Urban green communities. Towards a pragmatic sociology of civic commonality in sustainable citymaking

Anette Gravgaard Christensen, Jakob Laage-Thomsen & Anders Blok (2019)

In: Jens Hoff, Quentin Gausset & Simon Lex, Building a sustainable future. The role of non-state actors in the green transition, Routledge, p. 114-135.

Abstract. In recent years, neighbourhood-based gardens, local food collectives, tree-planting campaigns, and kindred civic environmental initiatives have taken root in cities across the world. Such initiatives are often (self-)described in the language of ‘community’, or fællesskab in Danish, thereby also evoking a contested term from the social sciences. To better conceptualise such ‘urban green communities’, as we call them, this chapter synthesises three main approaches found in the literature. These approaches deal with attachments to one’s neighbourhood or place of residence, how volunteers are enrolled into neo-liberal governance, and imagined communities of civic solidarity. We illustrate these senses of community by drawing on the empirical case of a transition town-affiliated civic gardening initiative in a mid-sized Danish city. In particular, we show how pragmatic sociologist Laurent Thévenot’s notion of ‘commonality in the plural’ and his distinction of familiar, planned, and justifiable engagements, allow us to bring together these otherwise divergent senses of community into a comprehensive analytical framework. Drawing on the empirical case, we argue that Thévenot’s framework provides an empirically sensitive grasp on how groups compose their civic practices vis-à-vis urban–environmental issues as one key component in collective aspirations for more sustainable cities.

Excerpt. “This conceptual mapping serves as a springboard for our core argument: chat in order to adequately grasp the particularity of present-day urban green communities, we need to chink across and co-articulate these otherwise separated out senses of community. We achieve this, in the latter part of the chapter, by showing how French pragmatic sociologist Laurent Thévenot’s notion of ‘commonality in the plural’ and its distinction of familiar, planned, and justifiable engagements in particular allows us to integrate the three existing strands of studies into a more comprehensive conceptual architecture. What this architecture allows in relation to existing frameworks is the placement of analytical and empirical emphasis not on three senses of community separately, but rather on the ways in which any particular civic urban greening group must co-articulate, or ‘co-compose’, these forms of commonality together to achieve their coherence and collective efficacy over time.”

In the same book

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Materialität der Kooperation zur Einleitung

Sebastian Gießmann & Tobias Röhl (2019)

In: S. Gießmann, T. Röhl & R. Trischler (eds.): Materialität der Kooperation. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 3-32.

Abstract. Je länger man über Situationen nachdenkt, umso befremdlicher erscheinen sie. Das gilt für ihre Praxis ebenso sehr wie für alle Begriffe, die versuchen, der Medialität situierter Produktionsweisen gerecht zu werden. Marshall McLuhan hat in einem frühen und unbekannten Text – Notes on the Media as Art Forms – Kommunikation als etwas verstanden, das Teilhabe an gemeinsamen Situationen erzeugt: „[C]ommunication as participation in a common situation“ (McLuhan 1954, S. 6). Damit ist nach den Regeln der transatlantischen Nachkriegsdiskurse zu ‚Medien‘ und ‚Kommunikation‘ weniger ein alltägliches Kommunikationsverständnis adressiert, sondern viel eher die Frage, was Medien generell ausmacht (Schüttpelz 2005).

Excerpt. „Eine analytische Skalierung des Situationsbegriffs: Diese Spielart beruft sich darauf, dass der Begriff der Situation sowohl auf der Mikroebene (Face-to-Face-Situation) als auch auf der Meso- und Makroebene (gesellschaftliche Situation) beziehen kann. Hier sind es die Forscherinnen, die den Begriff unterschiedlich skalieren. Die französische Soziologie der Konventionen (Boltanski und Thévenot 2007; Diaz-Bone 2011) entkoppelt den Situationsbegriff von der leiblichen Ko-Präsenz und nutzt aus, dass er auf verschiedenen Ebenen verstanden werden kann: Ganz gleich ob Face-to-Face-Interaktion, Gruppen und Organisationen oder gar Gesellschaften, sie alle sind gesellschaftlich situiert. Vor diesem Hintergrund müssen sich Handlungen und Diskurse mit Bezug auf übersituative normative Ordnungen jeweils bewähren.“

p. 8

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The Moral Economy of Activation: Ideas, Politics and Policies

Magnus Hansen Magnus (2019)

Bristol: Policy Press

Description. Activation policies which promote and enforce labour market participation continue to proliferate in Europe and constitute the reform blueprint from centre-left to centre-right, as well as for most international organizations. Through an in-depth study of four major reforms in Denmark and France, this book maps how co-existing ideas are mobilised to justify, criticise and reach activation compromises and how their morality sediments into the instruments governing the unemployed. By rethinking the role of ideas and morality in policy changes, this book illustrates how the moral economy of activation leads to a permanent behaviourist testing of the unemployed in public debate as well as in local jobcentres.

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Die Entstehung des integralen Kapitalismus

Luc Boltanski & Arnaud Esquerre (2019)

In: Klaus Dörre, Hartmut Rosa, Karina Becker, Sophie Bose & Benjamin Seyd (eds.): Große Transformation? Zur Zukunft moderner Gesellschaften. Sonderband des Berliner Journals für Soziologie, pp. 147-163.

