Education and Conventions

Christian Imdorf & Regula Julia Leemann (2023)

In Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (eds.), Handbook of economics and sociology of conventions. Cham: Springer, Online first

Abstract. This contribution provides a research overview of how the economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) are applied in the field of education. It reviews European research from various disciplines like sociology, educational sciences, science studies, political science, and social work. The empirical studies cover institutions such as schools, vocational education and training, and higher or adult education; topics such as the transition from school to work, curricula, or professional practices; challenges such as inequalities or digitization; or phenomena like governance and reform in education. After an introduction that summarizes the main methodological differences to common theoretical approaches in educational sociology, the review continues by systematizing conventions in education on the basis of the work of, among others, Luc Boltanski, Laurent Thévenot, and Jean-Louis Derouet. The chapter then proposes three complementary approaches to convention theory in the field of education. The first perspective understands conventions as orders of justification and principles of justice. It serves to analyze how inequality is performed, how justice is disputed, and how inclusion is justified. The second approach conceptualizes conventions as orders of worth and principles of quality. It allows to understand how quality comes into being through (e)valuation and how recruiting and selection of students is enacted by practices of classification. The third view conceives of conventions as grammars of action and forms of coordination. It provides a path toward explaining processes of educational institutionalization and resistance to organizational reforms or mechanisms of educational governance. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the general potential of EC/SC for educational research and on future lines of empirical, theoretical, and methodological work.

Lien / Link

Law in Convention Theory: Regulation in Regularities

Christian Bessy & Claude Didry (2023)

In Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (eds.), Handbook of economics and sociology of conventions. Cham: Springer, Online first

Abstract. Law has been considered in the approach of economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) as a tool enabling the actors to consolidate the regularity they aim for in their coordination. The first part presents the specific perspective on law that EC/SC develops, renewing institutionalist approaches in economics and sociology. It underlines the distinction between legal rules and behaviors, and suggests a conception of law as a frame for collective actions. The second part analyzes the place of law in economics and sociology of conventions as it emerges in the first works of this approach, and evokes the conception of law as an investment in form. The third part considers court action as a possible break in the continuity of conventions, from a “regime of adjusted actions” to a “regime of dispute in justice.” The fourth part sheds light on the historical dynamics of law, using the example of labor law in a perspective of several “worlds of law.” The fifth part presents the critical character of recent research, in face of the neoliberal de-institutionalization.

Lien / Link

Toutes les valeurs sont des espèces d’un même genre

En raison du blocage des bâtiments de l’université Paris Nanterre ce mardi 21 mars, le séminaire RESPIR de cet après-midi est reporté à une date qui vous sera communiquée dès que possible.

All values are species of the same kind

André Orléan (2023)

Séminaire RESPIR (Recherches en Economie et Socioéconomie Politique, des Institutions et des Régulations) organisé par Sophie Harnay, Alexandre Chirat, Laurence Scialom & Fabrice Tricou

21/03/2023,13:30 – 15:15

Université Paris Nanterre (6ème étage, salle G614B) ou lien Zoom :

La discussion sera assurée par Baptiste Bridonneau (ENS Paris Saclay)

Il senso morale. Studio sulle convenzioni sociali nella sfera d’azione della reciprocità. Il caso della sperimentazione Mag6 sul Reddito di Esistenza universale ed incondizionato

Moral sense. A study of social conventions in the sphere of action of reciprocity. The case of the Mag6 experiment on universal and unconditional Existence Income

Simone Michelangelo Muzzioli (2022)

