“It became obvious to me very quickly that economics of convention is a particularly fruitful theoretical approach for analyzing the health sector”

Interview with Philippe Batifoulier, director of the laboratory CEPN at Paris 13 and co-editor of the “Dictionnaire des conventions”.

Anna Gonon (FHNW Olten, Switzerland) & Valeska Cappel (University of Lucerne, Switzerland)

Cappel/Gonon: You are the director of the Laboratoire CEPN in the University Paris 13. What are the focus areas of this Laboratory and how would you describe your position and activities there?

Batifoulier: Since November 2015, I have headed the Paris Nord Center for Economics [CEPN, UMR CNRS 7234], a bi-disciplinary economics and management laboratory. This research laboratory has 160 members, including 70 professors and associate professors and 80 PhD students. As director, I represent the laboratory in all management and administration acts and manage the scientific policy.

Philippe Batifoulier

The CEPN is a reference laboratory of the study of capitalisms and the institutions that regulate them or are at the origin of crisis. The dynamics of capitalisms are analyzed through the structural analysis of contemporary economies as well as the diversity of management modes of organizations and corporate governance. One of the most important characteristics of the CEPN is its pluralism. The CEPN relies on large array of theoretical approaches: post-Keynesian, regulationist, Marxist, economics of convention, critical management studies etc. CEPN researchers use different methods that range from the tools of political economy and socio-economics to quantitative economics (micro and macro econometrics). One of the essential consequences of this pluralism – of both: paradigms and methods – is the valorization of transdisciplinary approaches. The original research conducted by the CEPN uses history, psychology, law or sociology to broaden the scope of the analysis. Because of its unusual positioning, the CEPN is a focal point of pluralism. The CEPN helps to keep heterodox approaches alive and encourages scientific controversy. Without the CEPN, the diversity of economic thought would be weakened. For this reason, CEPN appears as a privileged contact for French and international projects with a strong heterodox dimension. Due to this attractive positioning, the CEPN aims at responding to social demands on many subjects. It constitutes a civic-conscious research structure with an outstanding capacity to foster public debate.

Cappel/Gonon: You have mentioned economics of convention as one of the theoretical approaches at CEPN. Could you tell us a little bit about your academic background and how you started to work with economics of convention?

Batifoulier: I hold a master in econometrics and a postgraduate degree in Mathematical Economics and Applied Economics at the University of Paris 10 – Nanterre. In 1987, I began a thesis on statistical theory using Shannon’s information theory and log-linear modelling to exploit a large health database in order to analyze the reforms in the health sector. I was dissatisfied with the lack of theoretical underpinnings of my work and in search of an adequate economic paradigm. With Olivier Favereau’s arrival in Nanterre, I turned to the economics of convention. I met this new approach with the publication of the special issue of the “Revue économique” in March 1989. I defended my thesis under the direction of Olivier Favereau in 1991 and was recruited as associate professor at the University of Saint Quentin en Yvelines and then at the University of Paris 10 – Nanterre.

The specificity of my work is to propose an institutionalist approach applied to health economics. It became obvious to me very quickly that economics of convention is a particularly fruitful theoretical approach for analyzing the health sector. I think mainstream economics cannot deal with the health sector because the standard assumptions about rationality and market coordination are very disconnected from what a patient or a doctor really is. Health sector is an ideal topic for heterodox economics. Healthcare and social policy are strongly normative issues and economic analysis cannot ignore it. Because economic health policies are precisely one of those domains in which coordination, value judgments and normative considerations cannot be separated, the concept of convention is well indicated to understand the specificities of the health sector. To be convinced of this, we only need to note that one of the main objectives of the economics of convention is to endogenize values within coordination and to take the ethical resources of individuals seriously. Now, the health sector is precisely one of those domains in which values and the concept of ethics (medical, in this case) are omnipresent. The conceptual work on the concept of convention has provided matter for reflection in a domain that has often been criticized for being too applied and insufficiently grounded on theoretical foundations. In return, the conventionalist approach provides a pragmatic application to the theoretical analysis of a sector that is important in terms of both the resources engaged (notably financial) and the social and political stakes involved.

Cappel/Gonon: Could you tell us a little bit more about the specific EC concepts that were fruitful in your analysis of the health sector and maybe also describe an example of application?

Batifoulier: I use EC in two different ways. To deal with coordination, I mobilize the notion of interpretative rationality. To speak about regulation and to criticize the neoliberal policies, I rely on the notion of a common world instead of extrinsic incentives.

