E-Health and the Digitization of Health

Karolin Eva Kappler (2022)

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

In recent years, the digitization of health has spread widely and inspired an increasing number of publications based on Economics and Sociology of Conventions (EC/SC). Telemedicine, e-health, digital health, smart health, big data, and robotics are just some of the buzzwords and concepts under which this development is observed and discussed. The present article gives an overview of theoretical and empirical research about the role of digital technologies in health and the dynamics of datafication and valorization of health from an EC/SC perspective. EC/SC and its theoretical concepts – such as intermediaries, investment in form, and the statistical chain – provide a range of useful tools to study digital health technologies and practices. This pragmatic perspective focuses on situations and intersections of collective and individual logics of coordination, offering new insights into emerging and ongoing conflicts in the field of digitization and especially e-health. Further and enlarging the scope of research fields in EC/SC, health digitization enhances the visibility of regimes of engagement, by inducing a distancing from public justifications.
Studying complex material and immaterial arrangements in the digitization of health, EC/SC contributes to the ongoing discussions in related fields such as Science and Technology Studies, Critical Data Studies, or ethical discussions on e-health. Insights in EC/SC research may enlighten the elementary function of objects, technologies, and most importantly intermediaries in the context of e-health. As a practical consequence, research progresses in all fields and uncovers the fragmentation and unavailability of health for users, as well as health organizations, professionals, and decision-makers.

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Green Justification and Environmental Movements

Laura Centemeri (2022)

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

Abstract. This chapter discusses the contribution of the economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) to the study of environmental movements. The first section briefly reviews how EC/SC has contributed to a renewal in the study of collective action by relating it to processes of social construction of public problems. An examination of how actors succeed in turning their “private troubles” into “public issues” reveals that the observable diversity of environmental movements can be explained by the diversity of ways in which (1) material dependencies matter to people and (2) people try to have these concerns legitimized. As illustrated by the debates on “green justification,” some arguments on the value of the environment relativize the political weight of the notion of justifiable social order in favor of the notions of ecosystem and biosphere and consequently challenge the “grammar of justification.” Ecological arguments can also highlight the importance of “familiar attachments” as a specific source of emplaced valuations. In contrast to reductive frameworks (e.g., the NIMBY, “not in my backyard,” syndrome), EC/SC takes into account not only how actors try to manage orders of worth, interest-based valuations, and familiar attachments in arguments about the value of the environment but also how they succeed or fail in having them recognized as publicly relevant. The final section discusses how EC/SC enables comparative and historical analyses of environmental movements, conflicts, and controversies and how it helps to shed light on the transformation of critique in an increasingly interconnected but still diverse world.

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Socialism Order of Worth and Analytical Adequacy Axiom

Christian Schneijderberg (2022)

Human Studies, Online first. Open access

Abstract. Boltanski and Thévenot (On justification. Economies of worth, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2006) constructed in their seminal work On Justification the Orders of Worth (OW) framework as a research program for further empirical and theoretical development. This article suggests two methodological additions to extend the analytical capacities of the OW framework: The Socialism OW and the analytical adequacy axiom. The polito-philosophical Socialism OW, which acknowledges ‘(collective) welfare’ as its mode of evaluation (worth) and the higher principle of ‘solidarity’ as its test, is rooted in the political philosophy of Rosanvallon (The society of equals, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2013). In addition to the systematic justification of the canonical text, this article also offers a tabular presentation for the construction of a new OW in relation to the axioms. In the article, first, the existing OW are put under scrutiny discussing the test category of solidarity, which was added and creates an analytic overload for the Civic OW. Second, analyzing the case of the German binary statutory health system, comprising of a private (first-class) and a public (second-class) healthcare, the capacities of the existing OW are discussed to identify a blank spot in the OW framework for empirical analysis. Accordingly, the descriptive analysis of the German binary health system is less about how the system is justified, and much more about understanding how given OW operate within it as coordinative devices. This systematic analysis of a situation of (temporary) agreements, especially of investments in forms, amends the OW use for empirical analysis of critique and justification in a situation.