Zusammenfassung. Der Artikel analysiert die Entwicklung des Kapitalismus in den letzten fünf Jahrzehnten, die in vielen westlichen Industrieländern von der Deindustrialisierung geprägt war. Anstatt jedoch auf die Organisation der Arbeit und deren Wandel zu fokussieren, nimmt die Untersuchung den Handel mit materiellen Dingen in den Blick, die sich in Waren verwandeln, sobald ihnen ein Preis gegeben wird. Hierzu werden vier Inwertsetzungsformen voneinander unterschieden, die es den Akteuren einer Transaktion – Verkäufern wie Käufern – ermöglichen, den Preis einer Ware festzulegen, zu rechtfertigen oder zu kritisieren. Diese Formen – die Standard-, die Anlage-, die Sammlungs- und die Trendform – sind nach und nach ab dem 19. Jahrhundert entstanden. Während die Standardform im Mittelpunkt der industriellen Wirtschaft stand, herrscht die Sammlungsform in der Luxus-, Kulturerbe-, Kunst- und Kulturbranche vor, die seit den 1980er-Jahren stark expandiert. Diese Aktivitäten werden unter Einbeziehung des Tourismus unter dem Begriff „Anreicherungsökonomie“ zusammengefasst. Um die Spezifizität eines Kapitalismus hervorzuheben, der aus den vier Inwertsetzungsformen Nutzen zieht, kann von einem integralen Kapitalismus gesprochen werden.

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Les nouvelles conventions du travail académique ou les reconfigurations du professionnalisme universitaire

Romuald Normand & Marialuisa Villani (2019)

Revue française d’administration publique, N° 169, p. 137-149.

Résumé. L’article examine les modifications les plus marquantes intervenues dans la gouvernance et l’organisation des universités en Europe et leurs effets sur le travail des universitaires. Il explique comment les principes de l’assurance qualité et la Nouvelle Gestion publique génèrent de nouvelles normes et attentes à l’encontre des enseignants-chercheurs à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur de leur université. En présentant les traits fondamentaux de ces nouveaux dispositifs gestionnaires, et leurs conséquences sur l’enseignement et la recherche, il est possible de caractériser de nouvelles conventions du travail académique qui organisent un déplacement d’un professionnalisme de métier à un professionnalisme de l’organisation.

The new conventions of academic work or the reconfigurations of academic professionalism

Abstract. The paper examines the most important changes in the governance and organisation of universities in Europe and their effects on the academic work. It explains how the principles of quality assurance and New Public Management generate new standards and expectations for academics both inside and outside their university. By presenting the fundamental features of these new managerial devices, and their consequences on teaching and research, it is possible to characterise new conventions of academic work that organise a shift from an occupational professionalism to a organisational professionalism.

Extrait : “En même temps qu’ils sont soumis à ces critiques, les universitaires sont confrontés aux nouvelles épreuves instituées par les dispositifs gestionnaires. En reprenant les concepts de Luc Boltanski et d’Eve Chiapello, on peut distinguer deux types d’épreuves :
– des « épreuves de force » parce que les universitaires sont contraints de se conformer à des normes et des instruments qui sont perçus comme étant imposés de l’extérieur. L’institutionnalisation de principes tirés de la nouvelle gestion publique dans les universités a des conséquences inévitables sur leurs activités, la répartition des tâches et leurs responsabilités académiques. Les universitaires doivent s’accommoder avec la mise en place de procédures d’assurance qualité, la définition des critères d’évaluation de la recherche, l’allocation différenciée des ressources, lesquels dépendent aussi d’une décision gestionnaire externe ;
– des « épreuves de justification » en ce sens que les universitaires tendent à justifier leurs actions au regard des critiques qui leur sont adressées et des ajustements à un nouvel ordre institutionnel. Au cours de différents moments de négociation ou de conflits, comme dans leurs interactions avec les pairs et les dirigeants universitaires, ils mobilisent différentes catégories de jugement pour mettre en valeur leurs actions. Ces justifications sont multiples et orientées par une diversité de principes de justice plus ou moins favorables aux transformations de l’organisation universitaire.

[…] Les « épreuves » auxquelles font face les universitaires correspondent à de nouvelles conventions du travail académique qui expriment les attentes et les normes de l’institution universitaire. Elles prennent naissance dans un discours modernisateur et gestionnaire tout en s’articulant à différents principes de justice, décrits par Luc Boltanski et Laurent Thévenot dans leur modèle des cités (Boltanski, Thévenot, 1991). Ces conventions permettent d’éclairer le passage d’un professionnalisme de métier à un professionnalisme de l’organisation, lié au développement de la nouvelle gestion publique et aux nouvelles formes de production des connaissances scientifiques. Elles résultent aussi de compromis relatifs à un ordre négocié entre les universitaires et leur institution, selon des règles mutuellement acceptées, qui peuvent faire aussi l’objet de dénonciations (pour une présentation plus développée cf. Normand, 2016).