First, I tried to capture the coordinating capacity of medical ethics. The coordination between a doctor and a patient or between physicians depends on values in order to comprehend the interaction. This interpretation relies on a collective representation of references as EC shows, in other words a way of judging the situation and of judging oneself and the other party in that situation. So, for example, when a patient consults a physician, he knows that the doctor’s behavior is governed by deontological rules. To be applied, these rules must have a “hic et nunc” interpretation, considering both the collective formed by the patient and doctor and a wider collective consisting of the whole healthcare system; the whole allowing to evaluate the quality of the service provided (the length of the consultation or the level of fees, in particular). This understanding is not only cognitive but also evaluative, with the form of evaluation determining the importance of what the agent considers. Therefore, this interpretation won`t be the same on every occasion or in every place. That’s why we have to consider the plurality of possible representations and the impossibility of reducing medical ethics to a universal and invariable conception of ethical behavior. Ethics is neither immutable nor mechanical; it is very sensitive depending on its context.

Secondly, I mobilized EC to review the neoliberal economic policy in healthcare which considers that institutions are understood to be only incentives. I expanded this analysis on health insurance. By considering that health insurance is a problem because it leads to unnecessary consumption owing to the fact that it is by and large free, its existence is not under discussion, only its harmfulness. The consequences of this economic policy are immediate: we must reduce a person’s health cover and resort to healthcare that is more expensive. Making the patient pay is a fashioned strategy that is founded on mainstream theory in which the patient has no depth. He or she does not make judgments, only calculates. This completely self-interested individual does not fit in with a network of social relationships capable of directing his or her behavior, putting the brakes on his or her opportunism. This mainstream economic theory is a political and social creation without society. Consequently, it is the vision of social welfare and healthcare that is misrepresented. In this economics-orientated point of view, national insurance must be concerned with the calculation of individual risk, discarding the aim of a shared world.

Cappel/Gonon: You use EC to criticize neoliberal healthcare policy. How do you think could an EC-inspired healthcare policy look like?

Batifoulier: EC can inform healthcare policy on at least 3 points:

First, EC invites to consider the plurality of professional values and get out of the dichotomy in which mainstream wants to lock and close the debate: the physician’s behavior cannot be generalized to the figure of the homo œconomicus. Professional commitment and the well-being of their patients are more a physician objective than self-interest is. Professional values govern the behavior of the doctor in diagnosing and treating the patient. We have to look at the plurality of professional values: liberal values as Hippocratic values. The values debate is one of EC’s messages. Liberal values have been historically controlled by the welfare state. Today, they are valued by neoliberalism (for example, many practitioners charge fees in excess), which leads to many inequalities of access to healthcare.

Second, in the neoliberal world, the hospital is now a laboratory of competition and has become very “inhospitable”, for the patient as for the employees. With EC, one can question the quality of care in the hospital: not to reduce it to an unambiguous definition and without prior deliberation. The standardization of care and the setting the medical work in protocol puts forward an “industrial” quality and deteriorated a “domestic” quality (by increasing the distance to healthcare) and a “civic” quality (by sacrificing the culture of public utilities). It is thus incorrect to say that the Hospital reform has improved the quality of care. It has developed some qualities, but has deteriorated others.

Thirdly, an aspect where EC can be mobilized is democracy in health. The question of the legitimacy of health decision-making is deeply related to the patient’s place in it. But he often seems to be ruled out of decisions. In terms of funding, the expenses that are very well reimbursed (or well supported) are not necessarily those that are medically justified. We should also draw the lessons of the development of private insurance, very unequal and inefficient, and recognize that we better control the expenditure by solidarity than by the market. There are many examples where the balance of power is not favorable to the patient. EC highlights people’s reflexivity and the type of collectivity to which we belong. This calls for the insurrection of the patient who has to reinvest in the different spaces of democracy to assert the right to participate in decisions that concern him or her in the first place and build the institutions that meet the most basic needs.

Cappel/Gonon: You are co-editor of the “Dictionnaire des conventions: autour des travaux d’Olivier Favereau“ published in 2016 (Presses Universitaires du Septentrion). In this “non-standard” dictionary, as you call it, scholars from different fields take Olivier Favereau’s work as their point of departure to explain EC concepts. Could you tell us a little bit more why this is a “non-standard” dictionary?