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Exemplary Directors, European Imports, and the Changing Valuation of Films in Hollywood, 1961–1980

Erwin Dekker & Julien Gradoz (2022)

Cultural Sociology, Online first

Abstract. This article utilizes a novel empirical strategy, the study of exemplars, to investigate the transformation of quality conventions in the film industry during the 1960s and 1970s. Exemplars are films or directors which are used as a reference point (focal points) in the evaluation of other movies or directors. We use an original dataset of movie reviews to examine the changing quality conventions and demonstrate that during the investigated period, movies are increasingly treated as singular artistic products. This shift, around the rise of auteur theory and New Hollywood, has been analyzed by others but we provide a more fine-grained analysis of the transformation and are able to demonstrate the neglected importance of cultural trade: the import of European films. We provide evidence that these changes lead to a period of increased quality uncertainty, before a new quality regime becomes established. We explore how such qualitative changes in the market could impact industrial organization and product differentiation in the movie industry, and demonstrate how the analysis of such qualitative changes can complement existing quantitative studies of the movie industry and the determinants of film success, both economically and artistically.

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Reading cases of local quality of life assessment as incomplete and socio-politically contentious practices

Luigi Doria (2022)

Quality and Quantity, Online first

Abstract. Quality of life represents one of the most relevant and controversial issues in the contemporary socio-economic and political scene. This paper examines local quality of life projects from a peculiar viewpoint. It does not primarily focus on the methodological debates on measurement but concentrates instead on two macro-issues: the socio-political implications of the assessment of quality of life and the peculiar incompleteness and precariousness that characterize many calculative exercises in that field. The case analysed are anomalous in respect to mainstream scientific practices: in fact, they concern an international ranking of cities according to liveability and a project aimed at the participatory assessment of local well-being. These cases are examined through the lens of the sociological debates on the processes of qualification, with specific reference to the convention theory and the studies on the economy of qualities grounded in the actor-network theory. Reading the experiences from that theoretical perspective provides important indications on the relationships between forms of knowledge, agency and power, on the controversial impacts of market logics on the public sphere and on the risk of a calculative rationalization of local knowledge. Moreover, the paper demonstrates that such issues manifest themselves not only in the initial intentions and rationales of the projects but in what the latter become through the continuous transformation of their paths and the re-framing of their boundaries – a phenomenon that may be seen as linked to the peculiar “elusiveness” of quality of life as a calculable object.

Extract: “The attention will be concentrated, in particular, on two different strands of thoughts which deal with qualification practices: the convention theory (Boltanski and Thévenot 1991; Thévenot 2002a; 2015; 2019) and its contributions on the conventional qualification (and quantification) of social phenomena and the studies on the economy of qualities and on markets as calculative devices developed within the frame of the actor-network theory (Callon et al. 2002; Callon and Muniesa 2005).” (p. 6)

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Understanding Finance Through Convention Theory

Yamina Tadjeddine (2022)

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

Abstract. The use of conventions in finance stems from the uncertainty about the future state of the economy, companies, states, and markets. Under these conditions, economic theory would require everyone to resort to subjective probabilities and idiosyncratic anticipations. The presence of this uncertainty could discourage any market commitment. However, the observation of financial reality contradicts this theoretical vision of individuals calculating in isolation and the theoretical absence of trade in this informational context. This is because actors in financial markets mobilize conventions to escape individual uncertainty. Nothing in the financial markets is “natural”; therefore, the framework proposed by the economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) is particularly well adapted to reveal it and understand it. The main result of EC/SC or convention theory is to base the equilibrium price on collective constructions linked to individual and social interactions. It is possible to distinguish financial convention stemming from the theoretical Keynesian tradition to those more empirical with which aims to identify the social constructions. The first current has made it possible to theorize the origin of financial instability as the alternation of shared bullish and bearish beliefs. The second gives empirical legitimacy to the financial conventions: conventions devoted to evaluation and conventions for coordination. The mobilization of these two approaches allows a complete understanding of financial regulation: observation allows us to understand the origin of a convention, and modelling with the use of mimicry allows us to understand price dynamics.

