Archives de catégorie : Actualités / News

Die Theorien in der Kulturproduktion. Aspekte der Performativität oder „How to do things with theory”

Theories in Cultural Production. Aspects of Performativity or “How to do things with theory”

Guy Schwegler (2022)

PhD thesis. Lucerne: University of Lucerne.

The thesis was defended Monday 16 January 2023 at University of Lucerne

Rainer Diaz-Bone (University of Lucerne), supervisor, referee, jury member
Günter Mey (University of applied Science Stendal), referee, jury member
Michael Hartmann (University of Lucerne), jury member

Zusammenfassung. Kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliches Wissen hat über die letzten 50 Jahre eine beständige Verbreitung erfahren und wurde zu einem festen Bestandteil gegenwärtiger Gesellschaften. Dies bezieht sich allerdings nicht nur auf die Ergebnisse der Disziplinen, sondern trifft im besonderen Maße auf deren grundlegende theoretische Konzepte zu. In verschiedensten gesellschaftlichen Bereichen repräsentiert dieses Wissen eine Ressource für die Akteur*innen, um Produktionsprozesse anzuleiten. Die Theorien liefern daher nicht nur Beschreibungen des Sozialen, sondern sie wirken „performativ“. Die Arbeit fokussiert auf den Bereich der Kulturproduktion und zeigt auf, welche Bedingungen zur Verwendung der theoretischen Konzepte außerhalb der Wissenschaft geführt haben, wie diese Konzepte in Prozessen zur Anwendung kommen und welche Veränderungen daraus folgen. Hierzu wird zuerst ein konzeptioneller sowie methodologischer Rahmen präsentiert, bevor die empirische Studie einer Kulturwelt detaillierte Einblicke in die Wirkungsweisen ermöglicht. Anhand der so verdeutlichten Aspekte der Performativität von kultur- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Theorien lässt sich schlussendlich aufzeigen, wie Kulturproduktion in gegenwärtigen Gesellschaften eine zentrale Stellung einnehmen konnte.

Abstract. Cultural and social science knowledge has experienced a steady spread over the last 50 years and has become an integral part of contemporary societies. However, this does not only refer to the results of the disciplines, but is especially true for their basic theoretical concepts. In various social fields, this knowledge represents a resource for actors to guide production processes. Therefore, the theories do not only provide descriptions of the social, but they have a “performative” effect. The thesis focuses on the field of cultural production and shows which conditions have led to the use of theoretical concepts outside of academia, how these concepts are applied in processes and which changes follow from this. For this purpose, a conceptual as well as methodological framework is presented first, before the empirical study of a cultural world provides detailed insights into the modes of action. Based on the thus clarified aspects of the performativity of cultural and social science theories, it can finally be shown how cultural production could take a central position in contemporary societies.

Auszug: “Mittels des zweiten Unterkapitels [2.2] wird das Ziel verfolgt, die aus der Wirtschaftssoziologie stammenden theoretischen Überlegungen zu übersetzen, um die Verwendung der kultur- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Theorie durch die Akteur*innen in der Kulturproduktion analysieren zu können. Hierzu werden zuerst allgemeine Überlegungen gemacht, welche „Blaupausen“ zur Ausrichtung von Prozessen in diesen theoretischen Konzepten stecken könnte. Anschließend wird die Perspektive der Arbeit auf mehrere Weisen geöffnet und erweitert: Mittels einiger aktueller Gesellschaftsdiagnosen (u.a. Reckwitz 2017; Boltanski und Esquerre 2018) sowie dem Konzept der Valorisierung wird diskutiert, wie die kultur- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Theorien insbesondere in einem gegenwärtigen Kulturkapitalismus eine Rolle spielen könnten. Um die Wertigkeiten zu konzeptualisieren, die in den Theorien stecken, wird anschließend das Modell der Qualitätskonventionen aus der sogenannten „Economie des conventions“ (EC) vorgestellt (Boltanski und Thévenot 2007; Diaz-Bone 2018a) und mit weiteren theoretischen Überlegungen zur Anwendung von Theorien in der Kulturproduktion ergänzt. Diese ergänzte und erweiterte Perspektive der Arbeit soll allgemein fassen können, in welchen Zusammenhängen die Performativität der kultur- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Theorie auftritt.” (S. 23/24)

Extract: “By means of the second subchapter [2.2] the aim is pursued to translate the theoretical considerations originating from economic sociology in order to be able to analyze the use of cultural and social science theory by the actors in cultural production. For this purpose, first general considerations are made, which “blueprints” for the orientation of processes could be found in these theoretical concepts. Then, the perspective of the paper will be opened and broadened in several ways: by means of some recent social diagnoses (including Reckwitz 2017; Boltanski and Esquerre 2018) and the concept of valorization, it will be discussed how the theories of cultural and social sciences could play a role especially in a contemporary cultural capitalism. To conceptualize the valorizations inherent in the theories, the model of quality conventions from the so-called “Economie des conventions” (EC) is then presented (Boltanski and Thévenot 2007; Diaz-Bone 2018a) and complemented with further theoretical considerations on the application of theories in cultural production. This supplemented and expanded perspective of the work should be able to grasp in general terms in which contexts the performativity of cultural and sociological theory occurs.” (p. 23/24)

Call for communications: “Economics and sociology of conventions – taking stock, looking ahead”

XIIe Conference of the French Association of Political Economics (AFEP), “Crises and inequalities: How to inhabit the world of tomorrow” Paris, July 5-7, 2023.

