Note de lecture « Critiquer et agir en Russie »

Gaétan du Roy (2018)

Lectures (en ligne)

Note de lecture de « Laurent Thévenot, Kathy Rousselet, Françoise Daucé (dir.), « Critiquer et agir en Russie », dossier thématique de la Revue d’Études Comparatives Est-Ouest, vol. 48, n° 3-4, 2017. »

Extrait : « En effet, les liens communautaires se nouent en Russie principalement autour de « lieux-communs », concept central de la démarche proposée par Laurent Thévenot. Le terme se réfère aux topos de la rhétorique et peuvent s’incarner dans des chansons, des poèmes, des films, des lieux concrets, des aliments etc., pour lesquels des personnes manifestent un « attachement intime et ému » (p. 24) en deçà du public, c’est-à-dire ne nécessitant pas de justification ou d’explicitation publique. Cet attachement partagé peut, dans certaines circonstances, être « grandi » et générer une forme de mobilisation. Cette « grammaire » (dans le langage de la sociologie pragmatique), n’est pas la seule et cohabite notamment avec celle des grandeurs, impliquant de s’appuyer sur un principe de justice partageable par des tiers et de la libérale, nécessitant pour l’individu de traduire ses options personnelles en opinions et en intérêts négociables dans une discussion publique. »

Lien vers l’article

How modelers construct energy costs: Discursive elements in Energy System and Integrated Assessment Models

Saskia Ellenbeck & Johan Lilliestam (2019)

Energy Research & Social Science, Vol 47, p. 69-77

Abstract. Energy system and integrated assessment models (IAMs) are widely used techniques for knowledge production to assess costs of future energy pathways and economic effects of energy/climate policies. With their increased use for policy assessment and increasing dominance in energy policy science, such models attract increasing criticism. In the last years, such models – especially the highly complex IAMs, have been accused of being arbitrary. We challenge this view and argue that the models and their assumptions are not arbitrary, but they are normative and reflect the modelers’ understanding of the functioning of the society, the environment-societal relations and respective appropriate scientific tools and theories – in short: models are shaped by discursive structures, reproducing and reinforcing particular societal discourses. We identify 9 distinct paths, all relating to crucial model decisions, via which discourses enter models: for each of these decisions, there are multiple “correct” answers, in the sense that they can be justified within a particular discourse. We conclude that decisions of modelers about the structure and about assumptions in energy modeling are not arbitrary but contingent to the discursive context the modeler is related to. This has two implications. First, modelers and consumers of model output must reflect on what a model and its assumptions represent, and not only whether are they correct. Second, models hardly need to add more (mathematical) complexity, but rather be reduced and simplified so that they can continue to fulfill their main function as formalized and powerful instruments for thought experiments about future energy pathways.

Link to the article

Valuation an den Grenzen von Datenwelten

Rainer Diaz-Bone (2019)

In: Kropf J., Laser S. (eds) Digitale Bewertungspraktiken. Soziologie des Wertens und Bewertens. Springer VS, Wiesbaden, p 71-95.

Zusammenfassung. Aus Sicht der Soziologie der Kategorisierung und Quantifizierung werden arbeitsteilige Prozesse der Datenproduktion und die ihnen unterliegenden Konventionen betrachtet. Die wichtigste theoretische Grundlage dafür ist die „Economie des conventions“, die in Frankreich wiederum Teil der neuen pragmatischen Soziologie ist. Diese hat ihre Entstehungsmomente in der Analyse ökonomischer Koordination sowie Institutionen, aber insbesondere auch in der Analyse statistischer Kategorien und Quantifizierung. In dem Beitrag wird der Unterschied zwischen Konventionen mit semantischem Gehalt und ohne semantischen Gehalt als folgenreich für die Datenproduktion und die Valuation von Daten betrachtet. Der Beitrag vergleicht die Datenproduktion der amtlichen Statistik mit derjenigen der Privatwirtschaft. Vor allem mit dem Aufkommen des Neoliberalismus wird die Datenproduktion zunehmend verprivatisiert, die statistischen Ketten inkonsistent und die der Quantifizierung unterliegenden Konventionen werden für die Öffentlichkeit und für betroffene Akteure unsichtbar. Diese hat nachteilige Folgen für die normativen Grundlagen und Auswirkungen der Quantifizierung sowie für Möglichkeiten von Kritik und Rechtfertigung.

Schlagwörter: Economie des conventions Valuation Big Data amtliche Statistik Neoliberalismus pragmatische Soziologie Kategorisierung Soziologie der Quantifizierung statistische Kette

Link to the chapter

 

Making a difference Constructing relations between organic and conventional agriculture in Finland in the emergence of organic agriculture

Tomi Lehtimäki (2018)

Sociologia Ruralis. Online first.

