professionals who work with them with common resources and perspectives for coordinating their actions, among themselves and towards residents. These supports draw their strength from their arrangement within an action model that combines their heterogeneity to establish new ways of seeing and doing. Their range is very diverse. They range from habits deposited in the body and/or educated through apprenticeship or training, to ways of doing things inscribed in objects (pictograms, ‘Montessori’ reading books, action scripts, observation grids, lists of principles, etc.). These supports also encompass the ways of seeing encapsulated in specific words and lexicons, as well as the specific conception of work that prevails within the institution. Within an EMS, work can indeed be defined both by the task (whose main codification criteria are time and the repetition of specialized content) as in the Scientific Organization of Work (Thévenot 1986), and by the project (whose main criteria are flexibility, versatility, connection), as in the networked organization of work (Boltanski and Chiapello 1999; Vásquez 2019) specific to person-centered support models (Kitwood 1997; McCormack 2004), of which MMA is a part.” (p. 267-268)

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The quantified school. Pedagogy, subjectivity, and metrics

Diego Santori (2023):

London: Palgrave Macmillan

Chapter 1. Measuring, Counting, Quantifying

Abstract. Calculation and quantification have been defining features of modern societies for a long time (Desrosières, 1998; Diaz-Bone & Didier, 2016; Mennicken & Espeland, 2019; Porter, 1995), particularly related to what Rose calls the ‘grey sciences’, which are optimising technologies based upon accountancy, actuary, and finance. These know-hows of enumeration, calculation, monitoring, and evaluation, he notes, ‘manage to be simultaneously modest and omniscient, limited yet apparently limitless in their application to problems as diverse as the appropriateness of a medical procedure and the viability of a university department’ (Rose, 1996, p. 54). So, what’s new? Chapter 2 explores the ‘quantitative turn’ by looking at the rise of quantification as a dominant form of sense-making. Looking at various manifestations of this phenomenon, the chapter discusses the quantification of the self, with reference to the Quantified Self movement, and the quantification of social practices, with reference to the use of metrics-based techniques like Social Return on Investment (SROI) and Development Impact Bonds (DIBs), before turning to the take up and expansion of data-driven sense-making in education, looking at global developments, national initiatives, and school-level interventions.

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Analyse pluridisciplinaire des carrières professionnelles : évolutions, exclusions, inégalités sociales et de genre

Multidisciplinary analysis of professional careers: changes, exclusions, social and gender inequalities

Delphine Remillon (2024)

Habilitation à diriger les recherches, soutenue le 2 février 2024, Université de Lille, à l’Institut national d’études démographiques (Ined)

– Garante de l’habilitation / Supervisor: Guillemette de Larquier (Université de Lille)
– Rapporteurs / Referees: François-Xavier Devetter (Université de Lille), Jérôme Gautié (Université Paris 1), Olivia Samuel (Université Paris Nanterre)
– Examinateurs / Examiners: Carole Bonnet (Ined), Héloïse Petit (Cnam)