ORGANIZERS: Rainer Diaz-Bone, Guillemette de Larquier

The institutionalist approach of economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) has been invented in the region of Paris since the 1980ies. EC/SC nowadays can be regarded as an internationally established scientific movement, which is developed by the next generations focusing research on “classical” topics as labor markets, quantification, but also on new topics e.g. as on ecology or law. Also, more and more contributions to EC/SC are published in languages as English or German. EC/SC addresses social critique and tensions from its beginning. The dynamics of social inequalities, economic coordination and valuation as well as the plurality of different ways of valorizing of individuals can be regarded as EC/SC core approaches to the analysis of crises and inequality. The panel will be devoted to presentations, which try to summarize and evaluate main lines of EC/SC’s developments and achievements. Also, deficiencies and problems as well as future perspectives and outlooks will be discussed in the planed panel. The panel will present the interdisciplinary relationships of EC/SC and approach theoretical, methodological and applied issues.

Deadline: 27 February 2023

Les fondements théoriques de la co-détermination

Theoretical foundations of co-determination

Intervention d’Olivier Favereau au séminaire RESPIR (Recherches en Economie et Socioéconomie Politique, des Institutions et des Régulations) de l’université Paris Nanterre ‘EconomiX)

La discussion sera assurée par Riyad MANSERI (Université Paris Cité et LADYSS)

Mardi 22 novembre 2022, de 13h30 à 15h15, sur le campus de l’Université Paris Nanterre (6ème étage, salle G614B)

Lien Zoom :

Beleid, beoordeling enaanvraag: eenwisselwerking? De case van subsidies voor beeldend kunstenaars

Policy, review and application: an interaction? The case of grants for visual artists

Julia Peters (2022)

PhD thesis. Gent: University of Gent

How does the state influence the arts field? In Flanders and Brussels, artists and arts organizations can apply for state subsidies. You already read about that in previous sections. Now you can assume that arts policy influences, for example, the way applicants express themselves in their subsidy dossiers. Or on the way those files are evaluated. In doing so, the state influences the careers of artists and the development of arts organizations. That state is not static. Arts policy changes over time. And those changes should therefore leave traces in the history of grant applications and evaluations. These are the starting points of the following paragraphs. You will learn more about the interaction between policy changes, shifts in the language of applicants, and the evolution of assessment and grant distribution.

You read here the result of Julia Peters’ (2022) doctoral research on the subsidization of visual artists by the Flemish government (and its administrative predecessors). This for the period 1965-2015. First you get a historical sketch of the policy for visual artists. That in the context of the broader cultural policy of the Flemish government (and older institutions) since the 1960s. Next comes a substantive analysis of individual artists’ grant applications. The focus is on the justifications they use to convince evaluators of their case. Do these justifications change over time? And if so, how? Do you see historical developments in policy reflected in them?

Lien / Link

Une lecture conventionnaliste de l’évolution des pratiques de comptabilité carbone relativement aux transactions du marché carbone, en absence de normalization

A conventionalist reading of the evolution of carbon accounting practices in relation to carbon market transactions, in the absence of standardization

Etienne Clermont (2022)

PhD thesis. Montréal: Université du Québec à Montréal

Résumé. Dans le contexte des changements climatiques, plusieurs nations ont choisi les marchés du carbone comme mécanisme pour forcer une réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre par les sociétés polluantes. De plus en plus de ces sociétés polluantes doivent maintenant adhérer aux marchés du carbone impliquant aussi qu’elles doivent choisir une méthode de comptabilité carbone, car ces mécanismes ont amené de nouvelles transactions à comptabiliser (quotas d’émission de carbone, obligations liées à la remise de ces quotas) et ce en l’absence de norme comptable spécifique sur le sujet. Dans cette thèse nous nous intéressons au développement des pratiques comptables en l’absence de norme de comptabilité financière spécifique. Pour comprendre les modalités de création d’un accord en matière de comptabilité carbone, une méthodologie en trois volets est utilisée. Dans le volet 1, nous analysons l’évolution des pratiques de comptabilité carbone d’un groupe de 87 émetteurs assujettis du Global Fortune 500 sur cinq années durant la période de 2005 à 2018. Une analyse de contenu de 431 rapports annuels est faite pour répertorier les méthodes comptables des émetteurs assujettis de l’échantillon. Le volet 2, s’intéresse aux prises de position des participants à la normalisation durant le processus de normalisation comptable internationale et américaine ayant eu lieu en parallèle. Dans le volet 3, nous mettons les résultats des volets 1 et 2 en relation pour en extraire les conditions pouvant affecter les pratiques étudiées dans le volet 1. Le normalisateur comptable international (l’IASB) a travaillé depuis 2003 pour élaborer une norme de comptabilité carbone, mais sans succès. Partant du postulat que la pratique vient avant la norme, la théorie des conventions a été utilisée comme cadre théorique. La théorie des conventions permet d’étudier le processus de normalisation comptable en plaçant le préparateur d’états financiers à l’avant-plan du processus. L’utilisation de la théorie des conventions et de la dynamique conventionnelle, selon Amblard (2003a; 2003b; 2004), a permis d’établir les conditions du développement d’une pratique conventionnée. L’analyse documentaire des rapports annuels des émetteurs assujettis et des documents des normalisateurs et de grands cabinets d’audit a permis de constater qu’une pratique conventionnée se développe sous trois conditions : (1) sur la base d’un ancrage; (2) de manière cohérente avec le système comptable utilisé et (3) à partir de la légitimé que lui accordent des acteurs influents. Ces conditions du développement d’une pratique comptable conventionnée représentent notre principale contribution. Les résultats montrent aussi une pratique conventionnée différente selon l’usage qui est fait des quotas d’émission de carbone. Les deux usages répertoriés sont la détention à des fins de conformité et la détention à des fins de spéculation. Pour un usage à des fins de conformité, les résultats montrent une adhésion forte pour une comptabilité carbone au coût historique. Les résultats pour cet usage montrent aussi, sur la période de 14 ans étudiée par la thèse, un rejet graduel de la comptabilité carbone à la juste valeur. Pour un usage à des fins de spéculation, les résultats montrent une adhésion forte pour une comptabilité carbone à la juste valeur. Ces résultats, qui montrent l’émergence d’une pratique de comptabilité carbone différente selon l’usage, n’apparaissent pas dans la littérature sur les pratiques de comptabilité carbone ou sur la normalisation comptable. Ceci représente aussi une contribution importante de cette thèse.