PhD thesis. Verona: University of Verona

Coordinatore: Domenico Secondulfo
Tutor: Giorgio Gosetti

Abstract. The aim of this research is to investigate the moral sense in its subjective and collective forms, through the analysis of the empiric manifestations their interaction produces: the social conventions. Particularly, our goal has been focused on the comprehension of the social coordination, that is to say the study of the ways social actors find an agreement on their conducts, both explicitly and implicitly. Therefore, we took advantage from the theoretical equipment made available by the School of the Economy of the Conventions (and especially from the main works of its founders, Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot). In fact, we have recognized the relevance for sociological research to put more strength on the relevance of the role of subjective moral sense in the explanation of social action in advanced capitalist societies. That is why it has been assumed as the main object of our research. But this assumption has not been clear right from the beginning of this study. Tracing an ironic parallel with our object, it has rather been the outcome of a process. Thus, it took shape a three steps sociological research. In the first phase, we could understood the symbolic level of our research and, consequently, draft its design, thanks to an exploratory grounded theory analysis. In the second one, we found a profitable case study by which conduct our core analysis on moral sense. In the third, we come to an end of our work, providing for a beneficial interpretation of the main findings. We have applied this theoretical approach and this research pathway to the pragmatic issues springing from the contemporary socioeconomic crisis. To this end, we have recognized our work field in those social conventions featuring the universe of meanings stemming from the overlapping of two different kinds of social phenomena: the paradigmatic shifts of the capitalist system and the contemporary shrinking of Welfare State. We have read the intertwining among the technological transformations, the globalizing exchanges, the scarcity and the precarization of labor and the reduction of social protection devices as driving elements of renewed social question. In the space shaped by this social question find place the conflict between the common concept of fordist work and the availability of a decent income for individual life building. In general terms, we have become aware of how this space represents for the collective imaginary a symbolic arena, that we called the common world of wealth redistribution, where people define their reciprocity relationships, both materially and culturally. By the study of the justifications populating this common world (social conventions and their related principles of justice), it has been possible to highlight how there exists basically two different forms of the collective moral sense ruling the reciprocity sphere: the distinctive, and the similarity one. Moreover, both forms are ascribable to an anthropological approach that every social actors shows when he is called to judge the generalized other. Both forms are made by two different sets of social conventions, which each one calls for a diverse anthropological approach. On one side, the distinctive form is featured by selective and conditional conventions, on the other, the similarity one is made up by universal and unconditional conventions. Reckoning also with the role played by the universal equivalent (money) in the objectification of our actors redistributive bonds, we could recognize how the existing need for reciprocity (belonging to both forms) can be collectively satisfied also by a redistributive way apparently exchange free (Universal and Unconditional Basic Income). In fact, we took advantage of an empirical case of study (the Mag6 affaire), where an experimentation of unconditional cash transfer has been carried on by an heterogeneous group of people on two different, but strictly linked, levels of reality: the reflexive and the practical. Methodologically, we used a mixed method for data collection and their analysis. This method is known in literature as simultaneous nested research design. Thanks to this, we succeeded in exploring two different aspects of the moral sense. The qualitative one is related to the composition of its nature and of its dynamic model of transformation. Instead, the quantitative one has helped us to explore the existence of possible associations between social conventions and actors’ socioeconomic characteristics. From both this moment we got several kinds of outcomes useful, not only to describe moral sense and its dynamic, but also to stress the contradictions related to social action that arise from the clash between people’ believes (collective moral sense) and what they believe in (subjective moral sense). Finally, these outcomes have been used to satisfy our initial aim of finding elements to expand the social knowledge at our disposal to cope with contemporary social question. Thus, we conclude the third and last phase of our work through the exposition of three different types of operative conjectures, by which our findings can be employed. We made some reflections and suggestion, severally, at the heuristic level, at the theoretical and at the practical one. Specifically, we observed how a sociological reading of our outcomes opens up to some new research pathways, to different deep theoretical considerations on social phenomena (like identity, integration and reciprocity) and, last but not least, to some political and operational involvements.

Lien / Link

Una calidad sostenible? Las Denominaciones de Origen en la transición hacia la sostenibilidad

A sustainable quality? Appellations of Origin in the transition to sustainability

Ana Esquinas (2023)

PHD thesis. St. Gallen: University of St. Gallen.