Résumé. Les travaux présentés dans ce mémoire d’Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches traitent tous des carrières. Le premier chapitre présente les principales caractéristiques de mes travaux, en termes d’approches théoriques et méthodologiques. J’adopte dans mes recherches une perspective institutionnaliste et pluridisciplinaire mobilisant l’économie des conventions, les théories de la segmentation et du life course et des données longitudinales et méthodes d’analyse variées, quantitatives et qualitatives. Les travaux résumés dans le deuxième chapitre traitent des transformations des carrières, des trajectoires de chômage et de l’effet des politiques de l’emploi sur celles-ci. Ils montrent d’abord une hausse, mais limitée, de la mobilité professionnelle et surtout une augmentation des passages par le chômage. Mes recherches se sont particulièrement intéressées aux situations de chômage durable et plus généralement d’exclusion économique et sociale, en mettant l’accent sur les représentations du marché du travail et modes de valorisation des compétences, qui sont pluriels mais peuvent entrer en tension causant des ruptures dans les parcours. L’analyse du champ des intermédiaires du marché du travail montre que leurs évaluations sont centrales et met l’accent sur le risque qu’une multiplication des « chaînes d’intermédiation » et une uniformisation des critères d’évaluation fait courir en termes de discrimination et d’exclusion durable de certains profils de demandeurs d’emploi. Enfin, ces travaux mettent en évidence une pluralité de parcours d’emploi et de chômage, même au sein de salariés partageant un même statut ou niveau d’emploi (salariés au Smic ou en contrats courts). On voit ainsi différents types de carrières se dessiner, dans des espaces de mobilités distincts, que les politiques de sécurisation des parcours professionnels étudiées (salaire minimum, formation professionnelle, indemnisation du chômage) peinent à infléchir.
Les travaux synthétisés dans le troisième chapitre ont d’abord mis en évidence les grandes évolutions des carrières, de génération en génération, et entre femmes et hommes. Ils montrent l’importance des phénomènes de transmission intergénérationnelle qui font perdurer les inégalités sociales. La plupart des lignées sont caractérisées par une forte reproduction et homogamie sociales, notamment aux deux extrêmes du gradient socioprofessionnel – les cadres et les ouvriers. Dans les lignées plus mobiles et qui sont dans une trajectoire ascendante, l’activité et la position socioprofessionnelle des mères s’avèrent déterminante. Malgré un certain rapprochement des carrières des femmes et des hommes, des différences importantes subsistent. Deux facteurs de ces inégalités sont analysés dans mes recherches : l’effet des politiques et modes d’organisation du travail dans les entreprises ; la question de l’articulation entre vie professionnelle et vie familiale. Les inégalités de genre persistantes dans la sphère domestique, même pour les plus jeunes générations où pourtant les normes égalitaires progressent, sont source de conflit important entre travail, ou formation, et parentalité pour les femmes, ce qui pèse sur leurs perspectives de promotions, leur bien-être et leur santé. Cependant, les données existantes peinent à saisir les évolutions les plus récentes dans ce domaine. Le dernier chapitre présente mes perspectives de recherche sur cette thématique, axées notamment sur la réalisation et l’exploitation d’une enquête statistique inédite.

Abstract. The research presented in this Accreditation to Supervise Research thesis all deals with careers. The first chapter presents the main features of my work, in terms of theoretical and methodological approaches. My research adopts an institutionalist, multi-disciplinary perspective, drawing on Economics of Convention, Segmentation and Life-Course theories, longitudinal data and a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis. The work summarized in the second chapter deals with career transformation, unemployment trajectories and the impact of employment policies on them. Firstly, they show an increase, albeit limited, in professional mobility and, above all, an increase in transitions to unemployment. My research has focused in particular on situations of long-term unemployment and, more generally, of economic and social exclusion, with particular emphasis on representations in the labor market and ways of valuing skills, which are plural but can come into tension, causing turning points in career paths. Analysis of the field of labor market intermediaries shows that their assessments are central, and highlights the risk that a multiplication of “intermediation chains” and standardization of evaluation criteria run in terms of discrimination and lasting exclusion of certain unemployed profiles. Finally, these studies highlight the plurality of employment and unemployment paths, even among employees sharing the same status or level of job (minimum wage earners or those on short contracts). Different types of career are thus taking shape, in distinct areas of mobility, which the career security policies studied (minimum wage, vocational training, unemployment benefits) are struggling to change.
The research summarized in the third chapter begins by highlighting the major changes in careers, from generation to generation, and between men and women. They show the importance of intergenerational transmission phenomena in perpetuating social inequalities. Most lineages are characterized by strong social reproduction and homogamy, particularly at the two extremes of the socio-professional gradient – managers and blue-collar workers. In more upwardly mobile lines, the activity and socio-professional position of the mothers is a determining factor. Despite some convergence in the careers of men and women, significant differences remain. Two factors in these inequalities are analyzed in my research: the effect of corporate policies and ways of organizing work, and the question of work-life balance issues. Persistent gender inequalities in the domestic sphere, even for the youngest generations where egalitarian norms are progressing, are a source of major conflict between work, or training, and parenthood for women, impacting their promotion prospects, well-being and health. However, existing data can’t capture the most recent developments regarding this issue. The final chapter presents my research perspectives on career and family issues, based in particular on the realization and exploitation of an innovative statistical survey.