Abstract. This article analyses debates on the difference between organic and conventional agriculture. Departing from earlier accounts on the subject, it is argued that rather than conceptualising the subject as a case of diminishing differences, research should also focus on examining the making of these differences. This latter approach is connected to the notion that organic agriculture, understood as an alternative to conventional forms of agriculture, needs to justify its position by showing how it is different from them. To examine this issue, the article analyses the case of the emergence of organic agriculture in Finland. By analysing guidebooks, committee reports, and research publications the article analyses the construction of differences between organic and conventional. The case study shows that the difference between organic and conventional agriculture has been at the core of the debate, necessitating advocates of organic agriculture to actively construct it in different ways. This boundary making has operated differently depending on the various registers according to which organic agriculture and food have been assessed.

Link to the article

Felder und Netzwerkdomänen in der Wissenschaft. Das Verhältnis zweier zentraler Konzepte einer relationalen Betrachtung des Sozialen

Schmitt, Marco (2019): .

Jan Fuhse & Karoline  Krenn (eds.), Netzwerke in gesellschaftlichen Feldern. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 63-79.

Excerpts. “Eine Netzwerkdomäne besteht damit genau genommen aus zwei analytisch unterscheidbaren Bereichen: einer sich dynamisch entfaltenden oder reproduzierenden Beziehungsstruktur und narrativ festgelegten Domänenregeln, die im wesentlichen Typisierungen sachlicher Zugehörigkeiten (welche Knoten, welche Kanten, welche Themen) und möglicher Dynamiken enthalten. Hinzu treten eventuell Wertgesichtspunkte, die schon in Disziplinen, die letztlich als lokale Wertordnungen interpretiert werden, und Institutionen von zentraler Bedeutung sind. Die Domänenregeln bestimmen ebenfalls, welche Wertgesichtspunkte die Dynamiken innerhalb der Beziehungsstruktur bestimmen. Dies rührt daher, dass Whites Differenzierungsansatz in Auseinandersetzung mit der französischen Ökonomie der Konventionen entwickelt wurde (…). Diese Ordnungen werden durch Qualitätskonventionen bestimmt, die sich stark voneinander unterscheiden können und häufig in praktische Konflikte münden.” (72)

Abstract. A relational theory of social differentiation is contrary to functional or inequality-based theories still lacking. In this regard the concept of social fields is gaining traction among neo-institutionalist and culturalist research communities. A comparison with Whites concept of network domains in the Sphere of Science should be able to show how these concepts have value as building blocks for a relational theory of social differentiation.

Link to the chapter

Netzwerke als transversale Felder

Daniel Witte & Andreas Schmitz (2019)

In Jan Fuhse & Karoline  Krenn (eds.), Netzwerke in gesellschaftlichen Feldern. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 25-61.

Excerpts. “Netzwerken kommt in Analysen unterschiedlicher gesellschaftlicher Teilbereiche eine wachsende Bedeutung zu; damit rückt auch das Verhältnis von empirischer Netzwerkforschung und gesellschaftstheoretischer Reflexion in den Blick. Umgekehrt erfreuen sich Feldtheorien gegenwärtig gerade in gesellschaftstheoretischen Debatten großer Popularität, wobei allerdings die fundamentale Frage nach den Verhältnissen zwischen Feldern bislang noch nicht hinreichend systematisch gestellt wird; hier bietet sich wiederum die Netzwerkanalyse als eine vielversprechende Zugriffsweise an. Der vorliegende Beitrag sucht nach möglichen Ansatzpunkten, um diese Verknüpfungen zu denken und das Verhältnis von Feldern und Netzwerken genauer zu bestimmen. […] Zahlreiche Hinweise auf die konstitutive Mehrfachzugehörigkeit von individuellen und kollektiven Akteuren zu Feldern und Organisationen – bzw. auf hybride Formate, die gerade durch die Vermischung unterschiedlicher Feldlogiken (oder „Existenzmodi“) gekennzeichnet sind – finden sich schließlich auch bei Luc Boltanski (…), in der neueren Soziologie der Konventionen (…) sowie bei Bruno Latour (…).” (41)

Link to the chapter

Shaping norms. A convention theoretical examination of alternative food retailers as food sustainability transition actors

Sini Forssell & Leena Lankoski (2018)

Journal of Rural Studies, 63, pp. 46-56.