Abstract. In the context of climate change, many nations have chosen carbon markets as a mechanism to force a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by polluting companies. More and more of these polluting companies must now adhere to carbon markets, which also implies that they must choose a carbon accounting method, because these mechanisms have brought new transactions to be accounted for (carbon emission allowances, obligations related to the delivery of these allowances) and this in the absence of a specific accounting standard on the subject. In this thesis, we focus on the development of accounting practices in the absence of a specific financial accounting standard. In order to understand how a carbon accounting agreement is created, a three-part methodology is used. In Component 1, we analyze the evolution of carbon accounting practices of a group of 87 Global Fortune 500 reporting issuers over five years during the period 2005-2018. A content analysis of 431 annual reports is conducted to identify the accounting practices of the reporting issuers in the sample. Part 2 focuses on the positions taken by standard-setting participants during the parallel international and US accounting standard-setting process. In Section 3, we relate the results of Sections 1 and 2 to extract conditions that may affect the practices studied in Section 1. The international accounting standard-setter (IASB) has been working since 2003 to develop a carbon accounting standard, but without success. Based on the premise that practice comes before the standard, convention theory was used as a theoretical framework. Convention theory allows for the study of the accounting standard setting process by placing the financial statement preparer at the forefront of the process. The use of convention theory and convention dynamics, according to Amblard (2003a; 2003b; 2004), allowed for the establishment of the conditions for the development of a conventional practice. The documentary analysis of the annual reports of reporting issuers and of the documents of standard setters and major audit firms has shown that a conventional practice develops under three conditions: (1) on the basis of an agreement; (2) in a manner consistent with the accounting system used; and (3) on the basis of the legitimacy accorded to it by influential actors. These conditions for the development of a conventional accounting practice represent our main contribution. The results also show that conventional practice differs according to the use made of carbon emission allowances. The two uses identified are holding for compliance purposes and holding for speculation. For compliance use, the results show strong support for historical cost carbon accounting. The results for this use also show, over the 14-year period studied by the thesis, a gradual rejection of fair value carbon accounting. For speculative use, the results show a strong support for fair value carbon accounting. These results, which show the emergence of a different car-bone accounting practice depending on the use, do not appear in the literature on carbon accounting practices or accounting standardization. This also represents an important contribution to this thesis.

Lien / Link

Session on Education and Conventions held at the German Sociological Association’s 2022 conference in Bielefeld (Germany)

Christian Imdorf (Leibniz University Hannover) & Kenneth Horvath (University of Teacher Education Zurich)

At the occasion of the German Sociological Association’s (DGS) bi-annual conference, held in Bielefeld, Germany, 26-30 September 2022, a session on education and conventions has been organised. The session “Bildung und Konventionen: Aktuelle Schwerpunkte, Entwicklungslinien und Herausforderungen im Überblick [Education and Conventions: An overview of current focal points, lines of development and challenges]” was chaired by Christian Imdorf (Leibniz University Hannover) and Kenneth Horvath (University of Teacher Education Zurich). The multifaceted field of French pragmatic sociology offers innovative explanatory and analytical approaches for a number of current processes in education and challenges in the sociology of education such as standardization, quantification and datafication of education, conflicts and controversies over educational quality and equity, or the interplay of science, politics and practice in the establishment and transformation of educational arrangements. The session aimed at discussing the potentials and findings, but also the challenges and desiderata of a “pragmatic” sociology of education and its further development. The following set of questions framed the session: How can convention theory help approach current topics and questions in the sociology of education more convincingly and productively than with “traditional” theoretical offers? How can we employ concepts of pragmatic sociology (such as school worlds, educational regimes, justification orders, tests/examinations, etc.) in order to deal with current research problems? How can understandings of meritocracy and (increasingly ambiguous and uncertain) processes of assessment in educational contexts be analyzed? What methodological challenges and consequences arise for the empirical implementation of such a theory-driven research perspective? How can the relationship between scientific research and educational practice be rethought and reshaped?

In their introduction to the session, Kenneth Horvath and Christian Imdorf outlined the theoretical and methodological characteristics of a pragmatic sociology of education and presented a short overview of the current research landscape. They highlighted the significant already existing research output especially in the field of post-compulsory education sector, more precisely in vocational education and training and in higher education, which, however, has hardly been internationally comparative so far. Further, some first research on school education points to future opportunities for the sociology of conventions to examine questions of inequality and quality (and their transformations) in compulsory education. The session then included four presentations:

Walter Bartl (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg) in his paper “Räumliche Bildungsungleichheiten durch Zahlen regieren: Information über und Allokation von Schulinfrastruktur [Governing spatial educational inequalities through numbers: Information about and allocation of school infrastructure]” asked what role numbers play in the governance of spatial educational inequalities and why there is only few data in Germany about spatial educational inequalities. Referring to Alain Desrosières’ work on quantification as a process of standardising information he asked how spatial inequality is measured and how school infrastructure governed by indicators is allocated. Bartl pointed to the lack of standardised indicators of spatial educational inequality in research and its quantification by expert judgement. He identified two mechanisms of governing spatial inequality through numbers in Germany, the standardisation of information and the regulation of allocation decisions, as well as four ideal types of a (situational) use of numbers and their problems (discretionary, bureaucratic, epistemic and calculative quantification). The paper concluded that long-term data on spatial inequality is currently lacking because there has not yet been a standardisation of information, but that the “theorising” of spatial inequality and of spatial justice as a concept is developing, as are attempts to measure it in and for spatial planning.