Morality as Organizational Practice

Negotiating, Performing, and Navigating Moral Standards in Contexts of Work

Anke Bahl (2023)

In Sarah May, Stefan Groth & Johannes Müske (eds.), Morality as Organizational Practice. Negotiating, Performing, and Navigating Moral Standards in Contexts of Work. Münster: Waxmann, pp. 105-124.

Abstract. This chapter looks at morality as an organizational practice in the context of vocational training provided by a large German industrial company. Company A is a long-time player in a social training initiative of local firms and civic stakeholders. One aim is to prevent unemployment of young people in the region by offering additional apprenticeship placements. By pooling the resources of its members, the initiative can offer apprenticeship schemes in partnerships of up to eight changing companies. Tue program is aimed exclusively at candidates with placement barriers who have previously not been able to find a training place. Company A offers training sections of three to six months to them, and it does so in addition to its own apprenticeship programs. This practice provides some challenges since the dominant logic at work in the productive sector is a profit-oriented one. The argument made by two managers representing the training and a technical department of company A will be examined as examples. How do they explain and legitimize their involvement in this social initiative given their economically driven work environment? Furthermore, how do they defend their decision to drop and reject certain participants who do not show the expected behavior and ‘seize the opportunity’ so generously provided to them? Tue theoretical framework of the Economics and Sociology of Conventions (EC/SC) (Diaz-Bone, 2011, 2018; Diaz-Bone & Larquier, 2022) with its different worlds of social coordination will be tested for its applicability. Before looking at the narrative patterns of two interviews in detail, some prelim­inary remarks on the general context of initial in-company training in Germany and on the background to this case are necessary. Furthermore, the empirical situ­ation of the field visit will be introduced.

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Algorithmische Sortierungen. Eine neopragmatische Perspektive auf KI-gestützte Klassifikationen in der schulischen Bildung

Algorithmic sorting. A neopragmatic perspective on AI-supported classifications in school education

Andrea Isabel Frei, Mario Steinberg & KennethHorvath (2023)

In: Mandy Schiefner-Rohs, Sandra Hofhues & Andreas Breiter (eds.), Datafizierung (in) der Bildung. Kritische Perspektiven auf digitale Vermessung in pädagogischen Kontexten. Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 131-154. Open access

Abstract. Der Einsatz von Künstlicher Intelligenz in Schulkontexten hat für die Gestaltung von Bildungsbiografien und die Verteilung von Bildungschancen potenziell weitreichende Folgen. Der vorliegende Beitrag wirft die Frage auf, wie wir das Wechselspiel von sozialen Ungleichheiten, pädagogischer Praxis und KI-gestützten Technologien analytisch so fassen können, dass wir (ungewollte) Ungleichheitseffekte erklären können, ohne darauf zurückzufallen, involvierten Akteur:innen letztlich fehlende Einsicht in die Problematik oder gar Böswilligkeit zu unterstellen. Inspiriert von der neopragmatischen Soziologie der Kritik rücken wir Logiken und Praktiken der Klassifikation als Anker- und Ausgangspunkt einer solchen Perspektive in den Fokus. Im Fall ›algorithmischer Sortierungen‹ in Kontexten der schulischen Bildung sind diese Klassifikationspraktiken durch zwei Formen von Pluralität geprägt: erstens variierende Vorstellungen davon, was eine ›gute und gerechte Schule‹ ausmacht; zweitens divergierende Handlungslogiken in pädagogischen und technologischen Arbeitszusammenhängen. Aus dieser doppelten Pluralität ergeben sich spannungsreiche Konfigurationen, die verstehen helfen, wie sich in der Verkettung von Gestaltungs- und Nutzungsformen von Bildungstechnologien beharrliche Muster der Bildungsbenachteiligung halten und entfalten können.