Batifoulier: The ”Dictionnaire des conventions” coordinated by Franck Bessis, Guillemette de Larquier, Ariane Ghirardello, Delphine Remillon and myself is a book in honor of Olivier Favereau. The form “dictionary” has imposed itself on us because a lot of scholars from different disciplines (75 authors from the younger generation to the older ones) wished to participate in this tribute. This is a “non-standard dictionary” because the book does not claim to explain all the concepts of EC but proposes a review of many contemporary debates in the social sciences starting from a conventionalist reading, that is, a non-standard point of view. The entries share a common spirit, highly critical of the mainstream economics.

Cappel/Gonon: How do you see the future of EC as an approach? Where will or should it be applied? What are its strengths, are there any weaknesses?

Batifoulier: Beyond the quality of the authors, this dictionary is, in some way, illustrative of the way of functioning of EC, which relies much on working collectives. The existence of collective works, which evolves with the different generations, is typical of the EC. Communities of work in the field of EC settle down with young scholars on topics as diverse as ecology, health, enterprise and the labor market, law and lawyers, social and solidarity economy, etc. The latest works focuses more on economic issues without neglecting the socioeconomic foundation of EC to not abandon the economics to the mainstream. The context in which EC evolves is also crucial in this trajectory. In France as elsewhere, a partial concept of economics, the neo-classical or mainstream approach, has become the established orthodoxy and monopolizes the legitimacy of economic analysis. The rejection of pluralism leads to the gradual disappearance of non-standard schools of thought. Resistance is brought by the Association française d’économie politique (AFEP), a professional association with the aim of defending and illustrating pluralism in economics since 2009. Because all AFEP members shared the same analysis and concerns, the elimination of pluralism has led the various heterodox approaches to seek more what brings them together than what oppose them. So, EC will be interested in topics that were initially introduced by other approaches (regulation theory, Marxist approach). Capitalism and its evolution is now an important issue of EC studies. In the same time, the traditional themes of EC (values, rationality, representations) are now resources for others. This climate is very stimulating for future research.

Cappel/Gonon: At least, what would you recommend for young scholars who are interested to work with EC?

Batifoulier: I think the current period is particularly challenging to commit to this research program. EC is carried by new generations (second and third generations) that do not only relay the initial project but also pilot it in different directions. The progression of the program, from generation to generation is strength. A young scholar easily finds his place. The economics of convention is supported by several major research laboratories, in France as elsewhere giving more opportunities. In short, go for it.

Économie de la santé

Philippe Batifoulier, Nicolas Da Silva & Jean-Paul Domin (2018)

Paris : Armand Colin, Cursus : Économie

Résumé. Cet ouvrage présente, dans un langage simple et accessible, les débats économiques sur les questions de santé pour les ouvrir aux débats citoyens. Pour ce faire, il propose un ensemble pluraliste de réflexions relatives à la santé en considérant que l’organisation actuelle du système de santé ne peut se comprendre sans avoir recours à ses trajectoires historiques. Ce manuel s’organise autour d’une logique thématique qui permet de présenter les grands objets de santé : l’hôpital, la médecine de ville, l’industrie pharmaceutique, les assurances privées mais aussi l’émergence des systèmes de santé, la quantification de l’activité de soin, les inégalités, la marchandisation du soin et les rapports entre santé et capitalisme.

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Nordic fisheries at a crossroad

Johan Hultman, Filippa Säwe, Pekka Salmi & Jesper Manniche (2018)

Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic Council of Ministers Secretariat, Arbejdsgruppen for Fiskerisamarbeidet (AG-Fisk). Copenhagen: Nordisk Ministerråd

Abstract. Nordic fisheries at a crossroad explores how Nordic small-scale fisheries can develop to promote high value creation and product specialization. By looking at recent developments among small-scale but land-based food producers we suggest specialization and dedication as the main development strategies. The central notion is to break away from the price-competitive globalised fish markets and develop new products or distribution models. To succeed in this, there is a need for substantive and coordinated efforts to bridge the gap between conventional logics and the new development logics, between supply and demand. The vision should be to develop viable and composite markets for high quality and specialty fish products through dedication and specialization. Markets that go beyond the local and reach supermarkets and consumers on a national and international scale.