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A Sustainable Review of Conventions between Economic Actors

Pierre-Charles Pupion (2020)

In: Eric Milliot & Sophie Nivoix (eds.), Economic Transition and International Business – Managing Through Change and Crises in the Global Economy, New York: Routledge, pp. 39-49

Abstract. The economic convention theory approach gives insight into the genesis and the deepening of the financial crisis. This crisis is coming from mature countries such as the United States; it has impacted countries such as Russia on the way to their growth. This chapter highlights the failure of these coordination mechanisms, so-called conventions necessary for the functioning of the now globalized banking sector. The international rating convention allows the various players to assess the risks of issuers of securities through ratings issued by rating agencies. The collapse of this international rating convention in mature countries was accompanied in the main places by a collapse in financial markets and a generalization of distrust. This study shows that high-growth countries were dependent on financial conventions that were largely created in the United States. They had difficulties in establishing new growth-friendly convention after the collapse of these conventions. The direct financing from the state has emerged in Russia as an effective lever for action for responding to the collapse of the conventions.

Excerpts. “The economic convention theory approach gives insight into the genesis and the deepening of the financial crisis. This crisis is coming from mature countries such as the United States; it has impacted countries such as Russia on the way to their growth. This chapter highlights the failure of these coordination mechanisms, so called conventions necessary for the functioning of the now globalized banking sector. The international rating convention allows the various players to assess the risks of issuers of securities through ratings issued by rating agencies. The collapse of this international rating convention in mature countries was accompanied in the main places by a collapse in financial markets and a generalization of distrust. This study shows that high-growth countries were dependent on financial conventions that were largely created in the United States. They had difficulties in establishing new growth-friendly convention after the collapse of these conventions. The direct financing from the state has emerged in Russia as an effective lever for action for responding to the collapse of the conventions. […] Originally, the economic theory of conventions seeks to solve the problems of economic coordination posed to classical theory. These agreements apply to all the unspeakable problems of coordinating social life such as the management of the phone break or the choice of the dress code for a professional interview. The economic convention is understood as an implicit acceptance of rules of thought or conduct, socially constructed and not imposed by nature, which allows the individual to know how he should behave in given situations, without private calculation. An agent seeking to answer to a specific question may refer to the convention as a model of answer. The convention does not allow him to objectively justify his choice, but it provides the answers needed to overcome his problem. A convention is, according to Gomez (1994), a procedure of collective resolution of the problems characterized by uncertainty and undecidable decisions. A convention emerges as a regular process intended to provide a system of rules giving a solution to the problem. The conventions are arbitrary, for the outside observer, in the sense that there are other possibilities for coordination. The economic theory of conventions has developed two branches called “strategic” and “interpretative” (Batifoulier, 2001). […] The interpretative approach is an extension of the analysis of Weber (1971). This author refers to rules of conduct subject to social judgment, which he distinguishes from custom, habits and law. The convention is also called common sense (Dupuy, 1989), system of knowledge (Salais, 1989) or collective cognitive device. It corresponds, according to Favereau (1989), to a set of rules systems to which individuals refer or conform for his behavior. This approach identifies two levels of convention: conventional rules and evaluation models. The first are simply rules of behavior that allow individuals to cooperate (individuals have divergent interests) or to coordinate themselves (individuals have common interests). However, any rule is incomplete and cannot provide a turnkey solution. Rules need evaluation models that allow interpreting them. The evaluation models are at a higher level; if the rules act at the level of the behaviors, the models of evaluation are ways of the coordination of representations and judgments on the behaviors. To follow a convention it is necessary to follow a rule at the first level and to seek its meaning at the second level. Individuals with a procedural rationality (Biencourt et al., 2001) need to judge the collective in which they are included. […] The rule only makes sense if it is shared by a collective. To follow a rule is to engage in common action by mobilizing values. The choice among several conventions is no longer arbitrary; it is based on a common world supported by certain values and ideas of justice. Boltanski and Thevenot (1991) provide six models of judgment called “cities” (Boltanski and Chiapello (1999) add the city by project) which describe the representations of the agents. To make a judgment on a rule, an individual will mobilize an argument that comes from one of these six cities. As Petit (2014) recalls us, the aforementioned authors study the relations between the different worlds and the resolutions of inherent conflicts. They identify three forms of resolution: the prevalence of one order of worth of worthiness, the arrangement where everyone stays on their positions and finally the compromise.

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L’éducation aux valeurs civiques, comment comparer? Une réflexion méthodologique à partir du cas franco-allemand

Claude Proeschel, Andrea Szukala & Reinhold Hedtke (2019)

Éducation et sociétés, 42, pp. 31-50.

Résumé. À partir du terrain de recherches que constitue la comparaison franco-allemande, cet article mène une réflexion méthodologique sur les conditions de possibilité d’une comparaison dans le domaine de l’éducation civique et morale. Une grande partie des travaux de comparaison se réfère aux modèles nationaux de citoyenneté, d’éducation ou encore de pédagogie. Face aux évolutions concrètes de l’éducation civique, ils révèlent des limites heuristiques dans leur capacité à appréhender et à comparer les phénomènes concrets. L’analyse des possibilités ouvertes par les approches en termes de convention d’éducation civique et morale, dont le point de départ n’est plus l’exposé de différences, mais l’élément commun des situations et pratiques dans les écoles allemandes et françaises, permet alors de proposer des stratégies de recherche comparatiste fondées sur l’approche conventionnaliste.