The contribution of Raffaella Simona Esposito (FHNW University of Teacher Education) and her co-authors Sandra Hafner and Regula Julia Leemann titled “Steuerung von Bildungsübergängen im Schweizer Bildungssystem – Komplexe Handlungskoordination innerhalb des bildungspolitischen Zielkorsetts [Managing educational transitions in the Swiss education system — Complex coordination of action within the education policy target]” analysed how the supply and access to vocationally oriented secondary schools in Switzerland is being coordinated in an interplay of education policy, education administration, academia and practice. Despite the education policy goal in Switzerland that 95% of all 25-year-olds shall have a qualification at upper secondary level, little is known about how the necessary educational transitions are managed by the cantons in terms of education policy, i.e. how they are regulated, organised, reformed and legitimised. Referring to the sociology of conventions, the research group has investigated how the actors involved in these processes coordinate their actions, by means of which strategies and instruments they do so, how educational policy objectives with regard to vocationally field-oriented secondary schools are targeted and realised in practice, how justification logics are mobilised by the relevant actors and what tensions, frictions and conflicts arise in the coordination of action. Based on a case study of a German-speaking canton and the analysis of documents and expert interviews Esposito et al. were able to reconstruct a compromise of domestic (individual fitting solution, guidance of young people), inspired (motivation, interests, inclinations, vocation, passion) and industrial (efficient educational transitions, no unnecessary educational loops, few drop-outs) steering logics in the management of educational transitions. In practical terms, an inherently normative ICT-based guidance tool for youths was implemented which serves as an object of compromise (intermediary object) to stabilise, format and handle the steering of educational transitions.


The presenters of the session on education and conventions at the DGS congress 2022: Walter Bartl (top left), Raffaella Esposito (top right), Luisa Junghänel and Bettina Ülpenich (bottom left), and Arne Böker (bottom right)

Bettina Ülpenich and Luisa Junghänel Krause (Heinrich-Heine-Univ. Düsseldorf) in their study “Studienabbrüche prognostizieren. Zur Rechtfertigung von Leistungsvorhersagen im Studium [Predicting study dropouts – On the justification of performance predictions in higher education]” accompany a project to develop a local system of performance prediction in higher education studies with a focus on the requirements of a respective performance prediction system. Embedded in the sociology of conventions and based on 35 expert interviews with university staff in computer science and social sciences, the two authors reconstruct performance prediction in higher education as a multidimensional ordering process with two underlying perspectives of how to interpret academic success. From the institution-centred perspective of the university, success translates to the completion of studies in the standard period and followed by entry into a profession (efficient and cost-sensitive regulation of university studies). In contrast, from a student-centred interpretative perspective, academic success can be linked to concepts of self-efficacy and self-determination, the achievement of individual goals and the accomplishment of problem-solving skills in the context of lifelong learning (studying as inspiration and a project). The authors concluded with some thought on the dilemma of the sought-after “Responsible Academic Performance Prediction” tool, which needs to conceive of study drop-out as a hybrid object and integrate a project-shaped convention of studying in the economisation and rationalisation of study processes at universities.

Finally, Arne Böker (Institut für Hochschulforschung Halle-Wittenberg) gave a presentation titled “Bildungsorganisationen unter Druck – Zu Potentialen und Herausforderungen einer pragmatischen Bildungssoziologie der Kritik [Educational Organisations under Pressure – On the Potentials and Challenges of a Pragmatic Sociology of Education Critique]”. Embedded in the (educational) sociology of critique (orders of justification) and the sociology of knowledge, he presented findings of two research projects both focusing on the justification of the promotion of the gifted (Begabtenförderung): The first study reconstructed the change in the justification arrangement of the German Study Foundation (Studienstiftung) which was shifting from a more economic towards a civic justification. Thereby the Study Foundation used a creative approach to produce and interprete social statistics which allowed for telling a successful story of how it contributed to equal opportunities in the education system. The second, ongoing study focuses so-called state preparatory colleges (staatliche Studienkollegs), an institutional path in Germany which prepares international students for higher education (an example of diversification of university access routes and study preparation). As an empirical illustration, Böker presented the debate in North Rhine-Westphalia in the mid-2000s on closing the state-run study preparatory colleges after the educational institution had seen a year-long criticism and change of justification, moving from equal opportunities towards privatisation and educational excellence. Using the example of the justification order of equal opportunities the author showed how student representatives criticised the Studienkolleg, that is how an educational institution geared at promoting the gifted was problematised, criticised and what alternative solution were proposed. On the whole the two studies exemplified both the potentials (e.g. the strength to analyse situations of crisis and insecurity, the plurality of social orders, the interplay between criticism and justification, compromises and their tensions) as well as the challenges of an educational sociology of critique.

All in all, the presentations of this session at the DGS 2022 conference in Bielefeld showed convincingly, first, how a pragmatic sociology of education offers new perspectives on and insights in education and educational processes. Second, the contributions highlighted how educational values are materialised and implemented by different technologies and devices such as educational statistics, self-governance or academic performance prediction tools. The years and decade(s) to come will show whether the sociology of convention will have the power to become a game changer in the sociologies of education, a field which is still somewhat stuck between a ‘holistic’ sociology in the line of Durkheim and Bourdieu and an ‘individualistic’ model of actors and society in the aftermath of Boudon’s theory of rational decision making, at least in the German-speaking world.