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Convention Theory and the Governance of Global Value Chains

Stefano Ponte (2022)

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

Abstract. Convention theory has been a key analytical contributor to the understanding of global value chain governance, both through engagements with the original Boltanski and Thévenot’s realms of justification and with Eymard-Duvernay’s typologies of quality conventions. This chapter reveals the genesis of these contributions and adaptations as both convention theory and global value chain analysis developed in the past two to three decades. It also examines how convention theory has indirectly contributed to recent work on power in global value chains and provides some directions for a future research agenda.

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L’appariement par l’image Comment les applications mobiles géolocalisées déplacent le cadre des rencontres en ligne

Matching by image. How location-based mobile apps are shifting the online dating landscape

Emmanuel Kessous (2022)

In: Melchior Simioni & Philippe Steiner (eds.), Comment ça matche. Une sociologie de l’appariement. Paris: Presses de Science Po, pp. 139-167

Extrait : “Il est donc primordial d’en passer par une étude quasi ergonomique du design si l’on veut comprendre la manière dont l’action est orientée par les concepteurs. Une approche par les régimes d’engagement (Thévenot, 2006) permet de prendre en compte la cohérence de l’action et des objets qui la portent, sans en rester à une opposition binaire entre la rationalité (du marché) d’une part et les affects d’autre part. Il ne s’agit pas de choisir entre déterminisme social ou déterminisme technologique mais de reconnaître, ici, que les actions humaines, tout en étant libres, sont encadrées à la fois par les propriétés des objets et celles des personnes. Quelques caractéristiques doivent être soulignées dans cette perspective. Les sites de rencontre se développent à un moment où les rapports hommes/femmes sont redéfinis et où notre rapport au temps est accéléré. Ces dispositifs de rencontre renvoient à une forme de gouvernementalité des pratiques (Foucault, 2004) : les célibataires sont incités à prendre en main leur sexualité, comme ils doivent s’occuper de leur santé ou prendre en charge leur développement personnel. Les utilisateurs doivent également effectuer un travail de présentation de soi les conduisant à des matchs et à des interactions communicationnelles dans lesquelles ils explorent les possibilités avec d’éventuels prétendants. Des conventions émergent de l’usage des sites avec lesquelles les utilisateurs apprennent à se repérer.“ (p. 165)

Extract: “It is therefore essential to go through a quasi-ergonomic study of design if we want to understand the way in which action is oriented by designers. An approach based on the regimes of engagement (Thévenot, 2006) allows us to take into account the coherence of the action and the objects that carry it, without remaining in a binary opposition between rationality (of the market) on the one hand and affects on the other. It is not a question of choosing between social determinism or technological determinism, but of recognizing, here, that human actions, while being free, are framed by both the properties of objects and those of people. A few characteristics must be underlined in this perspective. Dating sites are developing at a time when male/female relationships are being redefined and our relationship to time is accelerating. These dating devices refer to a form of governmentality of practices (Foucault, 2004): singles are encouraged to take charge of their sexuality, just as they must take charge of their health or their personal development. Users are also required to perform a self-presentation task leading them to matches and communicative interactions in which they explore possibilities with potential suitors. Conventions emerge from the use of the sites with which users learn to navigate.”

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Conventions: Meanings and Applications of a Core Concept in Economics and Sociology of Conventions

Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (2022)

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

Abstract. The notion of convention is a core notion of the interdisciplinary and international movement of economics and sociology of conventions (in short EC/SC). This chapter presents developments, models, and different notions of the name-giving concept of “convention.” EC/SC can be conceived as a complex pragmatist institutionalism, which explains coordination, evaluation, and interpretation in situations by referring to conventions. This way, conventions can be regarded as institutional logics for the valuation or valorization of goods, actions, and persons. An early application of EC/SC has been the sociology of quantification and categorization, where conventions are analyzed as the basis for measurement. EC/SC has built up its perspective on conventions on two foregoing notions, which were introduced by Keynes and Lewis. EC/SC assumes that real situations are governed by a plurality of coexisting conventions. Therefore, a set of models have been worked out, which systematize conventions as logics of evaluation, valuation, and interpretation. This chapter presents how EC/SC approaches the stability and dynamics of conventions and concludes by pointing to EC/SC as a contemporary reconciliation of pragmatism and structuralism.