Excerpt: « An important notion in the agro-food research regarding how to understand the ongoing market restructuring processes is the “quality turn” (Goodman 2003; Harvey et al. 2004). The quality turn describes the shift in quality factors that are demanded by consumers and targeted by producers such as on one side (low) price, standardization and uniformity or on the other exclusive, special and composite dimensions of products such as “organic” and “fair-trade”.
In order to explain and describe such processes of diversification on food markets, several agro-food scholars have also applied convention theory, i.e. models to explain the social construction of the “conventions of quality” that define the functioning of markets for goods and services. Convention theory emphasizes the fact that the functioning and governing principles of any market – even markets for highly standardized and homogenized products – are defined by a set of conventions, constructed and justified through broader social and cultural discourses and practices. Some of these conventions regard the specific product qualities that producers supply and customers demand and are perceived as important for the transaction. […]
Among the many existing theoretical approaches, the Worlds of Production (WOP) model of Storper and Salais (1997) has especially been applied within agro-food studies in order to describe the implications of operating on the basis of alternative quality conventions. In short, the model outlines four different “production worlds” or action frameworks that companies can operate in, which are characterized by varying conditions for competition and use of technology, labour and knowledge.
In a business development perspective, which is in focus here, the model is useful because it clarifies the coexistence and varying logics of very different forms of production and markets, which also may be highly relevant for differentiated policy approaches. The model is particularly useful when applied in a dynamic perspective, as it not only indicates four possible production worlds for companies, but also indicate different directions and opportunities for how companies can develop and differentiate themselves from their competitors. » (p. 29 & 30)

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Session “Agro-food branches, food markets, and global value chains – between local tradition and global value chains: Production, distribution and consume of food as sociological research objects”

[Agro-food Branchen, Nahrungsmittelmärkte und Global Value Chain – Zwischen lokaler Tradition und globalen Wertschöpfungsketten: Produktion, Distribution und Konsum von Lebensmitteln als Gegenstand der Soziologie] at the 39th sociology congress of the German Sociological Association at University of Göttingen, 28 September 2018

Rainer Diaz-Bone (University of Lucerne)

At the five day congress of sociology (24-28 September), a session took place presenting convention theory applied in the analysis of food, food markets, food production, food consumption and value issues around food. The session was organized by Lisa Suckert (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne) and Rainer Diaz-Bone (University of Lucerne). The organizers introduced into the session and sketched the tradition of economics of convention (EC) as an important and long lasting approach in these field of social research. Also, the phenomenon of food was identified as offering a kind of “crossroads” to different research fields as economic sociology, cultural sociology, life style analysis etc. But also the whole question of value and quality was related to food issues in EC for some decades now (see the contributions in Allaire/Daviron 2017 and the review article of Ponte 2016). The session then had three lectures.

Linda Hering and Nina Baur (both Technical University of Berlin) presented their research project “Standards for freshness in Germany and Thailand – a historical inspired comparison of pattern of consumption and production” [Frischestandards in Deutschland und Thailand. Ein historisch angeleiteter Vergleich von Konsum- und Produktionsmustern].

Linda Hering

This Berlin group explores the ways how food was offered to consumers at sales points in Berlin and Bangkok, focusing on presentation, situational embeddedness and (concepts of) freshness. The research reconstructed the quality convention, intermediairies and objects involved. Linda Hering and Nina Baur emphasized the important role of the local gatekeepers and technical innovations for the establishement of concepts for food freshness.

Lisa Suckert relied on her PhD-project “Discursive construction of ecological product quality – the discovery of the region as quality dimension for organic milk” [Die diskursive Konstruktion ökologischer Produktqualität – Die Entdeckung der Region als Qualitätsmerkmal für Bio-Milch] to present discursive networks and national developments of value chains for milk in Germany (see Suckert 2015). She started her lecture with the problem of the uncertainty of product quality and identified the different strategies of regional milk producers (diaries) to develop marketing strategies based on discursive concepts of “region”.

Lisa Suckert

But the different diaries base their discursive strategies on different discursive foundations to mobilize a knowledge concept of “quality”. The study combined field theoretical elements with EC to grasp the market position of diaries also.

Xiomara Quinones Ruiz (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna) gave a talk about her ongoing research on coffee value chains, starting from Colombian coffee production. Her lecture « Interacting and evolving quality conventions: An institutional Analysis of international Coffee Value Chains »

Xiamara Quinonez-Ruiz

In Colombia first developments of fairtrade or organic coffee, and the protection of the coffee origin through geographical indications could be identified by Xiamara Quinonez-Ruiz. But she also found cultural impediments in Colombia, where people where accustomed to new ways of producing coffee and new tastes of differently produced coffees. The project identifies the transformation/reorganization of dominant quality conventions of quality chains, the involved intermediaries and technologies.

The session demonstrated the emergence of a field of conventionalist aggro-food studies in the German speaking countries and was also a start for a planned book project (in the new Springer VS series « sociology of conventions » https://www.springer.com/series/15571).



Allaire, Gilles/Daviron, Benoit (eds.) (2017): Transformations et transitions dans l’agriculture et l’agro-alimentaire. Versailles: QUAE.