Abstract. Changing the shared rules and norms underpinning dominant regimes is seen as one driver of sustainability transitions, yet relatively little attention has been paid to exactly how actors seek to change these. In this study, we focus on the norm-shaping work performed by alternative food retailers, a potentially influential alternative food network actor, as a potential element of food system sustainability transitions. We use convention theory as a novel framework for examining this. Convention theory focuses on shared rules and norms in economic coordination and offers a framework for examining how actors negotiate what is right and desirable. By this theory, actors are considered to engage with a plurality of universally accepted notions of worth, organised into different worlds of justification, and to use specific strategies of justification or negotiation to propose and justify different configurations of ideals and their manifestations. The analysis shows how the retailers, by engaging with the different worlds of justification through different strategies of negotiation, promoted four overarching ideals of food production-consumption. Although we must be cautious of overstating the change-making potential of very marginal actors, the view opened by the convention theory perspective is one of active, strategic negotiation taking place in the margins of the dominant food regime, with potentially interesting interactions with the growing landscape pressures to take the food system in a more sustainable direction.

Keywords: Sustainability transitions, Convention theory, Alternative food networks, Retail, Norms

Link to the article

Justifying the logic of regulatory post-crisis decision-making – The case of the French structural banking reform

Margit Munzer (2018)

Critical Perspectives on Accounting. Online first.

Abstract. Relying on the theories of institutional logics (Friedland and Alford) and French pragmatist sociology (Boltanski and Thévenot), this study aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the regulatory rule-making processes in the aftermath of the financial crisis. It focuses on a national post-crisis financial market reform, namely the French structural banking reform of 2013, which is characterized by a remarkable discrepancy between the ambitious announcements that accompanied the reform and its actual impact on banks’ structure. By analysing the justifications put forward by policy-makers in support of their decisions on the amendments to the bill, this paper investigates how policy-makers succeeded in maintaining and defending the historically dominant logic (i.e., market) in a situation of controversy by actively mobilizing different orders of worth. Complex mechanisms of reconciliation between orders of worth are revealed. In particular, the study identifies the strategy of symbolization of the competing order as a means of supporting the dominating logic in the context of a national post-crisis financial market reform. The technique of balancing different measures with diverging impacts on the banking sector enables the policy-makers to refer to a (symbolic) equilibrium solution, which shields their actions against criticism and helps them to achieve legitimacy.

Keywords: Banking regulation, Institutional logics, Orders of worth, Justification

Link to the article

Ethische Geldinstitute. Normative Orientierungen und Kritik im Bankenwesen

Sarah Lenz (2019)

Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Excerpts: “Um Aufschluss über die inneren Logiken und Mechanismen des ethischen Bankenwesens zu erhalten, sollen auf Basis qualitativer Daten die zugrundeliegenden und handlungspraktischen Orientierungen von Bankmitarbeiter_innen detailliert und systematisch untersucht werden. Darüber hinaus zielt die soziologische Beschäftigung mit ethischen Banken in Deutschland darauf, die spezifischen Problemlagen und Herausforderungen eines ethischen Bankensektors zu verstehen. (3) Eine zentrale Annahme der Wirtschaftssoziologie bildet die Erkenntnis, dass wirtschaftliches Handeln immer als soziales Handeln verstanden werden muss. […] Seit den 1920er-Jahren etabliert sich eine disziplinäre Arbeitsteilung zwischen der Ökonomie und der Soziologie. Davor war das wirtschaftliche Handeln der wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Forschung überlassen. Die New Economic Sociology US-amerikanischer Prägung, allen voran Marc Granovetter, greift den Einbettungsbegriff von Karl Polanyi auf, um die konstitutive Bedeutung sozialer Beziehungen für ökonomisches Handeln nachzuweisen. Die Einseitigkeit der Netzwerkperspektive und des soziologischen Neoinstitutionalismus auf wirtschaftliches Handeln bilden dann den zentralen Ausgangspunkt für die Auseinandersetzung mit den pragmatisch ausgerichteten Soziologien. Ökonomisches Handeln lässt sich demnach nicht auf soziale Beziehungen und Netzwerke reduzieren. Märkte sind vielmehr a priori in politische und kulturelle Prozesse eingebunden. Diese systematische Leerstelle füllt die Soziologie der Kritik, indem sie den normativen und legitimierenden Elementen in Unternehmen, Märkten und komplexen Formationen wie dem Kapitalismus selbst eine konstitutive Bedeutung beimisst. Der zweite Teil des theoretisch-konzeptionellen Kapitels widmet sich daher der Relevanz und der Umsetzung des Programms der Soziologie der Kritik für die Untersuchung ethischer Geldinstitute in Deutschland. (5) […] Ähnlich sieht auch die Soziologie der Kritik das ökonomische Kalkül nur als eine mögliche Konvention unter vielen. Rainer Diaz-Bone (…) stellt in diesem Zusammenhang fest, dass die Nicht-Bezugnahme auf eine Konvention nicht gleichzeitig deren Unwirksamkeit bedeutet; sie ist nur zu einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt nicht äquivalent. Der Ausgangspunkt der neuen pragmatischen Wirtschaftssoziologie ist die kritische Auseinandersetzung mit Bourdieus Theoriemodell und dessen Weiterentwicklung. Sie begreift gesellschaftliche Akteure nicht als „unwissende Informanten“, die in ihrem Alltagshandeln hinter objektive Strukturen zurückfallen. Ebenso geht es nicht darum, verborgene Wirkungszusammenhänge aufzudecken, sondern um eine Analyse der Fähigkeiten und Ansprüche der Akteure und der dadurch ermöglichten Praktiken. Hervorgehend aus der Kritik an der deterministischen Lesart des Habitus-Konzeptes konzipieren die französischen Soziologen, insbesondere Luc Boltanski, Michel Callon und Bruno Latour, in den 1980er- und 1990er-Jahren den Zusammenhang von Struktur und Handeln, von Theorie und Praxis neu. Zwar werden hier Netzwerke und Strukturen weiterhin in ihrer strukturierenden Form betrachtet, allerdings verschiebt sich der Akzent auf die Praktiken, Konflikte und Widersprüche, die innerhalb beweglicher und flexibler Netzwerke aufeinandertreffen. Gleichzeitig wird die Vielfältigkeit strukturierender Prinzipien hervorgehoben, weshalb es sich weniger um eine Negierung struktureller Determinismen handelt, sondern um eine weiterentwickelte Perspektive, die die handlungsleitende Wirkung von Objekten und Wertvorstellungen stärker akzentuiert. Das zentrale Anliegen der Soziologie der Kritik ist es, zu verdeutlichen, wie Handlungskoordination trotz pluraler Rechtfertigungen funktioniert, weshalb der Kritik eine besondere Bedeutung beigemessen wird. Die Fähigkeit zur Kritik wird aus dieser Perspektive als natürliche soziale Aktivität verstanden (…). Institutionen sind dann nicht nur von der Anerkennung und Zustimmung der beteiligten Akteure abhängig, sondern können auch infrage gestellt und kritisiert werden (…).” (23/24)

