Archives de catégorie : Publications / Actualités / News

Towards a Pragmatic and Pluralist Framework for Energy Justice

Erik Laes, Gunter Bombaerts & Andreas Spahn (2023)

Philosophy and Technology, Open access, online first

Abstract. The three-tenet model, which focuses on ‘distributional justice’, ‘procedural justice’, and ‘justice as recognition’, has emerged as the most influential framework in the field of energy justice. Based on critical reviews of the three-tenet model, we identify three challenges that the model currently still faces: (i) a normative challenge on the grounding of the three-tenet model in philosophical theories; (ii) an ‘elite’ challenge on the justification of the use of power in energy-related decision; and (iii) a practical challenge on the application of the three tenets in situations of conflicting justice demands. In this article, we provide the basic contours of a three-step pluralist and pragmatic dialogue model for questions of energy justice that addresses the three challenges, based on the ‘commonwealth model’ of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot. The model proposes to create moral legitimacy in the face of plural demands for energy justice by engaging actors in an inclusive dialogue based on an explicit recognition of Boltanski and Thévenot’s commonwealth model. We thereby make three contributions to the existing literature on energy justice. First, the commonwealth model’s rootedness in normative political theory provides a stronger philosophical underpinning than was available up till now in the literature (challenge 1). Second, it allows one to go beyond the (almost exclusive) focus on injustices perpetrated on disempowered or marginalised groups, to include questions on the justified exercise of power (challenge 2). Third, the commonwealth model shows us practical ways out of situations where conflicting demands for justice are being made (challenge 3).

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The displacement of reality tests. The selection of individuals in the age of machine learning

Dominique Cardon & Jean-Marie John-Mathews (2023)

Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, Online first

Abstract. This article presents an interpretation of the transformation of selection tests in our societies, such as competitive examinations, recruitment or competitive access to goods or services, based on the opposition between reality and world proposed by Luc Boltanski in On Critique. We would like to explore the change in the format of these selection tests. We argue that this change is made possible by a spectacular enlargement of the space for comparisons between candidates and by the implementation of machine learning techniques. But this shift is not the only and simple consequence of the introduction of the technological innovation brought by massive data and artificial intelligence. It finds justification in the institutions and organizations that order selection tests because this new test format claims to absorb the multiple criticisms that our societies constantly raise against the previous generations of tests. This is why we propose to interpret the attention and the development of these automated procedures as a technocratic response to the development of a critique of the categorical representation of society.

Excerpt: “This change in calculation method is the consequence of a constant increase in the size of candidates’ files. However, this increase in the number of data points also reflects the transformation of our societies’ relationship with forms of categorization of reality. With the individualization and complexification of social interdependencies, individuals’ criticism of the taxonomies into which they are categorized is being expressed more and more vehemently (Bruno, Didier, and Prévieux 2015). The regular patterns shown by social statistics no longer have an impact on our societies. They are often denounced as a set of hardened and abstract conventions that are incapable of conveying the complexification of social life and the singularities of individuals (Desrosières 2014). This movement is first and foremost evidenced in the effects of the criticism, developed in particular by the social sciences, aimed at revealing the constructed and artificial nature of statistical categorization (Boltanski 2014; Desrosières and Thévenot 1988). We are also witnessing a challenging of national indicators, such as the unemployment rate, consumer price index, or GDP, which are often identified as statistical constructions that can be manipulated according to the political constraints of the moment. The statistical pictures produced by government organizations are perceived as being reductive and have led, under the pressure of econometrics in particular, to profound transformations in statistical instruments that replace socio-professional categorization with continuous variables such as income (Pierru and Spire 2008; Angeletti 2011). The production of categories also encompasses worldviews originating in the history of power relations in our societies which hide structural asymmetries between groups, such as patriarchy, institutional racism, or the economization of the world (Eubanks 2017; Crawford and Calo 2016; Murphy 2017).” (p. 11)

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Pragmatism, partnerships, and persuasion: theorizing philanthropic foundations in the global policy agora

Janis Petzinger, Tobias Jung & Kevin Orr (2023)