Covid crisis, mainstream economics and economics of conventions

Online-Lecture (via Zoom) given by Philippe Batifoulier (via Zoom) at the Social Research Colloquium (University of Lucerne, Switzerland). 19 October from 16:15 -17:00 (afterwards discussion).

The institutional approach of economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) has developed a transdisciplinary movement in social sciences.  Health issues are one of the most active research topics in EC/SC’s approach in order to analysis health as social phenomenon and cover wide range of topics: professional ethics, doctor-patient interaction, health democracy, inequalities, industrialization, funding priorities, health insurance, hospital management, liberal medicine, digitization and quantification of health, health capitalism, etc.  Challenging mainstream health economics, EC/SC provides a theory of the plurality of values that are mobilized during the patient-doctor encounter but also in the making and elaboration of health policies. EC/SC in the field of healthcare has expanded conceptions of normativity to propose a finer mapping of coordination and regulation

The communication will seek to present some of the key lessons of EC/SC in the field of healthcare, taking into account the lessons of the health crisis. Then we propose a conventionalist way of thinking about neoliberal policy in health care and health capitalism.

The Substance of Conventions in Economics (of Convention)

Online-Lecture given by Guillemette de Larquier (via Zoom) at the Social Research Colloquium (University of Lucerne, Switzerland). 05 October from 16:15-17:00 (afterwards discussion).

Economics of convention (EC) became visible with the special issue of la Revue économique published in 1989, entitled “Économie des conventions.” It is remarkable that all the authors, Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Olivier Favereau, André Orléan, Robert Salais, and Laurent Thévenot, except François Eymard-Duvernay, cited in their respective articles the notions of convention developed by the philosopher David Lewis in 1969 and the economist John Maynard Keynes in 1936. These are clearly the economic references of EC. They have in common to study situations characterized by an infinite specularity of individual reasoning, and confronting the two approaches lead to question the hypothesis of rationality that was best suited to the plurality of coordination studied by EC (Diaz-Bone and Larquier, 2022).

The communication will follow this economic entry of EC. Actually, the concept of conventions leads economists to ask themselves three questions: 1/ What type of uncertainty (of the coordination)? 2/ What type of rationality (of the individuals)? What type of normativity (of the conventions)? The answers to these three questions reveal what the substance of a convention is for David Lewis (and Robert Sugden), for John Maynard Keynes and for EC. Also, it will be of great interest to understand what each approach can say about the dynamics of conventions.

”Maskipakko ja vähän äkkiä ” : Kasvomaskit Helsingin Sanomien mielipidekirjoituksissa vuonna 2020

“Make face masks mandatory, now” : Face masks as a topic in letters to the editor in Helsingin Sanomat during 2020

Riikka Elina Pasanen (2022)

MA thesis. Helsinki: University of Helsinki

Abstract. Tutkielma tarkastelee kasvomaskikeskustelua Helsingin Sanomissa julkaistuissa mielipidekirjoituksissa vuonna 2020. Sen tavoitteena on selvittää, miten kansalaiset argumentoivat kasvomaskien ja niihin liittyvien politiikkatoimivaihtoehtojen puolesta ja niitä vastaan. Covid-19-pandemia on ajankohtainen ja tärkeä tutkimuskohde. Suun ja nenän alueen peittävät henkilökohtaiset suojaimet eli maskit ovat pandemian keskeisiä symboleja. Tutkimuksen teoreettinen viitekehys on Luc Boltanskin ja Laurent Thévenot’n kehittämä julkisen oikeuttamisen teoria ja siihen kuuluvat seitsemän oikeuttamisen maailmaa. Tutkimuksen aineisto koostuu 66 mielipidekirjoituksesta, joita on analysoitu laadullisen sisällönanalyysin keinoin. Analyysissa on selvitetty, mitä oikeuttamisen maailmoja ja argumentteja kansalaiset käyttävät esittäessään kannatusta ja kritiikkiä kasvomaskin käyttöä kohtaan sekä sitä, miten kirjoittajat tuovat esille Suomen maskisuosituksen ja mahdollisen maskipakon etuja ja haasteita oikeuttamisen maailmojen valossa. Helsingin Sanomien mielipidekirjoitukset ovat olleet pääosin maskien käytön kannalla jo ennen virallista maskisuositusta. Helsingin Sanomiin kirjoittaville mielipidekirjoitus on yhteiskunnallisen vaikuttamisen kanava, jonka kautta kirjoittajat yrittävät vaikuttaa päättäjiin. Päättäjille viestivät lehdessä aktiivisesti niin asiantuntijat, edustajat kuin yksilötkin. Analyysin perusteella asiantuntijat kirjoittivat aktiivisemmin kasvomaskeista päättäjille kuin yksityishenkilöt. Kansalaisille osoitetut kirjoitukset tulivat useimmiten toisilta kansalaisilta. Asiantuntijoiden ja yksityishenkilöiden repertuaareissa ovat osin eri oikeutusmaailmat. Aineiston perusteella moni kirjoittaja on kokenut elokuun puolessa välissä voimaan tulleen virallisen maskisuosituksen riittämättömäksi. Solidaarisuuden puutteen tai maskittomien itsekkyyden narratiivi johtaa kansalaisuuden maailman perusteluihin nojaavat kirjoittajat kritisoimaan suosituksia ja kannattamaan kansalaiset tasa-arvoistavaa maskipakkoa. Viranomaisten ristiriitainen viestintä ja muuttuvat linjaukset kasvomaskeista ovat luoneet poikkeustilanteessa otollisen areenan kansalaiskeskustelulle, johon myös asiantuntijat osallistuvat. Tämä poliittisen sosiologian alalle sijoittuva tapaustutkimus on siis myös demokratian toteutumisen tutkimusta ja maskin käyttöön liittyneiden politiikkatoimien vaikutusten arviointia. Kasvomaskeja yhteiskuntatieteellisestä näkökulmasta käsitteleviä tutkimuksia on julkaistu toistaiseksi hyvin vähän Suomessa ja maailmalla. Tämä tutkimus valottaa toistaiseksi erittäin vähän tutkittua aihetta ja lisää tietoa Covid-19-pandemian yhteiskunnallisista vaikutuksista tarjoten kiinnostavia lähtökohtia jatkotutkimukselle.