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Une crise du consentement au travail

A crisis of consent to work

Olivier Favereau (2022)

Le Monde, 13/06/2022

Pour l’économiste, le désenchantement actuel est, en grande partie, dû à l’absence de participation des salariés aux décisions de l’entreprise

For the economist, the current disenchantment is largely due to the lack of employee participation in company decisions

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CFP: Luc Boltanski und die Literatursoziologie

Luc Boltanski and the Sociology of Literature

Konzept und Organisation: David-Christopher Assmann
Institut für deutsche Literatur und ihre Didaktik, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Deadline: 15 July 2022

Die Rezeption der Arbeiten Luc Boltanskis steht in literatursoziologischen Zusammenhängen zu großen Teilen aus. Zwar werden einzelne Ergebnisse und theoretische Konzepte des französischen Soziologen und Forschungsdirektors an der Pariser École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales hier und da aufgegriffen. Zum tragfähigen literatursoziologischen Referenzpunkt hat es jedoch bisher allenfalls der zusammen mit Ève Chiapello veröffentlichte Band mit dem mittlerweile zum Schlagwort geronnenen Titel „Der neue Geist des Kapitalismus“ geschafft. In einschlägigen literatursoziologischen oder -theoretischen Überblicksbänden, Lexika und Handbüchern sucht man den Namen Boltanski vergeblich. Überraschend ist diese Leerstelle nicht zuletzt, weil Boltanski sich in seinen Arbeiten immer wieder und nicht nur nebenbei, sondern dezidiert mit kulturellen und künstlerischen, schließlich literarischen Phänomenen beschäftigt.
Der geplante Band setzt an diesem Befund an. In explorativer Ausrichtung soll die Anschlussfähigkeit von Boltanskis Studien für die Generierung und Schärfung literatursoziologischer Fragestellungen und Analysen eruiert werden. Die Beiträge des Bandes fragen erstens in theoretischer Hinsicht nach der Brauchbarkeit der Arbeiten Boltanskis für die literatursoziologische Begriffsbildung, Entwicklung von Fragerichtungen und Perspektivierung von Untersuchungsergebnissen. Zweitens soll in konkreten Fallstudien die Tragweite der Konzepte Boltanskis für literatursoziologisches Arbeiten exemplarisch erprobt werden.

The reception of Luc Boltanski’s work in the sociology of literature is largely lacking. It is true that individual results and theoretical concepts of the French sociologist and research director at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris are taken up here and there. However, the volume published together with Ève Chiapello with the title “Der neue Geist des Kapitalismus” (The New Spirit of Capitalism), which has meanwhile become a buzzword, has so far only managed to become a viable point of reference in the sociology of literature. One searches in vain for the name Boltanski in relevant volumes on the sociology or theory of literature, encyclopedias, and handbooks. This is a surprising omission, not least because Boltanski’s work repeatedly deals with cultural, artistic, and ultimately literary phenomena, and not just in passing.
The planned volume takes this finding as its starting point. In an explorative orientation, the connectivity of Boltanski’s studies for the generation and sharpening of literary-sociological questions and analyses is to be investigated. The contributions of the volume ask firstly from a theoretical point of view about the usefulness of Boltanski’s work for the formation of concepts in the sociology of literature, the development of lines of questioning, and the perspective of research results. Second, the scope of Boltanski’s concepts for literary sociological work will be tested in concrete case studies by way of example.