Link to the book

Social Impact Bonds und der Disput um die Wohlfahrt

Lisa Knoll (2018)

Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. Online first.

Zusammenfassung. Der Social Impact Bond (sozialer Wirkungskredit) ist eine neue Finanzierungsform wohlfahrtsstaatlicher Programme. Das neue ist, dass er professionelle Finanzmarkteure, die nach alternativen Anlagemöglichkeiten suchen, in die Finanzierung staatlicher Wohlfahrtsprogramme einbindet. Er verspricht in Zeiten von Austeritätsanforderungen den Wohlfahrtsstaat zu entlasten und durch eine rigerose Form der Wirkungsmessung effizienter zu machen, indem er das Risiko der ausbleibenden Wirkung an den Finanzmarkt verkauft. Seine Kritiker sehen in ihm dagegen eine weitere Form kapitalistischer Landnahme. In diesem Artikel wird der Social Impact Bond zwischen De- und Re-Politisierung untersucht. Es wird argumentiert, dass der Social Impact Bond über seine Formen der Privatisierung und der Rationalisierung eine politische Debatte über Wohlfahrtsfragen aussetzt, andererseits aber über die Art und Weise, wie er den Wohlfahrtsstaat als potenziell effizienzfähig und notwendig adressiert, diesem auch zu einem erneuten Legitimationsschub verhelfen könnte. Welche Art des Disputs der Social Impact Bond eröffnet, hängt letztlich vom institutionellen Kontext ab, in dem er erprobt wird.

Schlüsselwörter: Diskurs, Kritik, Demokratie, Moralisierung, Soziale Wohlfahrt, Wohlfahrtsstaat, Sozialer Wirkungskredit

Social Impact Bonds and the Welfare Dispute

Abstract. Social Impact Bonds are novel financial mechanisms for social welfare programs. What’s new about them is that they include professional financial investors into state provision of welfare. Its promise is to help states save public money in times of austerity by becoming more effective and selling their risk of failed social investments to the financial market. Against it, its critics see a further mode of capitalization of the public sphere (Landnahme). This article investigates Social Impact Bond s between the poles of de- and repolitization. On the one hand, the Social Impact Bond prevents public and democratic debates over welfare by means of privatization and methodical rationalization, on the other hand it addresses the welfare state and public expenditures to be important again. This is new, after decades of diminishing welfare states. Which sort of dispute the Social Impact Bond will bring about depends on the institutional context of its implementation.

Keywords: Discourse Critique Democracy Moralization Social welfare Welfare state Pay-for-performance

Link to the article

Accreditation of X Qualities Instead of Quality X: A Normative Analysis of Criteria of the German Higher Education Accreditation Regime

Christian Schneijderberg & Isabel Steinhardt (2018)

Higher Education Policy. Online first.

