Beyond privacy vs. health: a justification analysis of the contact-tracing apps debate in the Netherlands

Lotje Elizabeth Siffels (2020)

Ethics and Information Technology, Online first

Abstract. In the Netherlands, as in many other nations, the government has proposed the use of a contact-tracing app as a means of helping to contain the spread of the corona virus. The discussion about the use of such an app has mostly been framed in terms of a tradeoff between privacy and public health. This research statement presents an analysis of the Dutch public debate on Corona-apps by using the framework of Orders of Worth by Boltanski and Thévenot (1991). It argues that this framework can help us to move beyond the dichotomy of privacy vs. public health by recognizing a plurality of conceptions of the common good in the debate about contact-tracing apps. This statement presents six orders of worth present in the Dutch debate: civic, domestic, vitality, market, industrial and project, and argues that the identification of which common goods are at stake will contribute to discussions about the use of this technology from a standpoint with a richer ethical perspective.

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Getting real: heuristics in sociological knowledge

Dylan Riley, Patricia Ahmed, et Rebecca Jean Emigh (2020)

Theory & Society. Online first

Abstract. This article examines the connections among heuristics, the epistemological and ontological presuppositions that underlie theorizing, and substantive explanations in sociology. It develops and contrasts three heuristics: “doing as knowing” (DK), “categorizing as knowing” (CK), and “praxis as knowing” (PK). These are each composed of four dimensions: the theory of knowledge, the theory of reality, the theory of the growth of knowledge, and the theory of knowledge producers. The article then shows the importance of heuristics for empirical work by demonstrating how they shape explanations in the sociological subfield of the historical sociology of knowledge. The essay draws two main conclusions: it argues that PK offers a more useful basis for developing explanations in sociology than either of the two alternatives (DK and CK) that currently shape substantive work; furthermore, it claims that the exposition of heuristic assumptions is an important task for sociology.

Extract. “This article identifies and critiques two heuristics—we summarize them here in their most coherent forms to facilitate a comparison—that dominate contemporary sociology: a framework that equates the knowledge of things with the ability to manipulate them and a framework that equates the knowledge of things with the ability to categorize them. We call the first framework “doing as knowing” (DK) and the second one “categorizing as knowing” (CK). Both frameworks, for different reasons, accord an unrealistic power to expert knowers (whether they are located in states or in non-state institutions). We then develop an alternative to these two heuristics called “praxis as knowing” (PK), which recognizes that interacting knowledgeable agents constitute the main objects of knowledge in sociology. […] At the end of our article, we assess the utility of each of these heuristics for substantive theorizing in the burgeoning field of the historical sociology of official knowledge (Desrosières 1998, p. 1; 2008, p. 40; Loveman 2014, pp. 6–8; Mora 2014, p. 184; Nobles 2000, pp. 1–3; Porter 1995, pp. 5–6; Starr 1987, pp. 7–8; for a recent overview, see Diaz-Bone and Didier 2016, pp. 7–10).” (pp. 1/3)

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Mass personalization: Predictive marketing algorithms and the reshaping of consumer knowledge

Baptiste Kotras (2020)

Big Data and Society 7(2), pp. 1-14

Abstract. This paper focuses on the conception and use of machine-learning algorithms for marketing. In the last years, specialized service providers as well as in-house data scientists have been increasingly using machine learning to predict consumer behavior for large companies. Predictive marketing thus revives the old dream of one-to-one, perfectly adjusted selling techniques, now at an unprecedented scale. How do predictive marketing devices change the way corporations know and model their customers? Drawing from STS and the sociology of quantification, I propose to study the original ambivalence that characterizes the promise of a mass personalization, i.e. algorithmic processes in which the precise adjustment of prediction to unique individuals involves the computation of massive datasets. By studying algorithms in practice, I show how the active embedding of local preexisting consumer knowledge and punctual de-personalization mechanisms are keys to the epistemic and organizational success of predictive marketing. This paper argues for the study of algorithms in their contexts and suggests new perspectives on algorithmic objectivity.