Sánchez, Yvette (Prof. Dr.) (Referent)
Sánchez, Luis (Prof. Dr.) (Koreferent)

Resumen. La sostenibilidad se ha convertido en una meta para todos los sistemas que cumplen una función social. Dentro de los sistemas agroalimentarios, el mundo del vino también experimenta esta presión. España es uno de los países más relevantes dentro del sector vitivinícola y ha sufrido una profunda transformación orientándose hacia un sistema de calidad basado en las denominaciones de origen. Tomando como caso de estudio las Denominaciones de Origen Protegidas de Ribera del Duero y Rueda, cuya gran reputación actual se basa en la estrategia de diferenciación por la calidad de sus vinos, ligada al origen y la tradición, investigo la potencial transición hacia la sostenibilidad de la denominación de origen como sistema sociotécnico, combinando los marcos teóricos de la perspectiva multinivel (Estudios de Transición) y la Teoría de las Convenciones. Mediante el análisis del discurso de diferentes grupos de actores asociados a la DO, argumento la existencia de un cambio en curso que sigue una trayectoria lenta de transformación. Sostengo que está relacionado con la debilidad de la demanda, orientada a la calidad, pero que aún no solicita claramente el atributo de sostenibilidad dentro de sus exigencias, lo que desincentiva la implementación de iniciativas ante el riesgo de desalinear la oferta con las exigencias de los consumidores. Las innovaciones de nicho, como la producción de vino natural, aún no están suficientemente desarrolladas. Se hallan bloqueos para la transición en el nivel del funcionamiento de la Denominación de Origen, cuyo papel en materia de sostenibilidad podría ser mucho más relevante.

Abstract. Sustainability has become a goal for all systems that fulfill a social function. Within agri-food systems, the world of wine is also experiencing this pressure. Spain is one of the most relevant countries in the wine sector and has undergone a profound transformation towards a quality system based on appellations of origin. Taking as a case study the Protected Designations of Origin of Ribera del Duero and Rueda, whose great current reputation is based on the strategy of differentiation by the quality of their wines, linked to origin and tradition, I investigate the potential transition towards the sustainability of the appellation of origin as a socio-technical system, combining the theoretical frameworks of the multilevel perspective (Transition Studies) and the Theory of Conventions. By analyzing the discourse of different groups of actors associated with the AO, I argue the existence of an ongoing change that follows a slow trajectory of transformation. I argue that it is related to the weakness of demand, which is quality-oriented, but still does not clearly request the attribute of sustainability within its requirements, which discourages the implementation of initiatives at the risk of misaligning supply with consumer demands. Niche innovations, such as natural wine production, are not yet sufficiently developed. Blockages to the transition are found at the level of the functioning of the Appellation of Origin, whose role in terms of sustainability could be much more relevant.

Link / Lien

„Eigentlich war es immer sonnenklar.“ Zur Invisibilisierung von formaler Organisation in Bewertungspraktiken

It was pretty much always clear as daylight.” On the invisibilization of formal organization in valuation practices

Gabriele Wagner, Juan S. Guse & Monika Hasenbruch, (2023)

Berliner Journal für Soziologie, Online first. Open access

Zusammenfassung. Der Beitrag knüpft an eine aktuelle Debatte in der Bewertungssoziologie an, indem er sich der soziologischen Modellierung von Transsituativität in Bewertungspraktiken widmet. Während bisherige bewertungssoziologische Arbeiten mehrheitlich ihren Fokus auf spezifische Situationen legen, in denen Akteur:innen intersubjektiv aushandeln, was warum wie wertvoll ist, plädiert der Beitrag für den analytischen Gewinn eines organisationssoziologischen Zugangs. Formale Organisation, so wird gezeigt, setzt durch das Bereitstellen von Personen, Regeln und Infrastrukturen transsituative Wechselwirkungen zwischen den beteiligten Akteur:innen in Gang, die Bewertungsentscheidungen grundlegend prägen – und zwar in einer Weise, die nur im Kontext formaler Organisation möglich ist. Empirische Grundlage des Beitrags ist eine Studie zu Auswahlverfahren an zwei renommierten Kunsthochschulen. Anhand dieser Studie wird verdeutlicht, wie im Kontext formaler Organisation gegensätzliche Wertlogiken – in diesem Fall von Auswahlkommission und Verwaltung – trotz aller behaupteter Rivalitäten konfliktvermeidendend verwoben werden. Das Fazit lautet, dass Bewertungen sich im Kontext formaler Organisation nur nach außen überhaupt nur als „Situationen“ darstellen, indem ihre inhärente Organisationsförmigkeit von den Beteiligten gekonnt unsichtbar gehalten wird – und zwar mit den Mitteln der formalen Organisation.