Abstract. This article examines the normative roots of criteria used for the accreditation of study programs in German higher education based on the orders of worth framework by Boltanski and Thévenot (On justification. Economies of worth, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2006). From 1999 to 2017, the criteria have been subject to continuous efforts of legitimation, especially by the German Länder, which are in charge of public higher education in Germany. The empirical analysis shows that industrial (e.g., ‘standardization’), civic (e.g., ‘gender justice and equal opportunities’), and civic-industrial (e.g., ‘employability’) codings are the core of accreditation criteria. The normativity of these criteria constitutes accreditation as a technical arrangement running (a) a structural program (e.g., qualifications of academic teachers, modularization of study programs, and quality management) and (b) a political program (e.g., diversity of students and system of studies). Based on the empirical analysis, it is concluded that X does not stand for the accreditation of quality X. X stands for the accreditation of X qualities for specific normative purposes via the higher education accreditation regime.

Keywords: higher education, accreditation, criteria, sociology of valuation and evaluation, orders of worth, Germany

Link to the article

Clersé study days: ‘The socio-environmental issues arising out of the changes in contemporary capitalism’

Anaïs Henneguelle (LiRIS, Université de Rennes 2)

Version française (avec d’autres photos) / French version (with other photos)

On the 7th and 8th of June 2018, two study days were held at Clersé (University of Lille) around the theme of ‘The socio-environmental issues arising out of the changes in contemporary capitalism’ and the contributions that the economics of convention might make to the topic under discussion. These study days, which were significant because they brought together numerous French academics whose approach places them within the conventionalist school, were organised by Guillemette de Larquier (Clersé, University of Lille), Nicolas Postel (Clersé, University of Lille), Richard Sobel (Clersé, University of Lille), Philippe Batifoulier (CEPN, Paris 13), Nicolas Da Silva (CEPN, Paris 13) and Ariane Ghirardello (CEPN, Paris 13).

Richard Sobel, Guillemette de Larquier, Christian Bessy, Rainer Diaz-Bone, Gaël Plumecocq, Arnaud Le Marchand, Franck Bessis, Philippe Batifoulier & Delphine Remillon

The programme, full to overflowing, saw some 20 participants presenting their research in progress or taking stock of existing work in the conventionalist school. Particularly noteworthy was the presence of many doctoral students and young PhDs, which seems to suggest that the succession is already assured. Without looking at each presentation in detail, the main points that unite or divide the participants’ methodological or theoretical approaches can be summarised.

Thus the first difficulty anyone wishing to use the tools of the economics of convention encounters is how to define the term ‘convention’ itself and how he or she is to use it in their work.

In the first paper, which focused on the actors in domestic help services, Sylvain Vatan (Triangle, Université Lumière Lyon-2) used the term not in the sense of an intentional agreement or compromise but in that of a shared representation based on the ‘precedent principle’ that enables the actors involved to operationalize the prevailing rule imposed by a power relationship. In her case, pricing by the nature of the tasks performed by domestic support workers, which amounts to quantifying qualities to quote the oft-used expression, gives rise, she argued, to a new convention on the valorisation of work, the main purpose of which is to facilitate the coordination of the actors concerned. This approach is echoed in the work of Anaïs Henneguelle (IDHES ENS-Paris-Saclay) on judgments in the criminal courts. She showed that judges’ sentencing decisions are based on various conventions, which are shared by the public prosecutors and serve to homogenise decisions. She drew a parallel with recruitment procedures, which also constitute evaluation tests, the aim of which is to reach agreement on  employees’ future productivity, while judges seek to determine the quality of a case on the basis of the estimated likelihood of recidivism and reintegration into society and the labour market.

Adopting a different perspective, Nathalie Magne (University of Montpellier 3) was concerned with conventions in so far as they are based on principles of justice or legitimacy. In a re-examination of the transformation of ‘standard enterprises’ into cooperatives, she outlined the various types of legitimacy put forward by employees in justification of their chosen forms of corporate governance; in doing so, she drew on Suchman’s typology: normative or moral legitimacy, pragmatic legitimacy and cognitive legitimacy. In each case, there are distinct tests of legitimacy. Leslie Carnoye (Ethics, FUPL) adopted the ‘conventionalist’ approach in developing an environmentalist critique of capitalism. Taking as her starting point the absence of any ‘green’ order of worth or mode of justification (grandeur) and hence of a green polity (cité) in Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s justification model, she showed that there is a multiplicity of environmentalist critiques, ranging from  green growth (a critique endogenised by capitalism) via sustainable development (an intermediate form) to ‘degrowth’ (a radical critique). Philippe Semenowicz (Université Paris-Est Créteil), in his work on integration through economic activity, also adopted this definition of conventions as a principle of justice.