Policy and Society, Open access, online first

Abstract. Foundations are one of the oldest organizational forms globally; their number and resources, as well as their socio-political and economic importance, have steadily continued to grow. Yet, foundations’ attributes, activities, and actual achievements remain underexplored and poorly understood. This is particularly noticeable in the context of global policy and transnational administration, an area where foundations tend to be subliminal players, acting as a widely unrecognized socio-political undercurrent. Addressing the resulting need for better and alternative conceptualizations of foundations, our paper uses French pragmatic sociology of critique (FPSC), a non-structuralist, post-Bourdesian, approach to sociology, to theorize philanthropic foundations within the policy agora. Through FPSC, we present foundations as a composite setup of activity, where critically reflexive actors bring normative ideologies and knowledge to policy, providing a new avenue for how scholarship can interpret and critique foundations and their influence.

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Patrimonialisation et durabilité du régime conventionnel territorial à Romans-sur-Isère

Vers une approche conventionnaliste du développement territorial

Patrimonialization and sustainability of the territorial conventional regime in Romans-sur-Isère
Towards a conventionalist approach of territorial development

Florian Fompérie, Muriel Maillefert & Éva Martinez (2023)

Développement durable et territoires, 14(1), Online

Résumé. Ce travail interroge les liens entre projets de développement et convention territoriale, en s’appuyant sur une analyse du territoire de Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme). Une étude historique des caractéristiques de ce projet centré autour du cuir et de la chaussure montre que deux modèles alternatifs sont apparus ces 30 dernières années. Le premier est plutôt centré sur des investissements extérieurs, et associé à une action de renouvellement urbain. Le second est plutôt fondé sur les valeurs de l’économie sociale et solidaire (ESS) et la patrimonialisation des ressources autour de spécificités territoriales. Ce dernier porte en germe une convention territoriale innovante qui peine toutefois à se diffuser. Nous proposons, à titre programmatique, des clés de lecture originales autour d’une approche par les conventions. Celles-ci permettent de comprendre l’émergence de nouvelles formes de valeurs fondées sur la coconstruction de projets et les usages.

Abstract. This work questions the links between development projects and territorial conventions, based on an analysis of the territory of Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme, France). A historical study of the characteristics of this model, centered around leather and footwear, shows that two alternative models have emerged over the last thirty years. The first is rather centered on external investments, associated with a « gentrifying » urban renewal model. The second is based more on non-market based values and the patrimonialization of resources around territorial specificities. The latter bears the seeds of an innovative territorial convention that is nevertheless struggling to spread. We suggest, in a programmatic way, original reading keys, around an approach by convention theory. This makes it possible to understand the new forms of territorial value based on the coconstruction of projects and uses.

Extrait : “Salais (1989) et Salais et Storper (1993), à l’interface de la géographie et de l’économie, ont ouvert la voie, en identifiant des formes de passage entre entreprise et territoire à partir de trois types de conventions : de productivité (régulation de l’effort), de qualité (régulation de la qualité attendue par les consommateurs) et de chômage (régulation de l’incertitude de la demande). Hollard (2014), faisant un pas de côté, propose de construire la notion de « coordination territoriale » autour de trois dimensions : un principe de justification, l’analyse des liens entre les activités économiques, et l’existence d’institutions intermédiaires permettant de faire le lien entre les différents univers conventionnels. Il ajoute donc les dimensions de réseau et d’intermédiation. De son côté, Buclet (2011) est un des rares auteurs à aborder, dans une vision holiste, la dimension territorialisée de la convention. Il propose ainsi, à partir des modalités polanyiennes de l’échange (marché, redistribution et réciprocité) de définir un régime conventionnel comme « un moment dans le temps et l’espace pendant lequel une communauté humaine donnée se conforme à un certain nombre de principes qui orientent les comportements des individus inscrits dans cette communauté » (Buclet, 2011 : 914). Ce régime conventionnel va dépendre de principes d’action individuels (conciliant liberté et contrainte, intérêt et aimance) et collectif (principes de coordination proximistes). La stabilité du régime conventionnel provient de l’étendue de la conformité à la convention (selon les principes lewisiens) et du confort qu’elle procure aux acteurs qui la suivent, en fournissant des repères pour l’action. La définition de N. Buclet nous servira de point de départ pour discuter de cet enjeu de convention territoriale.” (p. 3-4)

