Quantifier et évaluer l’action publique décentralisée : les cas du Fonds Social Européen et du Conseil régional de Picardie

Thomas Bertrand (2018)


PhD thesis, defended on 17-10-2018 in Amiens, within the framework of the Doctoral School in Human and Social Sciences (Amiens) , in partnership with the University Centre for Research on Public Action and Politics, Epistemology and Social Sciences (Amiens ; 1971-…) (laboratory) .


Dealing with the unititiated relationship to quantitative “evaluation” of the territorial public intervention, this thesis analyses the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Conseil régional de Picardie (CRP) cases and combines interviews, statistics, archives and observations. Four questions outline the demonstration. The ESF case enables to show that the law is a possibility and inefficiency condition of quantification. If it contributes to determine the existence and the features of the CRP statistics infrastructure, the law also makes figure manipulation possible. The links between law and statistics can adopt a dialectical connection, where quantification is used as an instrument to exploit legal uncertainties. The performative nature of statistics forms is due to the more or less close correspondance between the technical, institutionnal and symbolic properties of these forms and those of the context they are introduced in. The CRP case reveals a separation between the adjustment of statistical and evaluative tools and their performativity. The conditions that have contributed to the establishment of these tools have also limited their effectiveness. If it has some innovative aspects, the “new public quantification” is not that far from other statistics forms if we examine for instance its categories of legitimation. We show the reversibility of the “evaluation”, both resources and ties for groups of agents involved in institutionnal rivalries. The proceedings of an “evaluation” can be analysed as the retranslation of differences of opinion about social issues extrinsic to the evaluation procedure.

The jury was composed of Patrick Lehingue, Corine Eyraud, Jay Rowell, Pierre-Yves Baudot, Patrick Le Lidec. The “rapporteurs” were Corine Eyraud and Jay Rowell.

Download link: http://www.theses.fr/2018AMIE0040/document