Educating civil values: how to compare? A methodological reflection on the basis of a Franco-German case

Abstract. On the basis of a field of research based on a Franco-German comparison, this article reflects methodologically on the conditions of possibilities when comparing the field of civic and moral education. A large part of the comparison work refers to national models of citizenship, education or even pedagogy. Faced with concrete evolutions in civil education, they reveal the heuristic limits in their capacity to understand and compare concrete phenomena. Analysing possibilities opened up by approaches in terms of civic and moral convention, of which the starting point is no longer exposing differences, but the common element of situations and practices in German and French schools therefore makes it possible to propose comparatist research strategies based on the conventionalist approach.

Extrait. “Une approche néo-pragmatique de l’éducation conceptualisée selon l’économie des conventions fournit le cadre théorique et méthodologique, les concepts, les méthodes et les preuves empiriques permettant de surmonter les dichotomies connues et influentes du social (Diaz-Bone 2011) : analyse micro ou macro, individualisme ou holisme, rapport entre capacité d’action et structuralisme. S’appuyer sur le pragmatisme est pertinent en éducation à la citoyenneté comparée, domaine où des acteurs intégrés et compétents cherchent à stabiliser les situations dans lesquelles ils évoluent (Dodier 1993), à parvenir à une compréhension commune, normalement par le biais d’un compromis. Pour ce faire, ils usent d’une pluralité limitée de valeurs et de justifications et d’un assemblage d’objets tangibles connexes, pour justifier leurs revendications et se coordonner dans des situations incertaines ou contestées (Boltanski & Thévenot 1996, Dodier 1993). L’analyse comparative de l’éducation civique est en elle-même une approche multi-niveaux qui place la compréhension des situations, la méthodologie pragmatiste du situationnalisme et des interdépendances au centre de la recherche.

La notion de situation, concept central, met l’accent sur la difficile coordination des acteurs lorsqu’elle est déstabilisée par l’incertitude, la critique et le conflit résultant de la pluralité et des contradictions des justifications. Cette pluralité génère de multiples situations pratiques, mais fournit en même temps un nombre limité de justifications et d’objets matériels acceptables pour élaborer une interprétation commune et construire un compromis face aux problèmes de coordination et au conflit, même s’il est souvent temporaire (Boltanski & Thévenot 2006).

La sociologie des conventions fournit une typologie empirique, cohérente, des logiques de coordination collective. Elle distingue le monde domestique, le marché et le monde industriel, celui de l’inspiration, le monde du renom et le monde civique et, plus récemment, les deux mondes écologiste et connexionniste (Boltanski et al. 1999, 369-373 ; Thévenot, Moody & Lafaye 2013, 241, 256-257). Cette approche procure à la recherche comparative sur l’éducation civique et la citoyenneté un outil théorique et empiriquement approprié. Les situations sont comprises comme “des arrangements complexes ou des constellations d’objets, de modèles cognitifs, problèmes (coordinations à réaliser), d’arrangements institutionnels, de personnes et de concepts” (Diaz-Bone 2011, 49). Une analyse conventionnaliste d’une situation reconstruit la pratique complexe de l’interaction entre acteurs en coordination et les conventions et examine “les logiques que les acteurs appliquent pour se coordonner dans le processus de production” (Diaz-Bone 2011, 54). En éducation à la citoyenneté, les produits ainsi réalisés renvoient par exemple aux programmes, aux différents matériels, aux unités d’enseignement, examens, certificats et labels d’établissements ou encore aux accords de coopération avec les parties prenantes. Les conventions désignent des logiques supra-individuelles partagées utilisées dans une situation par des acteurs pour coordonner leurs actions et celles des autres, ainsi que pour évaluer ces actions, d’autres individus et objets (Diaz-Bone 2015, 334).

Surtout, une approche conventionnaliste met en évidence l’imbrication des acteurs avec l’environnement matériel d’une situation et les objets connexes. Ceux-ci jouent un rôle constitutif dans la capacité d’action, la coordination et l’évaluation des situations d’enseignement (Dodier 1993, Throssell 2015), qu’ils contribuent à stabiliser. Pour le cours d’éducation civique, peuvent être cités : cartes murales, drapeaux (inter)nationaux, manuels et livres du maître, tests nationaux, conceptions locales d’excursion ou de programmation scolaire, concours pour la démocratie, applications de conseils aux électeurs, prix pour l’engagement civique, etc. (Hedtke, Proeschel & Szukala 2017, 2019).”

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Green Capital Accumulation: Business and Sustainability. Management in a World of Global Value Chains

Stefano Ponte (2019)

New Political Economy. Online first.

Abstract. Tackling climate change and other environmental crises entails a critical reflection on processes and outcomes that are behind sustainability management by business. Sustainability has become a commodity itself, to be traded, bought, sold and managed like all others. How lead firms in global value chains (GVCs) address sustainability issues has become a key competitive element and a source of value creation and capture – facilitating a process of ‘green capital accumulation’. Sustainability management is emerging as a fourth key capitalist dynamic in addition to cost minimisation, flexibility and speed – leading corporations to devise new spatial, organisational and technological ‘fixes’ to ensure continued capital accumulation. Public actors and civil society groups can address this situation, but their strategies need to be informed by the daily practices, power relations and governance structures of GVCs. Sustainability orchestration by these actors is more likely to succeed when: it employs appropriate combinations of directive and facilitative instruments that reinforce each other; improves issue visibility; provides incentives that facilitate the alignment of private and public sector interests; and leverages specific pressure points at key nodes of GVCs.

Keywords: Business, sustainability, global value chains, capital accumulation

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Business, Power and Sustainability in a World of Global Value Chains

Stefano Ponte (2019)

New York: Zed Books.