Excerpt: “Salais (1989) and Salais and Storper (1993), at the interface of geography and economics, paved the way, identifying forms of transition between firm and territory based on three types of convention: productivity (regulation of effort), quality (regulation of the quality expected by consumers) and unemployment (regulation of demand uncertainty). Hollard (2014), taking a step to the side, proposes to build the notion of “territorial coordination” around three dimensions: a principle of justification, the analysis of links between economic activities, and the existence of intermediary institutions enabling the link between different conventional universes. He thus adds the dimensions of network and intermediation. For his part, Buclet (2011) is one of the few authors to take a holistic approach to the territorialized dimension of convention. Based on the Polanyian modalities of exchange (market, redistribution and reciprocity), he proposes to define a conventional regime as “a moment in time and space during which a given human community conforms to a certain number of principles that guide the behavior of the individuals in this community” (Buclet, 2011: 914). This conventional regime will depend on individual principles of action (reconciling freedom and constraint, interest and liking) and collective principles (proximistic principles of coordination). The stability of the conventional regime stems from the extent of conformity to the convention (according to Lewisian principles) and the comfort it provides to the actors who follow it, by providing reference points for action. N. Buclet’s definition will serve as a starting point for discussing this issue of territorial convention.” (p. 3-4)

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Justifications Analysis

Eeva Luhtakallio & Tuomas Ylä-Anttila (2023)

In Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (eds.), Handbook of economics and sociology of conventions. Cham: Springer, Online first

Abstract. Justifications analysis (JA) is a methodological approach that operationalizes the categories of common good principles presented in the theoretical literature on the economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) for systematic empirical analysis of justifications in public debates. JA draws from three principle sources: theoretically, the original work in On Justification (Boltanski and Thévenot, On justification. Economies of worth. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006) and methodologically, content analysis and different applications of frame analysis deployed in media and social movement studies. This chapter introduces the groundings for this methodological approach and its connections to previous tools used with similar empirical objects. It offers a how-to of the method, explaining the steps that utilizing the method requires, as well as concrete examples of the kind of analyses the method enables. Furthermore, the chapter reviews key empirical studies employing JA and synthesizes their contributions to the theoretical development of EC/SC. Finally, the chapter explores recent extensions of JA and suggests avenues for future research for its use.

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Applying Convention Theory to Military Sociology: Achievements and Perspectives

Esther Berner & Arjan Kozica (2023)

In Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (eds.), Handbook of economics and sociology of conventions. Cham: Springer, Online first

Abstract. Military organizations have special features like following different organizational laws in times of peace and war and their specific embeddedness in society and politics. Especially the latter aspect has made the military an important object of study since the beginnings of modern sociology. In the wake of establishing specific sociological accounts, military sociology has been developed, dedicated to the different facets of the military. This research is based on different theoretical perspectives, but has hardly embraced the frameworks from economics and sociology of conventions (EC/SC) so far. The aim of the chapter is to explore and demonstrate the potentials of this approach. In a first step, the state of the art of military sociology research is outlined, and potential avenues for analyzing military forces based on EC/SC are identified. It is argued that especially the connection to organizational theory (military as organization) and civil-military relations, including leadership and professionalism, offer starting points. After introducing existing studies addressing military-related topics with reference to EC/SC, relevant concepts and approaches of convention theory that prove to be particularly enriching for military research are discussed. An outlook on possible further fields and topics of research is given to concretize how an inclusion of the perspective of EC/SC could look like.

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On the Value of Information Security Policies in Organizations: A Convention Theory Perspective

Dominik Zellhofer (2023)

PhD thesis. Vienna: Vienne University of Economics and Business.