Extract. “How do these predictive algorithms for personalized marketing change the way corporations know and act upon their customers? As “personalization” constitutes the horizon of countless contemporary algorithmic devices (Lury and Day, 2019; Mackenzie, 2018), I study how this general promise unfolds in action, analyzing at a fine-grain level the discussions and material practices of the actors involved in the conception and use of predictive marketing algorithms. Drawing from STS and the sociology of quantification, I consider the epistemic and political consequences of these very practices and assemblages on the production of consumer knowledge (Bowker, 2005; Diaz-Bone and Didier, 2016; Espeland and Stevens, 2008). In particular, this qualitative study contributes to the reflections on the new forms of social ordering performed by Big Data analytics, and how these technologies shape and account for individuality (Bolin and Schwarz, 2015; Couldry et al., 2016). It focuses on the original ambivalence of personalized algorithmic marketing, which draws on both instrumental and humanistic arguments, as it simultaneously aims to optimize market strategies, and to take better account of persons, i.e. of each unique customer, defined by her specificities, needs and life trajectory. […] This result also suggests that we need to take seriously the moral claims made by data science, which are keys to its growing pervasiveness. Here, the promise of supporting better market relations, more adjusted to individual authentic aspirations, is part of a longstanding criticism of traditional statistical categories, considered as insufficiently precise to do justice to the specificity of individuals (Boyd and Crawford, 2012; Desrosières, 2011).” (p. 2/11)

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Put to the test: For a new sociology of testing

Noortje Marres & David Stark (2020)

British Journal of Sociology 71(3), pp. 423-443

Abstract. In an age defined by computational innovation, testing seems to have become ubiquitous, and tests are routinely deployed as a form of governance, a marketing device, an instrument for political intervention, and an everyday practice to evaluate the self. This essay argues that something more radical is happening here than simply attempts to move tests from the laboratory into social settings. The challenge that a new sociology of testing must address is that ubiquitous testing changes the relations between science, engineering, and sociology: Engineering is today in the very stuff of where society happens. It is not that the tests of 21st‐century engineering occur within a social context but that it is the very fabric of the social that is being put to the test. To understand how testing and the social relate today, we must investigate how testing operates on social life, through the modification of its settings. One way to clarify the difference is to say that the new forms of testing can be captured neither within the logic of the field test nor of the controlled experiment. Whereas tests once happened inside social environments, today’s tests directly and deliberately modify the social environment.

Extract. “The notion that the sociology of testing should move beyond the laboratory or the field experiments of technologists was central to the work of the French sociology of critical capacities (in French: the sociology of épreuves, literally meaning trials). In the 1990s, this emerging school proposed that critical moments are ones in which justificatory claims, based on the principles of market, inspiration, efficiency, loyalty, fame, and the civic (Boltanski & Thévenot, 2006), are put to the test (Stark, 2011).” (p. 425)

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From starving artist to entrepreneur. Justificatory pluralism in visual artists’ grant proposals

Julia Peters & Hank Roose (2020)

British Journal of Sociology. Online first

Abstract. Inspired by French pragmatism and using Bourdieu’s notion of “refraction” as an indication of a field’s autonomy, we explore in‐depth what kinds of justifications visual artists deploy to legitimate their requests for government money. Based on 494 government grant proposals from visual artists between 1965 and 2015 in Belgium, we find six such justifications. The reputational, esthetic, and romantic justifications are grounded in autonomous criteria of worth, such as artistic CVs, the work of art itself, and a compulsive desire to make art. Since the 90s, social, academic, and entrepreneurial justifications bring in heteronomous criteria, or refractions of field‐external values. Artistic practices become increasingly legitimized through engagement with social/political issues, academic methods and terminology, and an entrepreneurial spirit. We empirically show how the refraction of governmental logics is multi‐faceted, yet always related to or combined with artistic concerns, which we interpret as characteristic for the artistic field’s persisting autonomy in the face of heteronomous pressures.”