About the book. The interaction of sustainability governance and global value chains has crucial implications the world over. When it comes to sustainability the last decade has witnessed the birth of hybrid forms of governance where business, civil society and public actors interact at different levels, leading to a focus on concepts of legitimacy within multi-stakeholder initiatives. Based on more than fifteen years of theoretical engagement and field research, Business, Power and Sustainability in a World of Global Value Chains draws from both labor-intensive value chains, such as in the agro-food sector (coffee, wine, fish, biofuels, palm oil), and from capital-intensive value chains such as in shipping and aviation, to discuss how sustainability governance can be best designed, managed and institutionalized in today’s world of global value chains (GVCs).

Table of contents:

Introduction: Business, Sustainability and the Global Economy

  1. What We Know About Sustainability Governance
  2. Power in Global Value Chains
  3. Sustainability, Power and Governance in the Wine, Coffee and Biofuels Global Value Chains
  4. Value Creation and Capture through Economic and Environmental Upgrading
  5. Orchestrating Sustainability

Conclusion: “Just Sustainabilities” in a World of Global Value Chains

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Big Data et pratiques de GRH

Clotilde Coron (2019)

Management & Data Science, 3 (1). Open access.

“La notion de « Big Data » est devenue courante. Elle renvoie dans le langage commun à la fois à des caractéristiques des données (volume, mise à jour en temps réel…) et à des manières d’utiliser ces données. Peu à peu, cette notion de Big Data irrigue toutes les sphères et fonctions des organisations, entre autres le marketing, et, plus récemment, la GRH (Gestion des ressources humaines : gestion du personnel au sens large, incluant par exemple le recrutement, l’évaluation, la promotion, la mobilité des salariés). Ainsi, la presse généraliste et spécialisée s’intéresse de façon croissante à ce que l’utilisation des Big Data, ou données massives, change dans des domaines très variés. Une recherche Europresse renvoie ainsi 55 518 résultats pour les mots-clés « Big Data » sur l’année 2017, contre seulement 21 dix ans auparavant, en 2007. De la même façon, alors que sur l’année 2007, on trouve 780 références pour les mots-clés « algorithme » ou « algorithm », on en trouve 119 477 pour 2017. La notion d’algorithme renvoie dans son acception première à l’automatisation d’une suite d’opérations statistiques ou informatiques, mais elle est devenue dans le cadre de l’émergence du Big Data une sorte de mot-valise renvoyant à toutes les opérations nécessaires pour produire du sens à partir des données. […] La notion de dispositifs de gestion ou de GRH a été abondamment traitée dans la littérature académique (De Vaujany, 2006 ; Boussard, 2009). Elle renvoie à un ensemble organisé d’éléments ayant une finalité de gestion. Dans d’autres travaux, la notion d’outils de gestion est privilégiée (Chiapello & Gilbert, 2012; Ghaffari, Misset, Pavis & Ponnet, 2013), comme plus englobante que celle de dispositif. […] Cet objectif paraît aussi relativement nouveau et en opposition aux discours historiques sur la statistique, longtemps présentée comme une science visant à comprendre des phénomènes passés ou présents (Desrosières, 2008a, 2008b).”

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Le « Big Data RH » : vers une nouvelle convention de quantification ?

Clotilde Coron (2019)

Annales des Mines – Gérer et comprendre, N° 137, p. 27-38

Résumé. La mobilisation du Big Data dans différentes sphères de la société modifie aujourd’hui nos façons de consommer, de nous informer, de prendre des décisions. Cependant, peu de travaux s’intéressent à l’influence du Big Data sur la manière d’utiliser les chiffres et plus généralement sur la quantification dans les Ressources humaines. En mobilisant le cadre théorique de la sociologie de la quantification, notre travail cherche à identifier si et dans quelle mesure l’utilisation du Big Data contribue à créer de nouvelles conventions de quantification dans les RH. Pour cela, nous nous fondons sur de l’ethnographie organisationnelle grâce à une immersion longue en tant que chef de projet Big Data RH d’une grande entreprise, complétée par huit entretiens semi-directifs. Nous montrons qu’en effet le Big Data contribue à créer une nouvelle convention de quantification en RH, reposant sur une approche prédictive et non plus explicative. Cette convention se caractérise par quatre paradigmes : exhaustivité du modèle, corrélation, personnalisation et amélioration continue.

Big RH Data: Towards a new convention on quantification?

Abstract. The use of big data in various spheres of society is modifying how we consume, obtain information and make decisions. However few studies have focused on how big data affects the way we use statistics and, in particular, quantify human resources (HR). Based on the theoretical framework of the “sociology of quantification”, this research seeks to examine whether, and how much, using big data contributes to designing new conventions on quantification in human resource management. It involved a case study that, conducted during a long period of immersion as the head of a firm’s “Big Data HR Project”, was followed up with eight semi-directive interviews. Big data contributed to creating a new convention about HR quantification based on a predictive (and no longer explanatory) approach. This convention has four paradigms: the model’s completeness, correlation, personalization and ongoing improvements.

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“Oh! Teleworking!” Regimes of engagement and the lived experience of female Spanish teleworkers

Ana Gálvez, Francisco Tirado & Jose M. Alcaraz (2019)

Business Ethics, Online first.