Abstract. Due to the widespread use of information technology, information security has become an important issue for all organizations. Organizational information security policies are an important part of efforts to formalize secure practices. Despite extensive research on (non-)compliance with these policies, theoretical approaches to the question of why information security-related practices deviate from organizational policies lack sociological perspectives. This dissertation addresses this gap in literature and presents a qualitative study based on the theoretical perspective of the economies of convention (EC). A single case study method is used to investigate an organization after its ISO/IEC27001 certification. The study discusses how to successfully integrate information security policies into organizational coordination and why efforts to do so can fail. The developed EC-perspective shows that value-based disputes about information security policies and practices call for compromises that qualify policies and their related practices as relevant to organizational coordination. It describes how individuals use justification and critique to settle these disputes. The findings also highlight the importance of situational factors, the role of information technology and other objects, and how policies and controls affect the personal attachment of actors to their work environment. The developed models and frameworks can be useful for future research to analyze the coordination between actors in organizations. Implications for practice suggest that information security practitioners must compromise between conflicting values and goals, that they must account for situational deviances from policies, and consider the impact of information security policies and controls on habits and innovative behavior of employees.

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Regimes of Temporality

Mischa Gabowitsch (2023)

In: Gutman, Yifat/Wüstenberg, Jenny (eds.), The Routledge handbook of memory studies. Abingdon. Routledge, pp. 48-51

Extract: “The sociologist Laurent Thévenot (2001, 2006, 2014) has distinguished between four different pragmatic regimes in which we engage with the world: the regime of individual interest and planned action; the regime of justification; the regime of familiarity; and the regime of exploration. Each of these regimes implies a different way of evaluating our surroundings, and each gives rise to a grammar of commonality that formats how we experience both conflict and coordinated collective action. Each of these regimes has obvious relevance to aspects of memory activism.“ (p. 50)

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Management territorial et coordination gérontologique : apports de la théorie des conventions et effets du diagnostic de territoire

Territorial management and gerontological coordination: Contributions of the theory of conventions and effects of territorial diagnosis

Mélanie Frattallone Kieffer (2023)

Projectics / Proyéctica / Projectique, HS1, pp. 149-173

Résumé. Le vieillissement de la population n’est plus un phénomène nouveau, amenant les pouvoirs publics à y consacrer réflexions et financements. Un nouvel enjeu fait aujourd’hui son apparition : le bien vieillir. Lorsque l’on questionne les aînés, leur souhait principal est de rester à domicile en bénéficiant d’un soutien adapté. Nombreux dispositifs sanitaires et sociaux sont ainsi déployés, mais quid de leur mise en harmonie face à leur multiplicité. Ce travail de recherche s’intéresse à la coordination gérontologique et aux leviers permettant d’atteindre les objectifs du bien vieillir à domicile, et ce, au travers l’étude des relations entre les acteurs de l’action gérontologique. La littérature nous offre une grille de lecture par l’approche de la théorie des conventions ; conventions décrites comme des « formes culturelles établies collectivement permettant de coordonner » (Diaz-Bone et Thévenot). Nous enrichissons notre recherche en vérifiant les apports du diagnostic de territoire, élément clé permettant la construction d’un consensus et outil du management territorial. Si nos résultats démontrent toute l’importance de ces éléments, il en ressort un besoin de retour à l’essentiel : se connaître et connaître l’étendue des potentialités et limites de l’autre, couplé au partage d’objectifs clairement établis.

Abstract. The aging of the population is no longer a new phenomenon, leading public authorities to devote thought and funding to it. A new issue is now emerging: aging well. When we question the elderly, their main wish is to remain at home with the appropriate support. Numerous health and social services are deployed, but how can they be harmonized in the face of their multiplicity? This research work is interested in gerontological coordination and the levers that enable the objectives of aging well at home to be achieved, through the study of the relationships between the actors in gerontological action. The literature offers us a reading grid through the approach of the theory of conventions; conventions described as “cultural forms established collectively allowing coordination” (Diaz-Bone and Thévenot). We enrich our research by verifying the contributions of territorial diagnosis, a key element allowing the construction of a consensus and a tool for territorial management. If our results demonstrate the importance of these elements, they show a need to go back to basics: to know each other and the extent of each other’s potential and limits, coupled with the sharing of clearly established objectives.