Excerpt. “Using unique archival records of grant proposals from visual artists asking for government funding between 1965 and 2015 in Flanders (Belgium), our objectives are twofold. First, we investigate the justifications used by visual artists to legitimize their work as worthy of state support. These proposals present one of the few loci where artists are forced to legitimize themselves as artists discursively. Thereby, they typically seek to “bridge private assessments and collective values” (Gielen, 2002, p. 126, translated from Dutch), that is, artists try to strike a balance between formulating their applications in line with their own artistic dispositions and what they perceive to be the criteria deployed by the government to distinguish good from bad art(ists). Our focus on justifications is inspired by French pragmatic sociology, which analyses how actors draw on a variety of “orders of worth” to justify their actions within certain situations (Boltanski & Thévenot, 2006; Heinich, 2000, 2011; Lamont, 2012). »

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Tamensourt, une ville nouvelle à la merci des spéculateurs immobiliers

Saïd Arab (2020)

Espace Géographique et Société Marocaine, 37/38, pp. 29-56

Résumé. Le présent article montre que la spéculation immobilière irrationnelle a contribué au ralentissement du rythme d’urbanisation de la ville nouvelle de Tamensourt. En effet, le promoteur public Al Omrane, qui est chargé de produire la grosse part des biens immobiliers de Tamensourt, a transféré la majeure partie de son offre de logements et de terrains aux spéculateurs immobiliers, au lieu de la vendre directement aux ménages qui ont en besoin réellement pour l’habitation. Ainsi, à cause de ces spéculateurs, ces biens immobiliers ne trouvent pas facilement d’acquéreurs. Il en découle une très faible augmentation du nombre de nouveaux ménages résidant à Tamensourt depuis sa création en 2004. D’où le ralentissement du rythme d’urbanisation de cette ville nouvelle.

Extrait. “Par ailleurs, comme il a été démontré par André Orléan (2004), le prix ne constitue pas toujours une valeur fondamentale à laquelle se réfèrent les agents économiques. Ceux-ci s’appuient aussi sur un raisonnement fondé sur ce qu’André Orléan appelle la « convention » et « le mimétisme » : «…chacun se détermine, non pas à partir de son estimation de la valeur fondamentale, mais à partir de ce qu’il pense que les autres vont faire.» (André Orléan, 2004, p. 39).”

Abstract. This article shows that irrational real estate speculation has contributed to the slowdown in the pace of urbanization in the new city of Tamensourt. Indeed, the public developer Al Omrane, which is responsible for producing the bulk of Tamensourt’s real estate assets, has transferred most of its supply of housing and land to real estate speculators, instead of selling it directly to households in real need of housing. Thus, because of these speculators, these properties do not easily find buyers. As a result, there has been a very small increase in the number of new households residing in Tamensourt since its establishment in 2004. Hence the slowdown in the pace of urbanization of this new city.

Extract. “Moreover, as demonstrated by André Orléan (2004), price is not always a fundamental value to which economic agents refer. They also rely on reasoning based on what André Orléan calls « convention » and « mimicry »: « …each one determines himself, not on the basis of his estimate of the fundamental value, but on the basis of what he thinks the others will do ». (André Orléan, 2004, p. 39)”

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The Work of Art Criticism: Collaboration, Communication, Community

Matthew Bowman (2020)

Arts 9(4), 101, pp. 1-15.

Abstract. This essay aims to reconsider the practice of art criticism. The first part aims to clear away some misconceptions that reduce art criticism to a fundamentally negative discourse that asserts a theory/practice distinction. In the second part, the essay tries to think of art criticism as collaborative writing alongside rather than about an artist. The third part, however, highlights some problems insofar as communication and collaboration have become imbricated within post-Fordist socioeconomic frameworks. In addition, the fourth part seeks to propose another direction by suggesting why art criticism and Kantian aesthetics may discover a renewed interest in one another through rethinking the sensus communis as an alternative to post-Fordist sociality.