Abstract. This research explores female teleworkers’ domestic and work experiences in their day‐to‐day lives. We draw on focus groups and interviews carried out in Spain and use the pragmatic regimes of engagement framework developed by Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot to analyse them. Their model further develops contributions from post‐humanist discourse (specially from G. Deleuze, F. Guattari and A. Badiou) and from the so‐called “empirical ethics”. This allows us to explore important issues about the temporal‐spatial and material worlds that shape the daily lives of these women, their perceived agential capacities, and their moral and ethical considerations regarding telework. Our paper contributes to the existing critically oriented (qualitative, interpretative) body of work that examines teleworkers’ lived experience by providing and illustrating important clues for examining ethical issues on work–life balance and gender roles.

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Markets from meaning: quality uncertainty and the intersubjective construction of value

Jens Beckert (2019)

Cambridge Journal of Economics, Online first.

Abstract. This article explores price formation in markets where quality cannot be based on intrinsic characteristics of the good exchanged. In such markets, quality uncertainty is not an information problem as described by Akerlof in the market for lemons model. Instead, defining quality is a problem of contingent assessments that are arrived at intersubjectively through discursive practices and mutual observation of market participants. Quality is endogenous to the market process. Institutions and conventions play an important role, much as they do in the market for lemons model, but their function is to generate confidence rather than trust. Prices emerge in such markets from a combination of intersubjectively established quality assessments, institutions and existing structural characteristics of the market. I call this the markets from meaning model, which I develop based on the art market and expand to capital investments and financial speculation.

Link to the review (Open access)

Management Tools, A Social Sciences Perspective

Ève Chiapello & Patrick Gilbert (2019)

Cambridge University Press

About the book. No organization is immune from the influence of management tools. Such tools as norms, indicators, ranking, evaluation grids and management control systems have moved outside the managerial and consultancy realm within which they were first developed to reach public administrations and policy-makers, as well as a range of other governmental and non-governmental organizations. Taking management tools out of the practical and utilitarian contexts to which they are often consigned and approaching them from a social analytical perspective, this book gives primacy to these everyday objects that constitute the background of organizational life and remain too often unquestioned. Bringing together developing streams of research from anthropology, political science, social psychology, sociology, accounting, organisation theory and management, Ève Chiapello and Patrick Gilbert offer an unprecedented theoretical synthesis that will help managers, scholars and policy-makers to unpack the functional and dysfunctional roles and effects of management tools within and across organizations.

This book is an extended and updated version of a former French book publication from 2013.

Excerpt. “The conventionalist approach.
The notion of convention, put forward by the economics of conventions (Economie des Conventions, the school of thought to which Eymard-Duvernay and Thévenot’s research belongs), actually includes two different accepted meanings (Biencourt et al., 2001). According to one, the convention allows the resolution of a problem concerning the coordination of action in a context of uncertainty (e.g., choosing which side of the road to drive on). To this strategic perspective (elaborated by game theory), conventionalist economists have added an interpretative and cognitive perspective. According to them, the convention allows the coordination of both behaviours and representations. Key to coordination is actors’ agreement over the characterisation of situations and the things and people engaged in situations. In both cases we can refer to ‘conventions’ because, as different ways to act are possible, there is a plurality of evaluation models and ways of getting people to agree (Boltanski and Thévenot, 2006). The judgements are expressed through ‘reality tests’ that allow the worth of the beings involved to be established (Boltanski and Thévenot, 2006; Wagner, 1994). When these tests are formalised they presume investment in forms and, the wider their validity, the more it will be said that they are ‘instituted’. Their institution means that they are accepted as legitimate. They are supported by a system of justification that incorporates a definition of the common good (‘polities’ in the models of Boltanski and Thévenot (2006)). We can consider that certain management tools, e.g., performance evaluation systems, equip the reality tests of the business world (Bourguignon and Chiapello, 2005). Numerous works have studied economic phenomena from a conventionalist perspective (Diaz-Bone and Salais, 2011; Eymard-Duvernay, 2006a, 2006b; Karpik, 2010). Although the plurality in market functioning and the multiplicity of enterprise types have been made visible, this approach has rarely taken an interest in management tools themselves. This is because, with their background in economics, conventionalist authors have sought above all to develop an alternative concept of markets as opposed to ‘standard theory’ (Favereau, 1989). A notable exception is the work by Eymard-Duvernay and Marchal (1997) who were looking at the different ways of evaluating workers in the job market, just as Eymard-Duvernay (1989) had earlier sought different models of quality for products. They found that tools and devices for personnel selection were equipped with diverse ‘skills conventions’. Management tools sometimes appear as the means to disseminate a convention and to frame its interpretation. In the view developed by Gomez (1994, 1997), management tools are (along with other elements) part of ‘material devices’ that ensure the dissemination, understanding and repetition of the convention. Mercier (2003) studied the transformation of the forms of management at the RATP (Paris region transport authority). Particularly through the setting up of performance contracts and individual interviews, a double transformation emerged regarding the ‘convention of effort’ that regulates the employment relationship and the ‘quality convention’ that concerns production. The definition that predominates in these analyses is that of a convention that is rarely formulated or formalised but does in fact regulate behaviours and decisions. The works inspired by this perspective are most interesting for the study of management tools as they deal with formats and formatting of information (accounting, indicators, classifications), which are not themselves management tools but are frequently found in their composition […].