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Grand manuel d’économie politique

Association française d’économie politique, Coordonné par Yann Guy, Anaïs Henneguelle, Emmanuelle Puissant (2023)

Paris: Dunod

Présentation du livre. Les grandes thématiques de l’économie ont fait l’objet d’innombrables ouvrages. Tous tendent à présenter les phénomènes économiques et de la discipline à la  lumière d’une seule famille théorique en ignorant la richesse et la diversité des approches existantes.
Ce manuel d’un nouveau genre  renouvelle la manière d’aborder l’économie comme une science ancrée dans un contexte social, historique et politique. Chaque grand sujet y est traité sous l’angle du pluralisme des courants et des méthodes. Et  parce  que l’économie est une discipline vivante et ouverte, chaque chapitre convoque les  regards croisés d’autres domaines (sociologie, géographie, histoire, philosophie…) et  confronte les connaissances apportées par différentes approches théoriques, autour de grandes controverses scientifiques.
Accessible autant que rigoureux, hétérodoxe autant que pluraliste, ce premier manuel d’économie politique réinvente l’approche des sciences économiques.

About this book. The major themes of economics have been the subject of countless books. They all tend to present economic phenomena and the discipline in the light of a single theoretical family, ignoring the richness and diversity of existing approaches.
This new-style textbook renews the approach to economics as a science rooted in a social, historical and political context. Each major subject is treated from the angle of the pluralism of currents and methods. And because economics is a living, open discipline, each chapter draws on the cross-disciplinary viewpoints of other fields (sociology, geography, history, philosophy…) and compares the knowledge provided by different theoretical approaches, around major scientific controversies.
Accessible as much as rigorous, heterodox as much as pluralist, this first political economy textbook reinvents the approach to economics.

The book includes several presentations of EC/SC as part of French economics.
See for example:

Partie 2: Économie institutionnaliste
2.3.2 L’Économie des conventions, pp. 88-89.

Partie 6: Financiarisation, finance internationale
1.4.3. La convention financière pour assurer la coordination, pp. 316-317.

Partie 10: Économie du travail, relations salariales et politiques d’emploi
2.2.1. Le salaire : entre productivité et convention

Partie 12: Méthodologies
5.1.1 Les chiffres comme conventions de mesure, pp. 678-679.


Table des matières / Table of contents:

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The Liberal Arts Paradox in Higher Education: Negotiating Inclusion and Prestige

Kathryn Telling (2023)

Bristol: Policy Press

About this book. The liberal arts approach to higher education is a growing trend globally. We are told that the mental dexterity and independent, questioning spirit cultivated by such interdisciplinary degrees are the best preparation for the as-yet unknown executive jobs of tomorrow.
For critics of the marketisation of higher education, or those that denounce its retrenchment to elitist values, such a move may well be taken as symptomatic of the broader mess in which we find ourselves. But does such a critique capture the complexity of educational initiatives like this?
This study of the significant recent growth of liberal arts degrees in England argues otherwise. Each chapter of the book takes one key issue for higher education today (innovation, interdisciplinarity, specialisation, employability, student identities and elitism) and uses talk about the liberal arts (taken from institutions’ promotional websites, and interviews with students and academics) as a case study to bring to the fore the complex, plural values that animate educational endeavours. Rather than argue that one of these principles (for instance meritocratic, or egalitarian, or competitive, or elitist beliefs) is the fundamental truth of the situation, it instead uses ideas taken from the work of Luc Boltanski and various colleagues, to attend to the ways that students and academics try to disentangle this mess of values, and seek to question which value is appropriate to which context.
The sociology of higher education should, then, pay attention to these attempts to grapple with complexity, especially as they come from students, to get to a full account of what is happening in higher education today.