Extract. « Published in France in 1999, and translated into English during 2007, Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello’s book The New Spirit of Capitalism provides an in-depth sociological analysis of these economic changes—especially as these appertain to France but also with a general applicability to other nation states. Historically situated as a counter-response to Fordist capitalism, they argue, were two modes of critique, namely, social critique (which focuses on inequality, poverty, egoism, and exploitation) and artistic critique, which, in Boltanski’s words “criticizes oppression in the capitalist world (the domination of the market, the discipline of the factory), the uniformity of mass society and the commodification of everything, and it valorises an ideal of liberation and individual autonomy, of uniqueness and authenticity” (Boltanski 2008, p. 55). Although identified as two different types of critique, insofar as capitalism is their mutual target, then social and artistic critique may be regarded as two sides of the same coin. Artistic critique is not here the same thing as art criticism but, rather, is closer to artistic practice and names attributes that may be found in both artistic practice and art criticism (to an extent, art criticism might function somewhere between social and art critique). Historically, Boltanski and Chiapello argue, social critique would be more prevalent than artistic critique, which is mostly restricted to particular avant-garde circles. » (p. 7-8)

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Reality tests: navigating education to work transitions into weak-form occupations

Rebecca Ye (2020)

Journal of Education and Work 33(3), pp. 242-253

Abstract. Drawing on pragmatic and occupational sociology, this paper examines how individuals in Sweden embark on occupations that are in nascent stage and for work tasks that are weakly defined. I accompanied a group of aspirants as they moved from a higher vocational education programme into the labour market, following their learning journeys towards emerging occupational roles. The present paper focuses on how they face reality tests related to their unclear occupational futures and the navigation of ethical grey zones when in the labour market. These tests occur in transition from education to work, and particularly for emerging occupations, due to the uncertain and fragile logics that surround new work tasks; in this case, offering digital data services. Through encountering these tests, aspirants are offered the opportunity to negotiate and develop moral competence, although they vary in their coping strategies. The findings of this analysis set out to contribute to the literature on how individuals are prepared for emerging occupations and propose the concept of ‘weak-form occupations’ as a means to characterise and examine education to work pathways that are less intuitive or predictable.

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Rationalité autoréférentielle et mimétisme

André Orléan

Séminaire le 9 octobre 2020 – 12:00 – 13:30 – Pacte
Sciences Po Grenoble – Amphi F

Lors des crises financières, la panique prend brutalement le pas sur l’euphorie. L’économie casino conduit alors à des situations a priori incohérentes. Cette exubérance des marchés n’est pourtant pas irrationnelle. Bien au contraire, elle révèle la nature autoréférentielle des anticipations sur les marchés financiers. La prise en considération du mimétisme des comportements permet ainsi d’appréhender la déconnexion de la finance avec l’économie réelle et souligne l’impérieuse nécessité de la réguler.

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L’empire des chiffres

Olivier Martin (2020)

Paris: Armand Colin.

Résumé. L’heure, la qualité d’un restaurant, la température, le taux de chômage, le QI, la durée d’un entraînement, la réussite d’un lycée, la richesse, une cote de popularité… Il semble impossible d’échapper aux chiffres  ! Mais à quoi servent-ils exactement  ? D’où viennent-ils  ? Et pourquoi met-on le monde en chiffres ? Les chiffres régissent une bonne partie de nos vies  : ils servent à coordonner nos actions, à établir des règles de vie commune et à trouver des conventions au sein des collectifs. Ils contribuent aux prises de décision et à l’exercice du pouvoir. Ils participent à nos quêtes de justice et d’harmonie, et à la construction de la confiance. Et ils prétendent aussi refléter la réalité de façon objective. La puissance des chiffres provient-elle de leur capacité à énoncer des certitudes, de notre soumission volontaire à des artifices utiles, de leur aptitude à fabriquer un monde et à nous l’imposer, ou des leviers qu’ils nous offrent pour s’entendre et agir ? À travers une analyse sociologique et historique de la quantification, Olivier Martin nous montre toute l’étendue de l’empire des chiffres dans nos sociétés.