The sociology of quantification and classifications.
Desrosières, whose work is devoted to these questions, differentiates the notion of ‘quantification’ from that of ‘measure’, which ‘inspired by the traditional epistemology of natural sciences, implies that something exists in an already measurable form according to a realistic metrology, like the height of the Eiffel Tower’. However: ”the immoderate use of the verb ‘to measure’ leads us into error by leaving in the shadows the conventions of quantification. The verb ‘to quantify’ in its active form (making numbers), supposes that a series of conventions of equivalence should be drawn up and explained beforehand, thereby implying comparisons […] inscriptions, encodings, codified procedures that can be replicated and calculations leading to the same expression in numbers. Measurement properly speaking comes afterwards, as an implementation of conventions.” (Desrosières, 2008, pp. 10- 11, our translation). This sociological approach was applied very early to the different classifications used by the statisticians of the INSEE (French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies), whether it was industrial classifications (Guibert et al., 1971) or those of socio-professional categories (Desrosières, 1977). Desrosières and Thévenot (1988) show that drawing up a classification of socio-professional categories was informed by categorisations developed in other social arenas.”

p. 118-121

Presentation & Table of contents

Link to the book

Modes de normativité et transformations normatives : de quelques cas relatifs aux droits et libertés

Dossier thématique coordonné par Véronique Champeil-Desplats, Jérôme Porta & Laurent Thévenot (2019)

Revue des droits de l’homme, 16, Open online access

Quelques articles du dossier font référence à l’économie des conventions/ Some of the articles in this dossier refer to convention theory.

Véronique Champeil-Desplats, Jérôme Porta & Laurent Thévenot: Introduction: une experience de recherche cooperative et transverse entre droit et sciences sociales (version française). Introduction: a cooperative and transversal research experience between law and the social sciences (English version)

Résumé. Comment appréhender et nommer la diversité des manifestations de ce qui est généralement désigné comme des transferts ou des circulations de normes sociales, économiques ou juridiques ? Comment identifier les mécanismes d’échanges normatifs à l’œuvre ? Quelles formes adoptent les phénomènes de réception et d’appropriation des normes d’un ordre normatif ou d’un mode de normativité à l’autre ? Cette introduction générale revient sur les catégories avec lesquelles les circulations normatives sont habituellement appréhendées par les sciences sociales et juridiques(formel/informel, droit/infra-droit, officiel/officieux) pour proposer un nouveau lexique mettant en valeur la pluralité des modes de normativité et de leurs circulations.

Abstract. How can we analyze and name the diversity of circulations of social, economic or legal norms? How to identify the normative exchange mechanisms? What are the forms of receptions and appropriations of extern norms by each normative order or mode of normativity ? This general introduction returns to the categories from which normative circulations are usually treated in the legal and social sciences (formal/informal, law/infra-law, official/unofficial), to propose a new lexicon highlighting the plurality of modes of normativity and their circulations.

Véronique Champeil-Desplats: Droit, pluralité des modes de normativité et internormativité. Regard juridique (version française) Law, the plurality of modes of normativity and their interactions (English version)

Résumé. Dans le champ juridique, comme dans celui des sciences humaines et sociales se donnant, pour objet l’analyse des phénomènes normatifs, le contexte est depuis plusieurs années au regain des réflexions. Celles-ci sont stimulées par le constat d’une évolution et d’une diversification des expressions tant des modes de normativité que de leurs formes de rencontre et d’interaction. Il s’agit ici de repérer ce qui constituent ces modes et comment se caractérisent leurs rencontres et leurs issues. 

Abstract. The legal field, as well in the human and social sciences, is objet a revival of analyze about normative phenomena. It sis stimulated by the observation of an evolution and diversification of expressions of modes of normativity and their forms of interaction. The aim here is to identify what these modes are and how are characterized their interactions and outcomes.

Laurent Thévenot:  Ce qui engage: la sociologie des justifications, conventions et engagements, à la rencontre de la norme (version française) What engages ? The sociology of justifications, conventions, and engagements, meeting norms (English version)

Résumé. Le mouvement sociologique dont cet article rend compte a favorisé un genre de coopération avec le droit qui rapproche les opérations et catégories fondamentales des deux disciplines. Il remonte à un déplacement conceptuel depuis la notion classique de norme sociale, conduisant à l’analyse de “conventions” qui gouvernent normativement la coordination incertaine des actions. Des “investissements de forme” sont nécessaires à la mise en œuvre de ces conventions. Mis dans un format approprié, l’environnement soutient la convention normative de coordination pour laquelle il est “qualifié”. Une extension ultérieure a réélaboré la notion d’identité personnelle requise pour une coordination avec d’autres selon une normativité collective. Une identité personnelle dynamique est le résultat composite d’une pluralité d’engagements personnels qui se chevauchent, engagements qui ne coordonnent avec d’autres mais avec soi-même. Chacun de ces régimes d’engagement assure un mode de continuité de la personne, d’un moment à l’autre, gagée par une relation avec l’environnement matériel. La normativité qui maintient la coordination avec d’autres repose sur des engagements personnels, ce qui suggère d’élargir la notion de normativité et ses modes. Pénétrant dans le plus personnel de ce qui engage, le cadre d’analyse de la sociologie des conventions et engagements éclaire les transformations de ce qui préoccupe personnellement, jusqu’à la mise en commun et en différend de ces préoccupations, selon différentes grammaires.