Abstract. The article ties in with a current debate in the sociology of valuation by addressing the sociological modeling of transsituativity in valuation practices. While previous work has mostly focused on specific situations in which actors intersubjectively negotiate what is valuable and how and why, the paper advocates the analytical gain of an organizational sociology approach. It demonstrates that formal organization, by providing people, rules, and infrastructure, initiates transsituative interactions between involved actors that fundamentally shape valuation decisions—in a way that is possible only in the context of formal organization. The empirical basis of the article is a study on selection procedures at two renowned art schools. Based on this study, it is shown how, in the context of formal organization, opposing logics of value—in this case those of the selection committee vs. those of the administration—are interwoven in a conflict-avoiding manner despite all alleged rivalries. Against this background, the article concludes that valuations in the context of formal organization present themselves as “situations” only because their inherent organizational form is skillfully kept invisible by the participants—with the means of formal organization.

Lien / Link

The Structure of Common Sense and Its Relation to Engagement and Social Change – A Pragmatist Account

Srđan Prodanović (2022)

Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 51(3), pp. 211-226. Open access.

Abstract. There are three approaches one can take toward the epistemic value of common sense. The pessimists will argue that common sense, due to its intrinsic tendency to reproduce prejudice and ideology, should somehow be displaced. Conversely, the optimist will maintain that common sense is a valuable type of knowledge because it prevents us from overlooking evident practical problems. This article aims to show that (a) neither of these two widespread accounts can explain why public invocation of common sense is, in fact, a reliable indicator that the reproduction of norms and rules of a given society is in crisis, and is therefore essentially a call for social engagement. And, more importantly, that (b) only the third, pragmatist approach to common sense can provide insight into its structure. This more diversified and interdisciplinary view can, in turn, shed new light on the relation between everyday knowledge and social theory.

Lien / Link

Towards an ontology of contemporary reality?

Simon Susen (2023)

Theory, Culture and Society. Special Section: Boltanski-Esquerre on Enrichment, Online first, open access

Abstract. The main purpose of this paper is to provide a critical overview of the key contributions made by Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre in Qu’est-ce que l’actualité politique? Événements et opinions aux XXIe siècle. Whereas Enrichment: A Critique of Commodities is essentially a study in economic sociology, Boltanski and Esquerre’s latest book reflects a shift in emphasis towards political sociology. As demonstrated in this paper, their inquiry into the ontologie de l’actualité – that is, the ontology of contemporary reality – contains valuable insights into the relationship between the production, circulation, and consumption of news, on the one hand, and the emergence of processes of politicization, on the other. The first half of this paper comprises a summary of the central arguments developed in Boltanski and Esquerre’s investigation, before moving, in the second half, to an assessment of its most significant limitations.

Lien / Link

‘Enrichment’ as a Pragmatist and Structuralist Contribution to Economic Sociology: Perspectives on the Approach of Economics and Sociology of Conventions

Rainer Diaz-Bone (2023)

Theory, Culture and Society. Special Section: Boltanski-Esquerre on Enrichment, Online first, open access.

Abstract. The article discusses main contributions and results of the monograph Enrichment: A Critique of Commodities, written by the French sociologists Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre. Boltanski and Esquerre focus on the strategy to transform ‘the past’ (patrimony, luxury objects, tradition, collections) into new sources of richness. The book focuses on valuation forms and valuation discourses. Enrichment links Boltanski’s work again to the socio-economic movement of the economics and sociology of conventions (in short, EC/SC), which is part of the new French social sciences and regards conventions as logics of valuation and interpretation. This approach of EC/SC is introduced as a frame to evaluate the recombination of pragmatism and structuralism which is proposed by Boltanski and Esquerre. Finally, open questions and desiderata are addressed from the standpoint of EC/SC.