Ponte, Stefano (2016): Convention theory in the Anglophone agro-food literature. Past, present and future. Journal of Rural Studies 44(4), pp. 12-23.

Suckert, Lisa (2015): Die Dynamik ökologischer Märkte. Eine feldanalytische Betrachtung des Marktes für Bio-Molkereiprodukte. Konstanz: UVK.

Penser l’économie de demain et le futur de l’économie politique – Envisioning the Economy of the Future, and the Future of Political Economy

AFEP-IIPPE Conference, with participation by ADEK, AHE and EAEPE

Date and place : IEP and University of Lille (France), 3-5 July 2019

Following the Global Financial Crisis and a decade or more of uneven but sluggish economic performance, the signs are that both economic prospects and the prospects for mainstream economics remain bleak even if the latter has strengthened its hold over the discipline despite what are at most token changes to address its sorely exposed methodological, theoretical and  applied deficiencies. As a result, this Conference focuses upon how to pursue a better “economics”, a better economy and the relationship between the two. The goal will be to identify the driving forces of the economy of the future and what is changing in the way in which academic disciplines, and in particular the social sciences (sociology, history, geography, political science, law, management, development studies) and various heterodox and political economy traditions within economics, describe, formalise, analyse and conceptualise the economic sphere and its relationships with society more broadly. Thus, the conference will investigate links between the crises in economic theory and the economic and social crises being experienced across the world – links with an immediate economic content, such as finance, inequality and unemployment as well as some major issues to be taken into account envisioning the economy and society of the future, as with ecology and migration.

The Conference is jointly organised by AFEP (French Association for Political Economy/L’Association Française d’Économie Politique, celebrating its tenth anniversary) and IIPPE (the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy) with participation by ADEK (Association for the Development of Keynesian Studies), AHE (Association for Heterodox Economics) and EAEPE (European Association for Evolutionary Economics). Economists, other social scientists and activists wishing to attend should submit proposals falling within the scope of this general orientation, and/or the following, particular list of questions and topics, or other topics in Political Economy.

I. Envisioning the economics of today and of the future
a. Theories overtaken by the changes in capitalism?
b. The social sciences and the future of economics
c. The international organisation of political economy
II. Envisioning the economy of today and tomorrow: multidisciplinary perspectives
a. How do economists innovate to envision the future of capitalism?
b. Multidisciplinary approaches to contemporary market economies (capitalism as a socially embedded system)
III. From the field of possibilities to utopias
a. Searching for the good society: Alternative visions of the future – economic systems and utopia
b. Between market and utopia: Efficiency vs equality, competition vs cooperation?

Format of the proposals

Proposals (individual papers, complete panels, networks) can be submitted starting November 1, 2018. The Web site with Electronic Proposal Forms for submitting to this joint conference is here:


  • Deadline for proposals for individual papers: January 15, 2019
  • Deadlines for various types of panels will be given on the Electronic Proposal Forms which will be posted November 1, 2018
  • Notifications of accepted proposals will be sent to the authors by February 15, 2019
  • Registration for accepted proposals will be open on February 15, 2019
  • Preferential registration rate until March 15, 2019

L’appel à communication complet en Français

The integral Call for Papers in English

Pour un nouvel écosystème de financement. Monde de production, Commun et financement d’impact sociétal

Bernard Paranque (2018)

Résumé. Ce travail s’inscrit dans la poursuite des réflexions critiques engagées sur le paradigme qui définit le rendement financier tel qu’il est utilisé par la profession et théorisé par la communauté académique. Si on veut aller au‐delà des constats pour contribuer à la construction de solutions d’émancipation, d’autres questions sont cruciales : qu’est alors unrendement social alternatif au rendement financier ? Comment l’évaluer et le proposer dans des outils d’allocation de ressources ? Quel dispositif peut permettre d’opérationnaliser une telle démarche ? L’hypothèse de cette recherche est de considérer que l’économie des conventions telle que développée par les travaux de Robert Salais et Michael Storper en termes de mondes de production permet non seulement de comprendre la diversité concrète des formes de coordination des organisations productives mais aussi la dynamique du système productif dans son ensemble dans lequel est inséré le ‘commons’ tel que définie par Ostrom. L’un des enjeux de cette action collective orientée est celui de son financement selon des modalités qui respectent la cohérence du « monde de production » (ou avec le monde cible en cas de changement) et les objectifs/valeurs du collectif humain qui le porte. Dit autrement, comment assurer les porteurs du projet que les critères de financement ne vont pas entrer en contradiction avec leurs propres critères d’impact social et remettre en cause les finalités du collectif ?