Philippe Semenowicz, Frédérique Genel, Christian Bessy & Victor Duchesne

Finally, the study by Nicolas Da Silva and Victor Duchesne (CEPN, Paris 13) drew on a definition of conventions based on principles of justification but without using the polities model in order to investigate the history of French social security. They identified three ‘social security conventions’: an anti-capitalist convention, a solidaristic convention and a liberal convention. Here, they spoke of conventions in the sense of vague, arbitrary arguments that do not have the force of law and whose origin is vague (this echoes certain criteria set out by Christian Bessy and Olivier Favereau in 2003[1]). From this perspective, it can be shown that the formation of arguments by the various actors concerned is conflictive and results from a sometime violent process of negotiation between divergent conceptions of the institution of social security.

During the ensuing discussions, some participants wondered whether the notion of ‘polities’ (cités) was a strictly necessary part of defining oneself as a conventionist. Nevertheless, it was argued, the polities model has the advantage of revealing the ideologies at work behind institutions and reminding us of the deep-rooted normative conflicts that run through the social world. The question of the transformation of these justification mechanisms into conventions in the broader sense was also raised. Conventions as cognitive aids or higher principles of justice should not blind us to the grand narrative that structures contemporary capitalism; one way of rediscovering that narrative might be to take up once again Michel Foucault’s concept of the ‘dispositif’ or apparatus. Participants were also reminded of the importance of not losing sight of power relations in their analyses.

On this point of the rise in generality, the paper presented by Christian Bessy (IDHES ENS-Paris-Saclay) proved invaluable. In order to explain the changes taking place in capitalism, the economics of conventions had moved from an economics of quality or of worlds of production to an economics based on the value and valorising power of certain economic actors. From this point of view, Luc Boltanksi and Arnaud Esquerre’s 2017 book Enrichissement might lead economists in the convention school to further develop the forms taken by the valorisation of things by placing greater emphasis on the new sources of profit and capital accumulation than on moral judgements that reflect different ways of establishing the common good.

Like that given by Christian Bessy, the various presentations often highlighted the plurality of values, of rationalities and of forms of valorisation (or quality conventions) that characterise the various facets of contemporary capitalism.

Turning firstly to the social and solidarity economy, Philippe Semenowicz highlighted the apparently contradictory objectives pursued by the social enterprises in France supporting integration through economic activity (structures d’insertion par l’activité économique/SIAEs): financial viability and continuity of production but also support for populations who are marginalised in the labour market as they seek to return to work. Taking up the concept of an ‘enterprise’s founding convention’ put forward by François Eymard-Duvernay, he showed that the SIAEs are based on a civic founding convention and that they display a certain degree of social voluntarism’. The difficulty, in his view, lies in the linkage between that convention and the market and industrial principles with which the SIAEs also have to deal; this difficulty can be mitigated by a ‘civic-connectionist’ compromise. Daniel Urrutiaguer (Passages XX-XXI, Université Lumière Lyon 2) also showed that there is a multiplicity of principles around which action and evaluation are organised, this time in the worlds of the theatre. Thus evaluations may be artistic, connectionist, civic or even market in nature. Driven by mechanisms based on financial solidarity, which take different forms in the world of commercial theatre and that of publicly subsidised theatre, the market principle often combines with a principle that is more artistic or civic in nature.

Gaël Plumecocq (INRA, AGIR), in his work on environmental valuation theory, shows that there are a number of different environmental valuations rather than just the single one generally envisaged by economists in the form of a price[2]. Here, the value of the environment is regarded as fundamentally social and therefore inseparable from the evaluation processes put in place. In particular, the evaluation method has several political effects, such as the elimination of nature in favour of ‘financial compensation’ should the evaluation be monetary. Camille Chaserant (CES, Université Paris 1) and Sophie Harnay (BETA, Université de Lorraine), in their presentation on the deregulation of the legal profession, focused not on the plurality of valuations but rather on the plurality of quality conventions that serve to coordinate the activities of these representatives of the law. They drew on Lindenberg’s goal-framing theory (Lindenberg 1993) in order to examine the effects of opening up the legal professions in Europe to competition. It would appear from their research that the regulations specific to each legal practice produce different effects. For example, there is a “high-end” segment of practices in which the predominant organising principle is innovation and the strengthening of the market principle could result in higher prices as a quality signal. The diversity of the quality conventions characterising legal practices was also highlighted by Franck Bessis (Triangle, Université Lumière Lyon-2).