Extrait. “L’ouvrage s’appuie sur plusieurs domaines de recherche : l’histoire sociale des pratiques ordinaires de mesure et la métrologie historique; l’histoire sociale du temps et de ses usages sociaux (encadrés ici et ici) ; la sociologie historique de la quantification; l’histoire et la sociologie des pratiques savantes de mesure; la sociohistoire des pratiques évaluatives ; et bien sûr les quelques travaux de philosophies, historiens ou anthropologues consacrés à des analyses transversales de la mesure. Nous souhaitons ici souligner quelques points généraux concernant l’ensemble de ces sources. Alors que chacune de ces gammes de travaux aborde, à sa manière, les questions de « mise en chiffre », il est frappant de constater à quel point ces travaux partagent très peu de références et ne se citent presque jamais entre eux : par exemple, les travaux consacrés à la mesure de l’heure ne s’intéressent pas à ceux étudiant la mesure des faits sociaux ; et ces derniers ignorent très largement les publications sur l’histoire des systèmes de poids et mesure ; qui à leur tour n’intègrent pas les résultats en sociologie historique des statistiques. Même les textes récents qui prétendent proposer des synthèses ne traitent que de quelques aspects de la manière dont le monde s’est fait nombre (Bardet, 2014 ; Bruno, Jany-Catrice, Touchelay, 2016 ; Diaz-Bone, Didier, 2016 ; Rey, 2016 ; Muller, 2018 ; Berman, Hirschman, 2018 ; Bartl, Papilloud, Terracher-Lipinski, 2019 ; Jaclin, Wagner, 2019), y compris lorsqu’ils soulignent « l’importance de comprendre la pluralité de la quantification » (Mennicken, Espeland, 2019). Ils oublient très généralement toutes les pratiques de mesure du temps ; et ils ne traitent, au mieux, que marginalement de la métrologie (ordinaire comme savante). C’est aussi le cas des nombreux travaux conduits par un des initiateurs de la sociologie de la quantification en France, Alain Desrosières (cf. encadrés ici et ici). Nous aurons de nombreuses occasions de revenir sur ses travaux mais, pour l’instant, retenons qu’il excluait de ses analyses les opérations de mesure du monde naturel, les pratiques de mesure des poids, longueurs et durées. Il maintenait, d’une certaine manière, ce type de pratiques dans le giron de la philosophie réaliste de la mesure : « l’idée de mesure, inspirée de l’épistémologie traditionnelle des sciences de la nature, implique que quelque chose existe sous une forme déjà mesurable selon la métrologie réaliste, comme la hauteur de la tour Eiffel » (Desrosières, 2008a, 10). Il distinguait les pratiques de quantification des sciences humaines et sociales et les démarches de la statistique sociale et économique d’une part, et les pratiques de mesure des sciences de la nature d’autre part. De fait, ses travaux n’ont jamais inclus de recherches sur la mesure des « grandeurs physiques ou naturelles » et se sont concentrés sur les domaines des faits sociaux, culturels, économiques, démographiques : il définissait la sociologie de la quantification comme la sociologie de la statistique, de la comptabilité et de l’évaluation des politiques publiques (Desrosières, 2005, 23). Son ouvrage phare La politique des grands nombres (1993) comme ses articles ultérieurs ont toujours acté, de manière au moins implicite, l’existence d’une différence entre la mesure du monde physique et la mise en nombre de l’économiste ou du sociostatisticien.”

Abstract. The time of day, the quality of a restaurant, the temperature, the unemployment rate, the IQ, the duration of a training session, the success of a high school, the wealth, a popularity rating? It seems impossible to escape the numbers! But what exactly are they used for? Where do they come from? And why do we put the world in numbers? Numbers govern a good part of our lives: they serve to coordinate our actions, to establish rules for living together and to find conventions within collectives. They contribute to decision-making and the exercise of power. They participate in our quest for justice and harmony, and in building trust. And they also claim to reflect reality in an objective way. Does the power of numbers come from their ability to state certainties, from our voluntary submission to useful artifices, from their ability to make a world and impose it on us, or from the levers they offer us to agree and act? Through a sociological and historical analysis of quantification, Olivier Martin shows us the full extent of the empire of numbers in our societies.