Lien vers le texte à télécharger via ResearchGate

There Is No Such Thing as “the Economy”. Economic Phenomena Analysed from a Field-Theoretical Perspective

Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg & Frédéric Lebaron (2018)

Historical Social Research 43 (3), pp. 7-38.

Abstract. This introductory essay to the HSR Special Issue “Economists, Politics, and Society” argues for a strong field-theoretical programme inspired by Pierre Bourdieu to research economic life as an integral part of different social forms. Its main aim is threefold. First, we spell out the very distinct Durkheimian legacy in Bourdieu’s thinking and the way he applies it in researching economic phenomena. Without this background, much of what is actually part of how Bourdieu analysed economic aspects of social life would be overlooked or reduced to mere economic sociology. Second, we sketch the main theoretical concepts and heuristics used to analyse economic life from a field perspective. Third, we focus on practical methodological issues of field-analytical research into economic phenomena. We conclude with a short summary of the basic characteristics of this approach and discuss the main insights provided by the contributions to this special issue.

Keywords: Economic sociology, field, Bourdieu, methodology, discourse, domination, state, economy.

Link to the review

Justice in reality: overcoming moral relativism in Luc Boltanski’s pragmatic sociology of critique

Jacob Didia Jensen  (2018)

Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, Online first.

Abstract. In recent years, the pragmatic sociology of critique developed by French sociologist Luc Boltanski in cooperation with such authors as Laurent Thévenot and Éve Chiapello has received increasing attention within the social sciences. However, critical voices have questioned the theory’s capacity to overcome challenges of moral relativism and to stand as a form of critical sociology in its own right. In this article, I will trace the theory’s development from Boltanski and Thévenot’s early work of the 1980s to Boltanski’s most recent ideas. I will argue that the idea developed by Boltanski and Thévenot that ordinary people should be viewed as metaphysicians capable of distinguishing between what is and what ought to be lays the core foundations of the theory and provides a strong response to the challenge of moral relativism. Furthermore, I will show how Boltanski and Chiapello, in their study of the New Spirit of Capitalism, which is based on this fundamental notion of social actors as metaphysicians, develop a theory of domination and emancipation that can serve as the basis for critical sociology.

Keywords: Luc Boltanski, pragmatic sociology, moral relativism, critical sociology, emancipation, domination, justification, capitalism

Link to the review

La face cachée de la co-création de valeur : l’exemple de l’architecture commerciale française

Sabrina Hombourger-Barès & Franck Barès (2018)

Management international, Online first

Résumé. L’innovation requiert une activité en réseau pour laquelle différents acteurs doivent s’associer. La conduite d’une enquête ethnographique au sein de l’architecture commerciale française souligne l’ambivalence du processus de coproduction. L’analyse identifie des sources de co-création et co-destruction, liées aux motivations des acteurs et à leurs interactions, et rend compte de leurs conséquences. Les détaillants sont invités à se (re)positionner comme des chefs de projet, garants de l’assignation des rôles et de l’arbitrage entre les fonctions créatives et techniques. Le développement de nouvelles plateformes de communication, susceptibles de pallier les biais d’interprétation entre acteurs issus de mondes différents, est également suggéré.

Mots-Clés : commerce de détail; design de l’expérience en magasin; réseau de valeur; coproduction; co-création/ co-destruction de valeur; théorie des conventions; économie des grandeurs; enquête ethnographique

The Dark Side of Value Co-Creation: The Example of French Commercial Architecture

Abstract. Innovation is a network activity where different actors collaborate. An ethnographic survey of the French commercial architecture industry highlights the ambivalence of this co-production process. The results identify the sources of co-creation and co-destruction related both to the motivations of the actors and their interactions and examines their consequences. Retailers are encouraged to reposition themselves as project leaders, responsible for both assigning roles and mediating between the creative and technical functions. The development of new communication platforms to overcome interpretive biases between the diverse set of actors is also recommended.