During the discussions, it was noted in particular that the economics of convention was proving to be of great heuristic value in understanding the inequalities generated by the contemporary economic system that may affect certain communities that have suffered a deterioration in their situation (which also brought to mind the question of power relations mentioned above). For example, certain communities affected by environmental degradation have succeeded in gathering evidence of the cumulative impact of pollutants by drawing on their local knowledge, which has enabled them to enforce their individual rights in the courts[3].

These two study days also provided an opportunity to raise methodological questions about the economics of conventions, both in concrete terms and in terms of the organisation of the economics discipline itself. With regard to the practical application of the economics of conventions, the presentation by Franck Bessis dwelt on the notion of “grounded theory” (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) as a means of analysing qualitative interviews. The aim, after all, was to avoid the mistake of “tacking” the polities model (modèle des cités) on to all subjects indiscriminately (what he describes as “routine conventionalism”), as well as that of producing only a partial interpretation of empirical data that merely confirms previously held ideas. In concrete terms, this theory makes it possible to interpret the material more systematically by coding it in the form firstly of labels, then of properties and finally of categories. Thus the aim is to raise the level of abstraction by taking the initial interviews as a starting point and subjecting them to conceptual cross-checks. A similar procedure was used to isolate the main strands of the typology of legal practices and to clarify the links between quality conventions, the representation of market dynamics and the forms of reflexivity.

Rainer Diaz-Bone, Philippe Batifoulier & Olivier Favereau

The round table “Around the Dictionary of Conventions”, at which the discussants were Olivier Favereau (University of Paris Nanterre) and Rainer Diaz-Bone (University of Lucerne), focused on the diffusion of the economics of convention. The lack of textbooks was highlighted, despite Rainer Diaz-Bone’s book in German. This book marked the beginning of a new book series entitled “Sociology of conventions”. In French, the Dictionnaire des conventions simply cannot be ignored. Olivier Favereau also presented an overview of the conventionalist paradigm, showing how this dictionary extended two earlier synthesis essays (the first following the article in the 1989 Revue économique, the second following the book edited by François Eymard-Duvernay, L’économie des conventions. Méthodes et résultats, which was published in 2006).

During the discussions, it was suggested that joint seminars could be held on the economics of convention or that we could contribute articles on this “French theory” to English-language journals.

These questions about the future and legitimacy of the economics of convention in the academic world were raised on numerous occasions during the discussions. One question that was raised particularly frequently was that of the relationship between the convention and régulation schools. In his presentation, for example, Christian Bessy, emphasised the specific approach of the economics of convention, which bases its arguments on the existence of a plurality of evaluations, in contrast to regulation theory.

More broadly, the second round table, which was entitled “What is the future of the convention school?” (there was a debate on the very notion of a “school”, which is far from being universally accepted), provided an opportunity to take stock of the current situation. It brought together Thomas Lamarche (Ladyss, University of Paris 7), André Orléan (CNRS) and Nicolas Postel (Clersé, University of Lille) for the closing event of these two study days.

Thomas Lamarche, André Orléan, Nicolas Postel & Guillemette de Larquier

Thomas Lamarche highlighted the importance of not confining oneself to the macroeconomic dimension but also investigating the meso-economic level and the way in which it does or does not function independently. He also mentioned the possibility of investigating “futurity”, i.e. the projection of the actors into the future, which may in particular be translated into conventions as well as into representations or even confrontations (for example, what will the term “excellent” encompass in the so-called “universities of excellence” and who will define it?). For his part, Nicolas Postel noted that the future of the economics of conventions did not lie in the word “conventions”, which caused more problems than it resolved. The aim rather was to manage to link the problematics around values, coordination, reproduction and rationality in order to understand collective agreements. In particular, we had now to understand how capitalism could continue and regulate itself in a post-nation state context. To end these study days, André Orléan noted that the economics of convention was concerned with the question of group formation outside the framework of methodological individualism. According to the philosopher John Searle, collective intentionality cannot be reduced to individual intentionalities, which gives institutional phenomena a conventionalist dimension, in the general sense of collective agreement. To that extent, the conventionalist project is situated at the intersection of a number of disciplines (economics, philosophy, sociology, anthropology).

Finally, it should also be remembered that these study days were also an occasion for much conviviality, both formal and informal, which is undoubtedly essential for the incubation of future research.

[1] Bessy Christian and Favereau Olivier, « Institutions et économie des conventions », Cahiers d’économie politique 2003/1, N°44, pp. 119-164

[2] As a matter of interest, let us recall that the value of the environment was evaluated in 1997 at 33,000 billion dollars per year, which represents 1.8 times global GDP. In 2011, a fresh evaluation put the value of the ecosystem at 130,000 billions dollars per year (these figures are available here).

[3] On the question of the development of ‘environmental justice’ in the USA, see Francis Chateauraynaud and Josquin Debaz, Aux bords de l’irréversible. Sociologie pragmatique des transformations, Editions PETRA, 2017.