Lien / Link

An Interview with Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre on Enrichment: A Critique of Commodity

Rainer Diaz-Bone (2023)

Theory, Culture and Society. Special Section: Boltanski-Esquerre on Enrichment, Online first, open access

Abstract. In this interview, Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre introduce their book Enrichment and core concepts for the analysis of new developments in contemporary capitalism. The study focuses the analysis of the enrichment economy, which is grasped as a new form to explore and exploit ‘the past’ as a source for capitalist profits. The interview presents forms of valuation, which are more general principles of how value and prices can be ascribed to goods. The approach of Boltanski and Esquerre assumes an organized plurality of such forms of valuation. Also, the two sociologists stress the importance of discourses of valuation, which bring these forms of valuation into operation. As the interview makes evident, one major aim is to present a new perspective on the relationship between values, prices, and practices how prices are legitimatized or criticized on the basis of discourses of valuation. The interview situates Enrichment in the context of other contemporary sociological works, which focus on the economic core issue of value and valuation. The book can also be recognized as a proposal to reconcile structuralism and pragmatism in sociology. At the end of the interview, the more recent outcomes of the continuing collaborative work of Boltanski and Esquerre after Enrichment are discussed.

Lien / Link

The Global South, Albert Hirschman, and Convention Theory

Juliette Alenda-Demoutiez & Bruno Boidin (2023)

In Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (eds.), Handbook of economics and sociology of conventions. Cham: Springer, Online first

Abstract. This chapter, given over to the application of economics and sociology of conventions to countries of the Global South, begins with an outline of the tradition shared by convention theory and heterodox development economics (Sect. 2). The overview of this shared vision takes as its starting point the work of Albert Otto Hirschman, one of the most influential economists in the heterodox strand of development economics. Section 3 illustrates the relevance of applying convention theory to the countries of the Global South, taking the example of three sectors that are particularly crucial in the field of development, namely, healthcare, energy, and food. Finally, in Sect. 4, the argument is widened by showing what convention theory contributes to development economics and what the countries of the Global South have contributed to the framework in terms of conventions. Several areas of progress are highlighted, such as perceptive studies of the relations between actors with different values, analyses of global power relations, and the questioning of the dominant paradigms by means of a pragmatic rather than overarching empirical method.

Lien / Link

Compte rendu de “L’expropriation par le droit. Propriété intellectuelle, valeur et travail” de Christian Bessy

Review of “Expropriation by Law. Intellectual property, value and work” by Christian Bessy

Fabien Girard (2023)

Droit et Société, Online

Introduction. “Les travaux sur l’extension continue de la propriété industrielle à de nouveaux objets (avec la spectaculaire consécration du brevet sur le vivant dans les années 1980), « l’embastillage cognitif » auquel aboutissent la portée toujours plus grande des brevets, l’érosion des exceptions à la brevetabilité et le rétrécissement du domaine public, se comptent désormais en grand nombre, surtout dans le monde anglo-américain. L’ouvrage de Christian Bessy, économiste et directeur de recherche au CNRS, apporte une contribution complémentaire qui, loin d’être une simple synthèse ou une actualisation de la littérature disponible, ouvre de nouvelles pistes de réflexion qui seront d’un grand intérêt pour les intellectualistes, ainsi que pour les sociologues et économistes de l’innovation. L’ouvrage L’expropriation par le droit. Propriété intellectuelle, valeur et travail reprend les grands thèmes classiques de ce que l’on appellera la littérature critique de la propriété industrielle, mais offre une vision souvent beaucoup plus nuancée qui tient à la fois à l’ancrage théorique dans l’économie des conventions, à la méthodologie qui fait la part belle à l’interdisciplinarité (économie, bien sûr, mais aussi droit, sociologie et histoire), à la méthode de l’entretien et à l’analyse statistique, et à une approche du droit qui est qualifiée « d’endogène », sur laquelle nous reviendrons.”

Introduction. “There is now a large body of work, especially in the Anglo-American world, on the continuous extension of industrial property to new objects (with the spectacular consecration of the patent on living organisms in the 1980s), the “cognitive hijacking” to which the ever-increasing scope of patents leads, the erosion of exceptions to patentability and the shrinking of the public domain. The book by Christian Bessy, economist and director of research at the CNRS, makes a complementary contribution which, far from being a simple synthesis or update of the available literature, opens up new avenues of reflection which will be of great interest to intellectualists, as well as to sociologists and economists of innovation. L’expropriation par le droit. Propriété intellectuelle, valeur et travail” (Expropriation by law. Intellectual property, value and work) takes up the major classical themes of what will be called the critical literature on industrial property, but offers a vision that is often much more nuanced, due to its theoretical anchoring in the economics of conventions, to its methodology, which gives pride of place to interdisciplinarity (economics, of course, but also law, sociology and history), to the method of interviews and statistical analysis, and to an approach to law that is described as “endogenous”, to which we will return.”