Keywords: retail industry; store design; value network; coproduction; value co-creation; value co-destruction; convention theory; economies of worth; ethnographic survey

Lien vers la revue / Link to the review

The No TAV Entrepreneurs’ Transition towards a Sustainable Solidarity Economy: Pragmatic Analysis of a Social Innovation Process

Marina Soubirou (2018)

Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, 7(1) : p. 88-110

Abstract. Whilst a global transition towards sustainability appears to be a pressing challenge, several surveys have shown that sustainable principles and values seem to emerge on a global scale. Various social movements have laid claim to such a transition. An example of these movements is the No TAV movement in the lower part of the Susa Valley in Italy. Since the 1990s, this area has been the scene of a territorial conflict pitting the local inhabitants against the Italian state on a 54km long railway tunnel project under the Alps. By strongly rejecting this project and collective participation in numerous resistance movements, the Low-Valsusans have gradually become a territorialized community whose members seem to share a set of sustainable principles and values. In our research, we have questioned the impact of this very peculiar context on the local small and medium entrepreneurs, trying to find out if they are sharing the sustainable norms of their community, and whether it influences their activities. Are the Low-Valsusan entrepreneurs currently in transition towards a sustainable solidarity economy? We have been able to portray an ongoing social innovation process in the lower part of the Susa Valley through which these entrepreneurs are gradually getting involved in the implementation of the sustainable principles and values of their community. After the introduction of our transdisciplinary theoretical and methodological framework, this paper will describe this peculiar social innovation process that seems to be currently transforming the Low-Valsusan entrepreneurs’ activities.

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Experimentalismus und Soziologie

Tanja Bogusz (2018)

Frankfurt: Campus.

Excerpt. « Die « Prüfung », der « Test » oder die « Kontroverse » stellen aus dieser Perspektive die Dreh- und Angelpunkte des sozialtheoretischen Erkenntnisgewinns dar, der, wie im « Testdurchlauf I » gezeigt wurde, auf der erkenntnistheoretischen Voraussetzung einer Erfahrungsdifferenz oder eines Erfahrungsbruches beruht. In den frühen STS zielte der epistemologische Status der Prüfung zunächst auf ihre Etablierung als Beobachtungskategorie ab. Demnach definierte die Prüfungssituation den Moment, in dem die beobachteten Wissenschaftler über die Operationalisierbarkeit einer Hypothese entscheiden. Mit der Akteur-Netzwerk-Theorie (ANT) wurde dieses Verfahren in die eigene Gegenstandskonstitution integriert. Die pragmatische Soziologie der Kritik nach Luc Boltanski und Laurent Thevenot hat daran anschließend ein Modell entwickelt, das die Kategorie der Prüfung mittels des Kritikbegriffes sozialtheoretisch explizierte. [203]  Die französische pragmatische Soziologie der Prüfung, auch Soziologie der Kritik genannt, entstand in Frankreich Mitte der 1980er Jahre. 183 Sie war Ergebnis einer intensiven Auseinandersetzung sowohl mit Pierre Bourdieu, aus dessen Forschergruppe sie kam, als auch mit der gegen Bourdieu und die etablierte Soziologie im Allgemeinen opponierenden etudes des sciences et des techniques. Die französischen STS hatten an der Ecole des Mines unter der Leitung von Bruno Latour, Madeleine Akrich und Michel Callon zur gleichen Zeit begonnen, mit der »Soziologie der Übersetzung«, sprich der ANT Schule zu machen. Die Begründer der Soziologie der Kritik, Luc Boltanski und Laurent Thevenot übernahmen von Bourdieu den epistemologischen Konstruktivismus, der die induktiven Klassifikationsprinzipien soziologischer Kategorien hinterfragte und durch eine korrelative und praxistheoretische Perspektive ersetzte. Mit der von Latour, Law, Akrich und Callon entwickelten ANT teilte die Soziologie der Kritik das Ziel, eine analytische Neukonzeptualisierung sozialer Dynamiken zu entwickeln, die sich auf die Beobachtung von Kontroversen und deren Bearbeitung konzentrierte. » [p. 272]

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Targeting Fallible Men: Communication Strategies and Moral Issues in a Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Trial

Mathieu Trachman & Gabriel Girard (2018)

Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 79, pp.  S13–S19.

Abstract. Based on the analysis of a French pre-exposure prophylaxis trial (Ipergay), and focusing on the communication strategies used to recruit volunteers, this article explores the figure who serves to justify the trial and who shapes the way in which populations concerned by this prevention tool are targeted. We show that this figure is that of the fallible man, a classic in moral philosophy: while aware of what is good or right for him, he is unable to put this knowledge into practice. The targeting of fallible men makes sense in the context of a resurgence of high-risk behaviors objectified in the late 1990s: qualifying gays who take risks as fallible individuals create a distance with respect to the “barebacker” who risks his life deliberately and has no intention of changing his behavior. Recognizing that certain gays are vulnerable to risk also provides justification for a preventive strategy that acknowledges the inadequacy of behavioral prevention, without giving up on prevention altogether. All in all, this analysis shows that the technological and epidemiological realism often highlighted in pre-exposure prophylaxis interventions is not without a moral dimension, attentive to individuals’ contradictions and singularities, doubts and uncertainties, and to the risk of stigmatization inherent to the acknowledgement of risk-taking.