Abstract. The study examines the face mask debate in opinion pieces published in Helsingin Sanomat in 2020. It aims to explore how citizens argue for and against face masks and related policy options. The Covid-19 pandemic is a timely and important research topic. Personal protective masks covering the mouth and nose are key symbols of the pandemic. The theoretical framework of the study is the theory of public justification developed by Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot and its seven worlds of justification. The data consists of 66 opinion pieces analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The analysis has explored which worlds of justification and arguments are used by citizens to express support and criticism of the use of face masks, and how the authors present the advantages and challenges of the Finnish mask recommendation and a possible mask ban in the light of the worlds of justification. Helsingin Sanomat’s male-bias articles have been largely in favor of mask use even before the official mask recommendation. For those writing for Helsingin Sanomat, opinion writing is a channel of social influence through which writers try to influence decision-makers. Experts, representatives and individuals alike actively communicate with decision-makers in the paper. Based on the analysis, experts were more active in writing about growth issues to decision-makers than individuals. Writing to citizens was most often from other citizens. The repertoires of experts and private individuals are in part based on different worlds of legitimacy. The material suggests that many authors felt that the official mask recommendation, which came into force in mid-August, was inadequate. The narrative of a lack of solidarity or the selfishness of the masked leads authors who rely on the arguments of the world of citizenship to criticize the recommendations and to advocate a masquerade that equates citizens. The contradictory communication and changing policies of the authorities on growth masks have created an exceptional arena for civil debate, in which experts are also involved. This case study in the field of political sociology is thus also a study of the implementation of democracy and an evaluation of the effects of policy measures associated with the use of the mask. So far, very few studies on growth masks from a social science perspective have been published in Finland and abroad. This study sheds light on a topic that has been very little studied so far and adds to the knowledge on the social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing interesting starting points for further research.

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CfP: Economic Organizations, Uncertainty, and Risk: Sociological Analyses of Economic Organizations in Times of Crises

The past 15 years represent an era of capitalism in crises. Phenomena like the global financial crisis (2007-2009), followed by the European sovereign debt crisis in 2010, major political occurrences such as the Brexit referendum (2016), or Covid-19 have challenged economic and political reality that likewise engendered critics towards it. Furthermore, the danger of an ecological collapse is omnipresent. And with respect to the ongoing war in Ukraine it is currently impossible to foresee what humanitarian and social catastrophe is looming.

We are looking for papers dealing with different coping modes of organizations such as conventions, translation processes or how techniques of quantification might have an impact on organizational behavior in risk management.

Submission of abstracts: 31 October 2022

For the full call and timeline please visit:

Organizers: Konstanze Senge, Alberto Cevolini, Bernadette Hof, Markus Lange and Audrey Terracher-Lipinski

Seminar “Soziologie der Konventionen – Einführung in den neopragmatischen Institutionalismus”

Sociology of conventions – Introduction to neopragmatic institutionalism

(BA/MA level) at University of Lucerne, autumn semester 2022, (weekly) from Thursday 22.09.2022 on, at 10:15 – 12:00, Room 4.B54. Lucerne: University of Lucerne

Ankündigung. Die Soziologie der Konventionen steht im Zentrum der neuen pragmatischen Soziologie. Insbesondere durch die Arbeiten von Luc Boltanski, Laurent Thévenot, Eve Chiapello, Alain Desrosières oder Robert Salais ist diese Wissenschaftsbewegung heute international und transdisziplinär einflussreich geworden. Konventionen sind institutionelle Logiken, die Akteure handlungspraktisch heranziehen für die Interpretation, Evaluation und Valorisierung von Personen, Objekten und Praktiken in Situationen. Konventionen werden für die Produktion, Distribution und Konsumption von Gütern und Dienstleistungen genauso herangezogen wie für die Beurteilung kultureller Praktiken, politischer Engagements oder massenmedialer Inhalte. Im Zentrum der Soziologie der Konventionen steht die institutionentheoretische Analyse von Qualitäten, Bewertungen und Qualifikationen, welche in institutionellen Settings und basierend auf Konventionen generiert werden. Damit liegt mit der Soziologie der Konventionen auch eine Soziologie der Quantifizierung und Kategorisierung vor. Zugleich fokussiert diese die pragmatischen Bedingungen für Kritik und Rechtfertigung in Situationen, die durch eine Pluralität an Konventionen gekennzeichnet sind. Damit ist die Soziologie der Konventionen auch eine politische Soziologie der Konflikte und Kompromisse. Das Seminar bietet einmal eine Einführung in die Soziologie der Konventionen. Dann gibt es die Möglichkeit, die Anwendungen in Bereichen wie Wirtschaft, Politik, Kultur, Gesundheit, Recht sowie Sozialforschung im Seminar kennen zu lernen. Weiter werden methodologische Grundlagen dieser pragmatischen Soziologie vermittelt.