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Von “Kritik” zu “Engagement durch Experimentalismus” – Ungewissheit als epistemische Grundlage einer alternativen Kritikform

From “critique” to “engagement through experimentalism”. Uncertainty as the epistemic basis of an alternative form of critique

Damaris Lehmann (2022)

Master thesis. Siegen: University of Siegen

Auszug: “Einleitung
[…] Das Verhältnis Soziologie-Kritik ist keins, welches ein für alle Mal bestimmt werden könnte, hier ist die eigene Position der Soziologin maßgebend für ihr Verständnis von der Aufgabe der Soziologie. Den Ausführungen auf den kommenden Seiten liegt die Annahme zugrunde, dass die Soziologie, ob nun intendiert oder nicht. durch ihre Theorien und Forschung, auch wenn einige davon betont deskriptiv sind, an der Konstruktion gesellschaftlicher Wirklichkeit maßgeblich mitwirkt und nicht nur als Zaungast am gesellschaftlichen Leben teilnimmt. Sobald dieser relativ neutrale Boden verlassen wird, in der die Einflussnahme der Soziologie nicht intendiert ist und der Weg zu einer kritischen und intervenierenden Soziologie bewusst beschritten wird, sieht sich die Soziologie ihrerseits mit kritischen Fragen konfrontiert, die ihre epistemologische Befugnis, ihre normativen Bezüge und deren Rechtfertigungen betreffen. Denn weder können normative Maßstäbe im wissenschaftlichen Kontext letztgültig begründet werden, noch kann sich Sozialkritik durch eine „wissenschaftliche Neutralität“ legitimieren (Boltanski und Thévenot 2007: 26).” (S. 2/3)

Extract: “Introduction
[…] The relationship sociology-criticism is not one that could be determined once and for all; here the sociologist’s own position is decisive for her understanding of the task of sociology. The explanations on the following pages are based on the assumption that sociology, whether intentional or not, through its theories and research, even if some of them are emphatically descriptive, plays a decisive role in the construction of social reality and does not merely participate in social life as an onlooker. As soon as this relatively neutral ground is left, in which sociology’s influence is not intended and the path to a critical and intervening sociology is consciously taken, sociology for its part is confronted with critical questions concerning its epistemological authority, its normative references and their justifications. For neither can normative standards be ultimately justified in a scientific context, nor can social criticism legitimize itself through a “scientific neutrality” (Boltanski and Thévenot 2007: 26).” (p. 2/3)

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« Les commentaires en ligne sont une composante de la vie démocratique »

“Online comments are a component of democratic life”

Luc Boltanski et Arnaud Esquerre (5 juin 2022)

Les deux sociologues livrent, dans un entretien au « Monde », les conclusions de leur enquête sur les commentaires de l’actualité sur le Web, et en particulier ceux publiés sur LeMonde.fr

In an interview with “Le Monde”, the two social scientists present the conclusions of their study on news comments on the Web, and in particular those published on LeMonde.fr

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Les capacités des plateformes numériques comme maintien de l’équilibre conventionnel : les cas de Uber et Blablacar

The Capabilities of Digital Platforms as the Maintenance of Conventional Equilibrium: The Cases of Uber and Blablacar

Mathilde Abel (2022)

Innovations, Prepublishing, I-XXVIII

Résumé. Cet article analyse les capacités des plateformes numériques à travers l’approche de l’économie des conventions. Celle-ci nous permet, d’une part, d’envisager les marchés bifaces comme des conventions d’échange agencées par les plateformes via un processus de triangulation des échanges, et d’autre part, de définir leurs capacités comme étant cognitives et fondées sur des dispositifs sociotechniques. À partir de deux études de cas du secteur du transport de personnes, Uber et Blablacar, nous montrons que la recherche d’un niveau d’équilibre et d’un test de ce niveau constituent, conjointement, les conditions d’exploitation des marchés bifaces, et que la maîtrise organisationnelle de ces conditions qui forgent les capacités des plateformes numériques. Nous construisons une taxonomie des capacités et détaillons celles de ces deux organisations.

Abstract. This article analyses the capabilities of digital platforms from an economics of convention perspective. This approach allows us, on one hand, to consider two-sided markets as exchange conventions arranged by platforms through a triangulation process, and on the other hand, to define their capabilities as being cognitive and based on socio-technical devices. Based on two case studies from the passenger transport sector, Uber and Blablacar, we show that the search for a level of equilibrium and a test of this level constitute, jointly, the conditions for the exploitation of two-sided markets, and that the organizational control of these conditions forges the capabilities of digital platforms. We built a taxonomy of capabilities and detail the two organizations capabilities.

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