Lien / Link

The Ordering of Green Values. Ecological Justification in Public Fracking Controversies in Germany and Poland

Claudia Foltyn, Reiner Keller & Matthias S. Klaes (2023)

Nature & Culture, 18(1), pp. 88-125. Open access.

Abstract. The article presents a comparative study of shale gas media debates in Germany and Poland. Drawing from the Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse (SKAD), it addresses discursive conflicts over the use of hydraulic fracturing and its environmental impacts in both countries. The authors relate their analysis to the theoretical debate that emerged in the 1990s in French sociology concerning the question of “green justifications” that form a specific way of how social actors intervene, dispute, and build compromises in public discussions to protect non-human entities. Referring to these discussions, this article identifies several ecological justification clusters and the associated social actors that are ‘compromised’ or enclosed in existing orders of worth.

Lien / Link

Justifying creative work. Norwegian business support and the conflicting narratives of creative industries

Åsne Dahl Haugsevje (2022)

Cultural Trends. Online first

Abstract. The article explores and unfolds the conflicting narratives of the work and competences of creatives in the era of creative industries. Based on a French pragmatic approach, the analysis sheds light on a mismatch between how bureaucrats in the Norwegian business support system valuate creative work, and how creatives valuate their own work. I find that the bureaucrats mobilise a narrow and stereotyped grammar when talking of creative work, while the creatives themselves seem to express far more complex and pragmatic understandings. I argue that the Norwegian creative industries policy seems to have limited capacity to embrace the hybridity and complexity of creative work, which also reduces its relevance and accuracy. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with creatives and bureaucrats on a local level and contributes to the knowledge on the individual bureaucrats as non-creative outsiders, but still, actors highly significant to creative industries.

Lien / Link

Finance’s Wrong Turns. A New Foundation for Financial Markets, Asset Management, and Social Science

Richard O. Michaud (2023)

Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

About the book. There is a foundational crisis in financial theory and professional investment practice: There is little, if any, credible evidence that active investment strategies and traditional institutional quantitative technologies are able to provide superior risk-adjusted, cost-adjusted return over investment relevant horizons.
Economic and financial theory has been in error for more than fifty years and is the fundamental cause of the persistent ineffectiveness of professional asset management. Contemporary sociological and economic theory, agent-based modeling, and an appreciation of the social context for preference theory provides a rational and intuitive framework for understanding financial markets and economic behavior.  The author narrates his long-term experience in the use and limitations of traditional tools of quantitative asset management as an institutional asset manager in practice and as a quantitative analyst and strategist on Wall Street.  Monte Carlo simulation methods, modern statistical tools, and U.S. patented innovations are introduced to redefine portfolio optimality and procedures for enhanced professional asset management.  A new social context for expected utility theory leads to a novel understanding of modern equity markets as a financial intermediary for purchasing power constant time-shift investing uniquely appropriate for meeting investor long-term investment objectives.
This book addresses the limitations and indicated resolutions for more useful financial theory and more reliable asset management technology. In the process, it traces the major historical developments of theory and institutional asset management practice and their limitations over the course of the 20th century to the present, including Markowitz and the birth of modern finance, CAPM theory and emergence of institutional quantitative asset management, CAPM and VM theory limitations and ineffective iconic tools and strategies, and innovations in statistical methodologies and financial market theory.

Excerpt: “Negative and Positive Feedback Markets
Orléan (2014) is a contemporary economist whose views are heavily influenced by Keynes’ sociological framework for financial markets and Knight’s concept of economic uncertainty. His perspective of financial markets questions the importance of objective or fundamental value for security pricing. Orléan argues that liquidity in an equity market is the primary justification for price. His rationale focuses on a parsing of the characteristics of negative and positive feedback capital markets.” (p. 114)

Lien / Link