Announcement. The sociology of conventions is at the center of the new pragmatic sociology. Especially through the work of Luc Boltanski, Laurent Thévenot, Eve Chiapello, Alain Desrosières or Robert Salais, this scientific movement has become internationally and transdisciplinarily influential today. Conventions are institutional logics that acteurs invoke for the interpretation, evaluation and valorization of persons, objects and practices in situations. Conventions are used for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services as well as for the evaluation of cultural practices, political engagements, or mass media content. At the center of the sociology of conventions is the institution-theoretical analysis of qualities, evaluations, and qualifications that are generated in institutional settings and based on conventions. Thus, the sociology of conventions is also a sociology of quantification and categorization. At the same time, it focuses on the pragmatic conditions for critique and justification in situations characterized by a plurality of conventions. The sociology of conventions is also a political sociology of conflicts and compromises. The seminar offers an introduction to the sociology of conventions. Then there is the possibility to get to know the applications in areas like economy, politics, culture, health, law as well as social research in the seminar. Furthermore, methodological basics of this pragmatic sociology will be taught.

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Journée “Valeur, valeurs”

Lundi 19 septembre 2022, 13h45 / 18h, Amphi Max Weber (bâtiment Max Weber), Université Paris Nanterre
Journée organisée par l’équipe du séminaire RESPIR (EconomiX / Université Paris Nanterre).

Workshop “Valeur, valeurs”. 19 Septembre 13:45 – 18:00. Building Bâtiment Max Weber (amphitéâtre) University Paris Nanterre
Organisers: Fabrice Tricou, Sophie Harnay and Laurence Scialom


Accueil des participants (13h45 / 14h).
Introduction : Fabrice Tricou (14h / 14h10).

A) Contributions sur le thème : « Valeurs et Prix »
Présidence : Sophie Harnay
– Jean Cartelier (14h10 / 14h30) : Contre la théorie de la valeur
– Sylvain Piron (14h30 / 14h50) : La normativité de la valeur
– Luc Boltanski et Arnaud Esquerre (14h50 / 15h10) : De la valeur comme justification du prix
Discussion générale (15h10 / 15h50) introduite par Jérôme Deyris et Maxime Duval

B) Table ronde : « De quoi la valeur est-elle le nom ? »
Présidence : Nathalie Berta
– Claire Pignol (16h10 / 16h30) : « L’omnipotence, l’omniscience, l’omniconvenance de l’argent »
– André Orléan (16h30 / 16h50) : « Toutes les valeurs sont des espèces d’un même genre »
– Pierre Zaoui (16h50 / 17h10) : Les trois grandes conceptions philosophiques de la valeur : poids d’être (platonisme), relation (de l’empirisme à Marx) et nouveauté (cynisme et nihilisme)
Discussion générale (17h10 / 17h50) introduite par Baptiste Bridonneau et Thibault Mirabel

Synthèse finale : Gaëtan Le Quang (17h50 / 18h)

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Sociology/Economy of Conventions: An Interdisciplinary Conference for Methods and Theory Development (with Special Focus on Education)

International workshop, 15th/16th September 2022 at Leibniz Universität Hannover.

Organisers: Christian Imdorf, Arne Böker and Christian Schneijderberg.

The aims of the workshop are to promote networking between convention scholars, to facilitate dialogue across disciplines, to support and network young researchers, and to advance the further development of the research program of the sociology of conventions. If you are interested in taking part in the in-person workshop at short notice, please contact Charlotte Hattenbach (

Bildung und Konventionen: Herausforderungen, Befunde, Desiderate

Education and conventions: Challenges, findings, desiderata

Panel at the upcoming congress of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS, German Sociological Association)
University of Bielefeld, Germany, 28 September 2022, 9:00 – 11:45.
Organizers: Christian Imdorf and Kenneth Horvath

Präsentation. Der Beitrag bietet in einem ersten Teil einen Forschungsüberblick über Schwerpunkte und Entwicklungslinien in aktuellen Anwendungen der Ökonomie und Soziologie von Konventionen (EC/SC) im Bereich der Bildung. Das innovative Potenzial dieser Ansätze ist zum Teil ihrer Diversität zu verdanken: Konventionentheoretische Forschung zu Bildungspolitik und Bildungspraxis erfolgte in verschiedenen Disziplinen wie Soziologie, Erziehungswissenschaft, Wissenschaftsforschung, Politikwissenschaft und Sozialarbeit. Die bisherigen empirischen Studien befassen sich mit Institutionen wie Schule, Berufsbildung, Hochschulbildung oder Erwachsenenbildung, mit Themen wie dem Übergang von der Schule in den Beruf, mit Lehrplänen oder Berufspraktiken, mit Herausforderungen wie Ungleichheit oder Digitalisierung oder mit Phänomenen wie Governance und Reformen im Bildungswesen. Es lassen sich drei komplementäre und vielfältig miteinander verzahnte Schwerpunkte konventionentheoretischer Arbeiten im Bildungsbereich ausmachen. Die erste Perspektive fokussiert Konventionen als Rechtfertigungsordnungen und Prinzipien der Gerechtigkeit und analysiert auf dieser Grundlage, wie Bildungsungleichheiten hergestellt und begründet bzw. wie Ungerechtigkeit thematisiert und kritisiert wird. Der zweite Ansatz rückt Konventionen als Grammatiken von Handlungen und Formen der Koordination in den Blickpunkt, um zu untersuchen, wie Akteure in ungewissen und spannungsreichen Situationen des pädagogischen Alltags Koordination und Kooperation sicherstellen, indem sie etwa Praktiken und Routinen hinterfragen und neu ausrichten. Die dritte Sichtweise hebt den Charakter von Konventionen als Wertordnungen und Qualitätsprinzipien (auch als Grundlage sozialer Klassifikationen) hervor. Sie hilft zu verstehen, wie Qualität durch Prozesse und Praktiken der (E-)Valuierung entsteht und wirksam wird, wenn beispielsweise Studierende selektiert, bewertet oder für spätere Berufslaufbahnen positioniert werden. Der Beitrag umfasst darüber hinaus in einem zweiten Teil einen Kommentar zu den vier weiteren Einzelbeiträgen der Veranstaltung im Hinblick auf empirische, theoretische und methodologische Forschungsdesiderate.