Kulturwandel im Geldgeschäft? Potenziale einer ethischen Selbsterneuerung im Banken- und Finanzwesen

Sighard Neckel, Claudia Czingon & Sarah Lenz (2018)

Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Online first

Zusammenfassung. Der Ausbruch der Finanzkrise im Herbst 2008 hat eine Debatte über den gesellschaftlichen Wert eines Finanzsektors entfacht, der seine Gewinne zunehmend unabhängig von realwirtschaftlichen Entwicklungen generiert. Die konventionelle Finanzindustrie reagiert auf die Kritik mit Maßnahmen, die unter dem Begriff des „Kulturwandels“ eine sozialverträglichere Finanzpraxis anvisieren. Gleichzeitig lässt sich eine Expansion sogenannter ethischer Banken beobachten, die sich als Gegenmodell zur konventionellen Finanzpraxis verstehen und auf die Vermeidung negativer gesellschaftlicher Externalitäten zielen. Vor dem Hintergrund der Soziologie der Kritik untersucht der Beitrag zunächst, welches kollektive, handlungsleitende Verständnis einer legitimen Finanzpraxis jenseits öffentlich kommunizierter Werte und Verhaltensstandards das berufliche Handeln der einzelnen Finanzakteure prägt, um im Anschluss die Potenziale einer normativen Selbstregulierung im Banken- und Finanzwesen abzuschätzen. Die Befunde verweisen darauf, dass ein „Kulturwandel“ oder eine „Ethisierung“ allerdings begrenzt realisierbar ist, wenn es ausschließlich um die Motive, Wertvorstellungen und Persönlichkeiten der einzelnen Subjekte geht und die strukturellen und institutionellen Rahmenbedingungen einer „guten“ Finanzpraxis aus dem Blick geraten.

Schlüsselwörter: Banken, Finanzkrise, Kulturwandel, Selbstregulierung, Rechtfertigung

Cultural Change in the Money Business? Potential for Ethical Self-Renewal in Banking and Finance

Abstract. Following the financial crisis in 2008 a debate about the social benefit of the financial industry, which operates without considering its real-economic consequences, was initiated. The financial industry responded by offering strategies of cultural change (“Kulturwandel”) which foster a more socially responsible financial practice. At the same time the expansion of “ethical” banks aims to establish a banking business avoiding negative externalities of the banking sector. Following the conceptual assumptions of the sociology of critique we study the collectively shared interpretation of a “good” and legitimate financial practice beyond publicly communicated standards of practice. Against this backdrop we evaluate the potentials of normative self-regulation in banking and finance. Our results show that cultural or ethical change is only partly feasible if it exclusively focuses the motives, values and personalities of the individual subjects but neglects the structural as well as institutional conditions of a “good” financial practice.

Keywords: Banking industry, Financial crisis, Cultural change, Self-regulation, Justification

Link to the article

Fixed Narratives and Entangled Categorizations: Educational Problematizations in Times of Politicized and Stratified Migration

Kenneth Horvath (2018)

Social Inclusion, Volume 6, Issue 3

Abstract. Western European migration and citizenship regimes have undergone profound transformations over the past decades. The massive politicization and stratification of migration are key features of these dynamics. Focusing on the case of Germany, this article investigates how these developments affect logics of educational practice. It is argued that teachers, faced with increasingly complex and uncertain situations, systematically draw on categories that combine political and educational logics. These “entangled categories” do hardly allow to unravel the complex configurations currently at stake at the intersection of migration and education. A secondary analysis of TIMSS-2015 data is performed to substantiate the article’s core hypothesis: these forms of categorization have crystallized into patterns of educational problematization that couple perceptions of educational challenges, professional self-images, and didactic approaches. These fixed narratives disproportionally affect migrant children from underprivileged social backgrounds. They hence have important implications both for our understanding of educational inequalities in times of politicized and stratified migration and for furthering professional reflexivity.

Keywords: differentiated citizenship; educational classification; educational problematization; migration regimes; politicization of migration; TIMSS-2015

Link to the article (Open Access Journal)

Réformer l’entreprise

Entretien avec Olivier Favereau, Propos recueillis par François Euvé (2018)

Études, 2018/9 (Septembre), p. 55-66.

La réflexion sur l’objet social de l’entreprise a été réactivée, il y a quelques mois. À qui appartient-elle ? Quelle est sa mission ? Depuis la fin des Trente Glorieuses, la situation a changé dans le sens d’un poids accru des instances financières, au détriment des autres. Il importe aujourd’hui de rééquilibrer le fonctionnement de l’entreprise, en y associant diverses instances, dont les salariés.

 

 

Lien vers la revue (Cairn)