Abstract. The use of artificial intelligence in school contexts has potentially far-reaching consequences for the design of educational biographies and the distribution of educational opportunities. This article raises the question of how we can analyze the interplay of social inequalities, pedagogical practice and AI-supported technologies in such a way that we can explain (unintended) inequality effects without falling back on accusing the actors involved of ultimately lacking insight into the problem or even malice. Inspired by the neo-pragmatic sociology of critique, we focus on logics and practices of classification as the anchor and starting point of such a perspective. In the case of ‘algorithmic sorting’ in contexts of school education, these classification practices are characterized by two forms of plurality: firstly, varying ideas of what constitutes a ‘good and just school’; secondly, divergent logics of action in pedagogical and technological work contexts. This double plurality results in tense configurations that help to understand how persistent patterns of educational disadvantage can persist and develop in the concatenation of forms of design and use of educational technologies.

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Die Kybernetisierung des Selbst. Digitale Selbstvermessung als kybernetische Selbstthematisierung

The cybernetization of the self. Digital self-measurement as cybernetic self-thematization

Eryk Noji (2024)

Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

PhD thesis. Supervisors and reviewers: Prof. Dr. Uwe Vormbusch (University of Hagen) and Prof. Dr. Hartmut Rosa (Universität of Jena)

Über das Buch. Die digitale Selbstvermessung ist eine neue Form der Selbstthematisierung an der Schnittstelle von Lebensführung, Technologie und digitalem Kapitalismus. Damit ist sie ein Barometer für die Denk- und Kontrollformen zeitgenössischer Technowissenschaftskultur. Eryk Noji untersucht die Frage, wie Selbstvermesser*innen ihre Apps und Geräte im Alltag situieren. Mit Hilfe der Selbstvermessung regulieren Nutzer*innen ihren Alltag flexibel im Sinne kybernetischer Kontrolle. Diese Kybernetisierung des Selbst knüpft die Aussicht auf individuelle Autonomie an die Technisierung von Feedback und wird von Noji in ihren Ambivalenzen diskutiert.

Auszug: “4.2 Ökonomie der Konventionen
Die Ökonomie der Konventionen gehört zu den erfolgreichen Entwicklungen der französischen Sozialwissenschaften in den letzten Jahrzehnten […]. Ursprünglich handelt es sich bei der EC um einen wirtschaftssoziologischen Ansatz, der auf Grundlage des französischen Pragmatismus mit klassischen ökonomischen Annahmen bricht. […] Die EC interessiert sich dafür, wie Akteure klassifizieren und kategorisieren und wie derartige Prozesse der Valorisierung von Konventionen beeinflusst werden. Da diese Prozesse besonders in Situationen deutlich hervorkommen, in denen Akteure der Kritik ausgesetzt sind und sich entsprechend rechtfertigen müssen, sind Boltanski und Thévenot (2014) in ihrem als Klassiker der EC und der Soziologie der Kritik geltenden Werk Über die Rechtfertigung der grundlegenden Frage nachgegangen, welche Anforderungen erfüllt werden müssen, wenn Ansprüchen in Disputen Legitimation verliehen werden soll. Sich gegenüber Kritik rechtfertigende Aktivitäten, so Thévenot (2014) zusammenfassend, werden so verstanden, dass sie die Allgemeinheit von Argumenten erhöhen und unterstützende Belege dafür liefern. Für diesen Generalisierungsprozess können sich Akteure auf Konventionen beziehen, d. h. auf Formen der Äquivalenz und Qualifikation (vgl. Boltanski/Thévenot 2014; Thévenot 2014; Diaz-Bone 2015).” (S. 111/113)

About the book. Digital self-measurement is a new form of self-thematization at the interface of lifestyle, technology and digital capitalism. It is thus a barometer for the forms of thought and control in contemporary technoscience culture. Eryk Noji examines the qestion of how self-measurers situate their apps and devices in everyday life. With the help of self-measurement, users flexibly regulate their everyday lives in terms of cybernetic control. This cybernetization of the self links the prospect of individual autonomy to the mechanization of feedback and is discussed by Noji in its ambivalences.