Presentation. In a first part, this contribution offers a research overview of foci and lines of development in current applications of the economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) in education. The innovative potential of these approaches is due in part to their diversity: convention theory research on educational policy and practice has occurred in a variety of disciplines, including sociology, education, science studies, political science, and social work. Empirical studies to date have focused on institutions such as schools, vocational training, higher education, or adult education; on issues such as the transition from school to work; on curricula or professional practices; on challenges such as inequality or digitalization; or on phenomena such as governance and reforms in education. Three complementary and variously intertwined foci of convention-theoretical work in education can be identified. The first perspective focuses on conventions as justificatory orders and principles of justice and, on this basis, analyzes how educational inequalities are produced and justified and how injustice is thematized and criticized. The second approach focuses on conventions as grammars of action and forms of coordination in order to examine how actors ensure coordination and cooperation in uncertain and tense situations of everyday pedagogical life, for instance by questioning and realigning practices and routines. The third perspective emphasizes the character of conventions as value systems and quality principles (also as the basis of social classifications). It helps to understand how quality emerges and becomes effective through processes and practices of (e-)valorization, for example, when students are selected, evaluated, or positioned for later careers. The paper also includes, in a second part, a commentary on the four other individual papers in the course in terms of empirical, theoretical, and methodological research desiderata.

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Analyzing Realities Trough Conventions – The use of Pragmatic sociology for Understanding Education in the Nordics

Paper session, 11 August 2022, University of Iceland, Room Lögberg – 205
Chair: Christian Imdorf, Leibniz University Hannover
30th Nordic Sociological Association Conference 2022
10-12 August 2022, Reykjavik, Island

Education policy is considered an important instrument for equal opportunities and social mobility as well as a prerequisite for high productivity and high employment. Hence, it is a significant instrument of social policy to implement some of the core elements of the Nordic welfare model. Rather than to contrast myths and realities of this model, this session proposes to distinguish conflicting justification orders, notions of justice and moralities in education which require compromises in order to consolidate reality claims of plural educational worlds. The emergence of New French Pragmatism and the sociology of conventions offer promising analytical tools to analyze the different aims and facets of post-secondary education at the intersection of the educational system and the labor market. Beyond orders of justification, conventions in education also refer to value orders and plural notions of educational quality, as well as to logics of action for the analysis of governance, transformations and reforms of educational institutions and organizations. The application of convention theory in education thereby represents an alternative to structuralist traditions which tend to focus on rules that act outside of individuals (Durkheim) or the role of incorporated class-dispositions (Bourdieu), as well as rational choice theory, which advocates a more individualist and utility-maximizing model of actors and society (Boudon). Rather, the new pragmatic approach emphasizes the agency of individuals (e.g. students, teachers, headmasters) when coordinating their social actions in the context of situational cultural orders. While convention theory has been applied in France since the late 1980, and for some time in the German-speaking countries, it has only more recently received serious scholarly attention in the Nordics. This session brings together ongoing research on post-secondary education (folk high schools, higher vocational education, municipal adult education), which serves societal aims at the crossroads of the different priorities of the welfare state, civil society, and the demands for labor market. Paper 1 looks at the plural worth of education, justificatory regimes and forms of student engagement in Arts Education programs at Swedish Folk High Schools (Fürst & Nylander), a type of school which has a long-standing and strong association with Nordic culture and civil society. Paper 2 analyses different justificatory logics of skilling in the plural worlds of higher vocational education, a more recent educational institution in Sweden which is supposed to serve local labor market demands (Ye & Nylander). Paper 3 investigates how tendering-based procurement as a management tool shapes the very nature and value of Swedish municipal adult education between welfare service and market good (Holmqvist). Paper 4 presents a book-project which will show how pragmatism as a theoretical analytical viewpoint can contribute to new takes on both the micro level and macro level processes in the Norwegian educational setting (Haugseth & Smeplass). The session ends with some concluding remarks against the background of previous European research on education and conventions by the session chair (Imdorf). In sum, this session offers an in-depth introduction to the usefulness of pragmatic sociology for analyzing the plural realities of post-compulsory education in the Nordics through a variation of different cases and examples.

  • Henrik Fürst, Uppsala University & Erik Nylander, Linköping University: Variety of Values in Arts Education: Engaging in Music, Creative Writing, and the Visual Arts at the
    Folk High School
  • Erik Nylander, Linköping University & Rebecca Ye, Stockholm University: Justificatory logics of skilling: the plural worlds of higher vocational education participation
  • Diana Holmqvist, Linköping University: Between welfare service and market good – how tendering-based procurement as management tool shapes the value of Swedish municipal adult education
  • Jan Frode Haugseth, Eli Smeplass, Norwegian University of Science and Technology: Social Pragmatism in Education – New Directions in Educational Research and Practice

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