Convention Theory, Surveys and Moral Collectives

Rainer Diaz-Bone (2019)

In: Joller, Stefan/Stanisavljevic, Marija (eds.): Moralische Kollektive. Theoretische Grundlagen und empirische Einsichten. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 115-135.

Abstract. The contribution approaches methodological problems and issues of philosophy of science from the perspective of economics of convention (EC, also named convention theory). EC is part of the new French pragmatic social sciences, which recombine the two megaparadigms structuralism and pragmatism in a new way, making pragmatism again a much stronger influence. Convention theory emphasizes the pragmatic and pluralist normativity of social coordination. For this conventions as logics of interpretation, evaluation and valuation are necessary foundational structures for actors and processes. The contribution introduces the concept of quality conventions and the model of worlds of production. Scientific collectivities, paradigms and scientific movement can be seen as moral collectivities, grounding research and scientific practices on conventions as normative orders. This way, convention theory links data to values and measurement to normativities, instead of separating them. EC is then applied to problems of measurement, quantification, categorization and the coordination of survey, arguing that these are based on conventions. Also big data as phenomena is discussed from EC’s perspective.

Keywords: Economics of convention, Quality convention, Worlds of production, Methodology, Measurement, National statistical institutes, Survey research, Big data

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