Extract: “4.2 The economics of convention
The economics of convention is one of the successful developments in the French social sciences in recent decades […]. Originally, the EC is an economic-sociological approach that breaks with classical economic assumptions on the basis of French pragmatism. […] EC is interested in how actors classify and categorize and how such processes of valorization are influenced by conventions. Since these processes are particularly evident in situations in which actors are exposed to criticism and have to justify themselves accordingly, Boltanski and Thévenot (2014), in their work On Justification, considered a classic of EC and the sociology of critique, explored the fundamental question of what requirements must be met if claims are to be given legitimacy in disputes. According to Thévenot (2014), activities that justify themselves in the face of criticism are understood as increasing the generality of arguments and providing supporting evidence for them. For this generalization process, actors can refer to conventions, i.e. forms of equivalence and qualification (cf. Boltanski/Thévenot 2014; Thévenot 2014; Diaz-Bone 2015).” (S. 111/113)

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The economics of conventions and healthcare

Philippe Batifoulier & Nicolas Da Silva (2024)

In David Primrose, Rodney D. Loeppky, Robin Chang (eds), The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of Health and Healthcare. London: Routledge.

Abstract. This chapter examines the institutionalist tradition of the economics of conventions (EoC) in the field of health and healthcare. It examines the EoC from its origins to its more recent development in order to demonstrate how it conceptualizes healthcare and health policy as strongly normative issues. Specifically, for the EoC, health is a domain in which a plurality of social values, habits, deontological and professional rules, and ethics are omnipresent and, when codified as conventions, function to determine the social trajectory of health processes. Accordingly, unlike neoclassical economics, the political economy of health and healthcare acknowledges such values as inherent to economic analysis and seeks to analyze their plural forms and performative implications in practice. In turn, based on a discussion on the concepts of marketization and industrialization, the chapter also presents a critical account of neoliberal policy concerning healthcare and health. It concludes by arguing that the EoC provides a powerful means for comprehending the conventions legitimizing capitalism, while pointing to the need to transcend the political-economic confines of this system in order to secure broader health and healthcare objectives.

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Expropriation by Law. Intellectual Property, Value and Labor

Christian Bessy (2024)

New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

English translation of “Expropriation par le droit. Propriété intellectuelle, valeur et travail

About the book. Placing himself at the crossroads of economics, law, and sociology, Christian Bessy investigates the contemporary transformation of intellectual property rights (IPR) with the emergence of new conventions for their valuation. He demonstrates how things previously considered inappropriate have now become the object of property rights by means of a creeping legal codification.
The book examines how the extension of IPRs has given rise to new forms of expropriation of the wealth produced, allowing companies to protect their investments in intangible assets. Presenting an original basis of legal disputes and decisions concerning the attribution of IPRs, chapters illustrate that patents are at the heart of the economic development of multinationals, start-ups, and the rise of new technologies. Bessy traces the contours of the appropriation of intellectual creation and the new class of lawyers who participate in it, drawing a portrait of contemporary capitalism in which the grip of law threatens the pioneers of innovation.
Challenging the mainstream thinking dominating the theoretical literature on IPRs, Expropriation by Law will be an essential text for postgraduate students and researchers of the economics of innovation and IP law. Its original empirical analysis will also prove insightful to industrial economists, policymakers, IP lawyers and innovation managers in cultural and creative industries.

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