Abstract. The sociological trend reported in this article has fostered a kind of cooperation with law scholars that brings together the fundamental operations and categories of the two disciplines. It goes back to a conceptual shift from the usual notion of social norm leading to the analysis of “conventions” that normatively govern the uncertain coordination of actions. Form-giving operations – or “investments in forms” – are needed for the implementation of these conventions. The properly formatted environment is thus a main support for normative convention of coordination as long as it “qualifies” for this normativity. A further extension reworked the notion of personal identity that is required for the coordination with others according to collective normativity. A dynamic personal identity is the composite result of multiple overlapping personal modes of engaging that do not coordinate with others but with oneself. Each of these regimes of engagement ensures a kind of continuity of the person from one moment to the next, backed by the relationship to the engaged material environment. Coordination with others builds on such personal engagements which broaden the notion of normativity and its modes. Approaching the most personal aspects of what engages, the sociology of conventions and engagements sheds light on the transformations of personal concerns, up to modes of public communicating and differing according to different grammars.

Joëlle Affichard: Normes juridiques, concepts statistiques et fonctionnement des tribunaux africains (version française) Legal norms, statistical concepts, and the functioning of african courts (English version)

Résumé. De vastes projets de modernisation de la justice sont promus par les bailleurs de fonds internationaux dans les pays en développement, visant à renforcer l’État de droit et en particulier accroître l’efficacité de la justice. Ces programmes incluent de plus en plus souvent la création de statistiques sur l’activité des tribunaux. L’auteure de l’article a été responsable de plusieurs de ces projets. Elle constate que la normalisation inhérente à l’opération statistique se heurte à des difficultés tenant à des écarts de fonctionnement par rapport aux procédures codifiées. Ces écarts sont analysés comme hybridation entre modes de normativité souvent décrits comme formes traditionnelles et formes modernes de règlement des litiges.

Abstract. Several large-scale projects geared at the modernization of the justice system in developing countries are being promoted by international aid donors. These projects aim to strengthen the rule of law, and in particular to increase the efficiency of justice. They increasingly include the creation of statistics on the courts activities. The author of the article was responsible for several of these projects. She observes that the gaps between the codified procedures and the day-to-day practice stood in the way of the standardization process inherent to statistical analysis operations. These gaps can be analyzed as a hybridization between modes of normativity often described as traditional forms and modern forms of dispute resolution.

Emmanuelle Cheyns & Laurent Thévenot: Le gouvernement par standards de certification consentement et plaintes des communautés affectées (version française) Government by certification standards. The consent and complaints of affected communities (English version)

Résumé. Parmi les instruments normatifs contemporains de régulation, les standards privés et volontaires relèvent d’un véritable mode nouveau de gouvernement en quête de légitimité. A partir du standard RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), nous analysons le modèle politique normatif sous-jacent aux initiatives dites multi-stakeholders. En s’appuyant sur une composition libérale du commun, ces initiatives remodèlent et transforment des éléments de droits internationaux tels que la notion de consentement des peuples (Free Prior and Informed Consent) que des ONG ont introduite dans le standard. Nous comparons le gouvernement RSPO » au droit national et au fonctionnement d’un Etat quant à ses fonctions légitimes et principes idéaux. Nous comparons en particulier les fonctions de police et de justice et leurs modalités d’expression. Enfin, nous abordons les questions soulevées par le pluralisme des modes de normativité et d’évaluation confrontés dans ce gouvernement. Les préoccupations des parties prenantes reconnues comme les plus vulnérables (“petits planteurs”, “communautés locales”) doivent être transformées (et réduites) pour être recevables dans le standard RSPO et son gouvernement, qu’il s’agisse d’expressions de leur accord pour l’usage de terres par des entreprises privées, de demandes ou de plaintes qu’elles déposent.

Abstract. Among contemporary normative instruments of regulation, private and voluntary standards are a new mode of government in search of legitimacy. By considering the RSPO standard (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), we analyze the normative political model underlying the so-called “multi-stakeholder” initiatives. Relying on a liberal composition of commonality and difference, these initiatives reshape elements of international human rights such as the notion of people’s consent (Free Prior and Informed Consent) that NGOs introduced in the standard. We compare the “RSPO government” to national law, and the functioning of a state with respect to its legitimate functions and ideal principles, in particular, police and justice functions. Finally, we address the issues raised by the plurality of modes of normativity and evaluation in the RSPO government. The most vulnerable stakeholders’ (“smallholders’”, “local communities’”) concerns have to be reshaped (and reduced) into formats that are accepted by the RSPO standard and government, when expressing their agreement for the use of their lands by corporations, or filing claims or complaints.

Interview of Marcus Colchester, founder of the NGO Forest Peoples Programme, on the ‘Free, Prior and Informed Consent’ of communities by Emmanuelle Cheyns & Laurent Thévenot (English version only)

Abstract. In this interview, Marcus Colchester spells out the dual origin of “Free, Prior and Informed Consent” in the human rights world, and the use of it as a collective right. He highlights the tensions that this use may generate between the human right framework, national laws, and community customary norms. Finally he comments on the benefits and difficulties he met when striving to introduce this collective right into sustainability standards such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil standard, because of the pluralism of modes of normativity.

Link to the review