Extract. « The book is based on several fields of research: the social history of ordinary measurement practices and historical metrology; the social history of time and its social uses (framed here and here); the historical sociology of quantification; the history and sociology of scholarly measurement practices; the sociohistory of evaluative practices; and, of course, the few works by philosophers, historians or anthropologists devoted to cross-disciplinary analyses of measurement. We would like to highlight a few general points concerning all of these sources. While each of these lines of work deals, in its own way, with the question of « numerical measurement », it is striking to note how little reference is made to these works, which almost never quote each other: for example, works devoted to the measurement of time are not interested in those studying the measurement of social facts; and the latter are largely unaware of the publications on the history of systems of weights and measures, which in turn do not integrate the results of the historical sociology of statistics. Even the recent texts that claim to offer syntheses deal only with a few aspects of the way the world has become numerous (Bardet, 2014; Bruno, Jany-Catrice, Touchelay, 2016; Diaz-Bone, Didier, 2016; Rey, 2016 ; Muller, 2018; Berman, Hirschman, 2018; Bartl, Papilloud, Terracher-Lipinski, 2019; Jaclin, Wagner, 2019), including when they stress « the importance of understanding the plurality of quantification » (Mennicken, Espeland, 2019). They very generally forget all time measurement practices; and they deal, at best, only marginally with metrology (ordinary as well as scholarly). This is also the case of the numerous works conducted by one of the initiators of the sociology of quantification in France, Alain Desrosières (see boxes here and here). We will have many opportunities to come back to his work but, for the moment, let us remember that he excluded from his analyses the measurement operations of the natural world, the practices of measuring weights, lengths and durations. In a way, he kept this type of practice within the realist philosophy of measurement: « the idea of measurement, inspired by the traditional epistemology of the natural sciences, implies that something exists in a form that is already measurable according to realist metrology, such as the height of the Eiffel Tower » (Desrosières, 2008a, 10). He distinguished between the quantification practices of the humanities and social sciences and the approaches of social and economic statistics on the one hand, and the measurement practices of the natural sciences on the other. In fact, his work never included research on the measurement of « physical or natural quantities » and focused on the fields of social, cultural, economic and demographic facts: he defined the sociology of quantification as the sociology of statistics, accounting and public policy evaluation (Desrosières, 2005, 23). His seminal work The Politics of Large Numbers (1993), as well as his subsequent articles, have always acknowledged, at least implicitly, the existence of a difference between the measurement of the physical world and the enumeration of the economist or sociostatistician. »

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Tous à nos cabanes

Frédéric Keck (27 Sept 2020)

Terrestres. Online essay

“Comment penser les cabanes comme des lieux de l’élan critique et pas du repli psychologique ? Dans cette traversée de planches en planches, inspirée par Marielle Macé et Luc Boltanski, l’anthropologue Frédéric Keck nous invite à mettre à bas la « cité par projets » du capitalisme contemporain et à faire de ses débris des matériaux pour nos cabanes.”

“How can we think of the huts as places of critical impulse and not as places of psychological withdrawal? In this journey from plank to plank, inspired by Marielle Macé and Luc Boltanski, the anthropologist Frédéric Keck invites us to put down the « project-based city » of contemporary capitalism and to turn its debris into materials for our huts.”