Keywords: pre-exposure prophylaxis trial, communication strategies, HIV, gay men, France

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Battles through and about statistics in French pay equity bargaining: The politics of quantification at workplace level

Sophie Pochic & Vincent‐Arnaud Chappe  (2018)

Gender, Work & Organization. Online first. 

Abstract. “This article proposes to study the discreet ‘battles of numbers’ at workplace level, particularly exacerbated on pay equity, in relation to its potential additional costs for employers. Figures are at once a framework, an object and a resource for power struggles between social partners. This approach is inspired by ‘statactivism’, a research perspective that studies the ways and contexts in which statistics can become tools for social mobilization. In a European context where bargaining is increasingly decentralized to company level, we argue that researchers should pay attention to statistical resources and quantification skills of negotiators, both on the management and unions side. They should also include in their analytical framework the influence of experts and specialists who advise social partners on how to strategically produce and use gender‐sensitive statistics. In this article, two case studies allow us to open the ‘black box’ of equality bargaining, revealing challenges and controversies of gender pay reporting.”

KEYWORDS: equality bargaining, gender pay gap, quantification, statistics, transparency

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The Politics of Big Data Assemblages

Biagio Aragona, Cristiano Felaco, Marina Marino (2018)

Partecipazione e Conflitto 11(2), pp. 448-471.

Abstract. One way to study the politics of big data is the inspection of their assemblages. By opening up the “black boxes” of data assemblages, it is possible to reconstruct the choices, compromises, conflicts and agree-ments that contributed to the construction of a given datum. Leaning on in-depth interviews and focus groups with experts and specialists who work within three European data centers, we unveil the interde-pendence between social and technical aspects and between a series of internal and external actors, which all contribute to the data assemblage. Results show that communities of experts, technologies, stakeholders and end-users are entwined components that interact amongst them in a contingent and complex web of negotiations and constraints and frame what is possible, desirable and expected by data.

Keywords: Data Assemblage; Big Data; Symbolic power; Qualitative interviews; Data centers

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Wirtschafts- und Finanzsoziologie. Eine kritische Einführung

Uwe Vormbusch (2019)

Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Abstract. ’It’s the economy, stupid!’ Dieser Slogan verhalf Bill Clinton zum Sieg in den US-amerikanischen Präsidentschaftswahlen. Die fundamentale Bedeutung der Wirtschaft für die Gesellschaft mag rhetorisch überhöht werden, bestritten wird sie von niemandem. Von Adam Smith bis Karl Marx, von Friedrich August von Hayek bis John Maynard Keynes, von links bis rechts und in der Mitte sowieso steht die Wirtschaft im Zentrum politischer Gestaltung und theoretischer Anstrengungen. Dementsprechend erlebt die Neue Wirtschaftssoziologie seit einigen Jahren einen beispiellosen Aufschwung. Hierfür sind nicht zuletzt gesellschaftliche Strukturveränderungen wie der Bedeutungsgewinn der Märkte, die Entgrenzung der Arbeit, die Digitalisierung und die dramatischen Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrisen verantwortlich. Vor diesem Hintergrund untersucht die Wirtschaftssoziologie die Grundlagen der ökonomischen Praxis selbst. Sie fordert die Wirtschaftswissenschaften auf ihrem ureigenen Terrain heraus, indem sie behauptet, einen umfassenderen Blick auf diese Praxis zu ermöglichen. Das Lehrbuch gibt einen Überblick über die soziologische Beschäftigung mit der Wirtschaft. Als eines der ersten widmet es sich hierbei gleichberechtigt der Wirtschafts- und der Finanzsoziologie. Während die politische Ökonomie der Finanzmärkte sich deren krisenhaften Dynamik zuwendet, ist die Finanzsoziologie an dem Wissen, den Instrumenten und der Materialität der Finanzmarktpraxis interessiert.

Keywords: Wirtschaftssoziologie, Finanzsoziologie, Finanzmarktkapitalismus, Ökonomie, Finanzmärkte, Soziale Netzwerke, Soziologie der Kritik, Konventionen, Politische Ökonomie, Social Studies of Finance, Digitalisierung, Datenökonomie, Arbeit 4.0, Social Studies of Finance, Realwirtschaft, Finanzwirtschaft

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