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Sustainable Financial Risk Modelling Fitting the SDGs: Some Reflections

Christian Walter (2020)

Sustainability, 12(18), 7789, pp. 1-28

Abstract. This article argues that any ecological finance theory devised to fit the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needs a paradigm shift in the morphology of randomness underlying financial risk modelling, by integrating the characteristics of “nature” and sustainability into the modelling carried out. It extends the common diagnosis of the 2008 financial crisis with considerations on the morphology of randomness and the reasons why neoclassical finance theory is not sustainable from this perspective. It argues that the main problem with unsustainable neoclassical finance risk modelling is its underlying morphology of randomness that creates a dangerous risk culture. It presents Leibniz’s principle of continuity and Quetelet’s theory of average as cornerstones of classical risk culture in finance, acting as a mental model for financial experts and practitioners. It links the notion of sustainability with the morphology of randomness and presents a possible alternative approach to financial risk modelling defined by rough randomness. If morphology of randomness in nature is properly described by fractal and multifractal methods, hence ecological finance theory has to include fractal properties into financial risk models. The conclusion proposes a new agenda for future research.

Extract. “2.2.1. Socio-Technical Instruments: The Financialised Tools

An important aspect of the performativity of mathematical financial risk modelling is the socio-technical dimension of the mathematical models. Financial instruments derived from mathematical models and financialised evaluation play an important role in the financialisation of the economy [33–35]. To better understand how a particular risk culture is created based on a probabilistic hypothesis, it is interesting to note a detail of the dialogue between Sarah Robertson and Jared Cohen in Margin Call: Robertson’s remark “we were wrong”. The use of the word “we” denotes a form of socially elaborated and shared knowledge with a practical aim, which helps to construct a culture of models common to a financial group, the culture of “how a model works” [36]. The culture of models is based on calculation and quantification conventions [37,38]. Quantification conventions ensure the same risk culture for financial practitioners. The culture of models is an “epistemic culture” in the sense of Knorr Cetina [39], specific to each group of financial practitioners: This culture diffuses a general way of thinking about technical objects. The technical objects of finance are overloaded with probabilistic techniques. Probabilistic techniques have had an enormous influence on risk assessment and the formation of quantification conventions [40]. Much work has been carried out on the basis of these methodological premises and I take the liberty of referring the reader to the references indicated so as not to lengthen the text excessively. (p. 5)

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Re-politicizing financial regulation: a sociological analysis of the debate on loan-to-value regulation in Norway

Trond Løyning (2020)

Housing Studies, Online first

Abstract. While financial regulation became highly contested in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the specifics of such regulation is usually debated among professionals, in specialized fora. This article analyses an exception to this; the debate on the loan-to-value ratio regulation introduced in Norway in 2010. Newspaper articles are analysed, using Boltanski & Thévenot’s pragmatic perspective on how actors legitimize their arguments and critique. Unlike other critical approaches (i.e., critical discourse analysis) this perspective focuses on actors own critical capacity and it is argued that the approach is useful in analyzing re-politicizing efforts of social actors. The main finding is that most arguments opposing the regulation are based in the civic “regime of justification”, while arguments supporting the regulation are based in the industrial regime of justification. Few arguments enact the market regime as justification. The article discusses reasons why the regulation has not been repelled, despite the widespread criticism.

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Media Ethics, Moral Controversies, and the Sociology of Critique

Thomas Hove (2020)

Communication Theory, Online first

Abstract. Communication scholars have begun to investigate various links between empirical research and normative theory. In that vein, this article explores how Boltanski and Thévenot’s sociology of critique can enhance our empirical and normative understanding of controversies in media ethics. The sociology of critique and its justification model provide a comprehensive descriptive framework for studying practices of moral evaluation and the social goods at stake in them. First, I discuss some prevailing approaches in media ethics. Second, I explicate how the sociology of critique defines situations of normative justification and supplies a model of their basic requirements. Third, I show how this model can be used to analyze the social background of a media ethics controversy. Last, I suggest how the descriptive approach of the sociology of critique can identify conditions in morally pluralistic social settings that pose challenges to normative theories.

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« Ma mort, mon choix » ; analyse de postes pro-choix à la lumière de la théorie des cités de Boltanski et Thévenot

Camille Gambi (2020)

Mémoire de Master (Criminologie), Université catholique de Louvain

Promoteurs : Bertrand Renard & Jean-François Cauchie

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