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The introduction is available open access:

Call for Papers: “Health Capitalism and Financialization of Healthcare”

Special Issue of the Review of Evolutionary Political Economy

The purpose of this special issue of the Review of Evolutionary Political Economy is to further develop the discussion on health capitalism and the advance of the financial sector in health activities. As research on financialization is pluralistic in nature (Stockhammer et al., 2021), we welcome papers from a variety of disciplines (comparative and international political economy, economic sociology, …), based on diverse approaches (theoretical, empirical) and methods (case-studies, statistics, archival work, modeling, …) reflecting of health capitalism and highlighting and clarifying the process of financialization in healthcare […]

Guest Editors:
– Philippe Batifoulier
– Ève Chiapello
– Nicolas Da Silva
– Robert McMaster

Deadline: 30th September 2023 for submission of title and abstracts.
Please send abstract to:

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Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Eine Theorie der sozioökonomischen Bildung

Economy and Society. A theory of socioeconomic education

Reinhold Hedtke (2023)

Frankfurt: Wochenschau Verlag

Über dieses Buch. Dieses Buch umreißt die Grundlagen der sozioökonomischen Bildung. Es entwirft eine Bildung für Personen in ihren Lebenswelten, die Realitätsbezug, Freiheit und Eigensinn verbürgt. Sie verknüpft Sozialwissenschaften mit Wirtschaft, Erfahrung mit Theorie.

Auszug: “Als für die Sozioökonomiedidaktik besonders fruchtbar erweisen sich immer wieder Einsichten aus der Konventionenökonomie, die ein dezidiert soziales Konzept des Akteurs vertritt und dies mit mehreren Modi des Weltbezugs und einer Mehrzahl von charakteristischen und stabilen Rechtfertigungsordnungen verbindet, die auch Welten oder Qualitätskonventionen heißen. Die Konventionenökonomie unterscheidet folgende Welten: Welt des Marktes (Marktkonvention), industrielle Welt, Welt des Hauses (handwerkliche Konvention), Welt der Meinung (Konvention der Bekanntheit), Welt der Inspiration, staatsbürgerliche Welt, grüne Welt (ökologische Konvention), projektbasierte Welt (Netzwerkkonvention; vgl. (Überblick bei Diaz-Bone 2018, 141–163; für die sozioökonomische Bildung Hedtke/Middelschulte 2017, 120–130; Hedtke 2018b, 208–210). Sie bietet damit einen systematischen Bezugsrahmen für die Auseinandersetzung mit der im Gegenstandsbereich der Sozioökonomiedidaktik verankerten Pluralität. Noch bevor die Person einen Zustand als individuelles, autonomes und handlungsfähiges Subjekt erreicht, an das man politische und pädagogische Appelle zur Willens- und Entscheidungsbildung adressieren kann, muss sie erst einmal ‘an Anknüpfungspunkten aus dem Nahbereich Halt finden’, ‘in einem Vertrauten, in dem die Person wurzelt, eingebunden ist’, in dem sie ‘persönliche Gewohnheiten und Gepflogenheiten […] aus dem Gebrauch heraus’ entwickelt, die ihr Orientierung verschaffen (Eymard-Duvernay u. a. 2011, 229). Das beschränkt sich aber nicht auf eine bestimmte Entwicklungsphase, die man im Erwachsenensein hinter sich lassen wird. Leben vollzieht sich immer auch ‘in einem unproblematisierten Horizont von (scheinbaren) Selbstverständlichkeiten’ (Ritsert 2012, 23). Dafür steht bei Laurent Thévenot vor allem das Regime der Familiarität; jenseits davon bewegen sich die pluralen Personen grundsätzlich in einer Pluralität von Regimes mit einer Vielfalt von Handlungstypen (Thévenot 2011a, 234–236; vgl. Kap. 4.1.1).” (p. 189)

About this book. This book outlines the foundations of socioeconomic education. It designs an education for persons in their life worlds that vouches for realism, freedom, and self-will. It links social science with economics, experience with theory.

Extract: “Insights from economics of convention, advocates a decidedly social concept of the actor and combines this with several modes of relating to the world and a plurality of characteristic and stable orders of justification, also called worlds or conventions of quality, repeatedly prove to be particularly fruitful for socioeconomics didactics. The economics of convention distinguishes the following worlds: World of the market (market convention), industrial world, domestic world (craft convention), world of opinion (convention of notoriety), world of inspiration, civic world, green world (ecological convention), project-based world (network convention; see overview in Diaz-Bone 2018, 141-163; for socioeconomic education Hedtke/Middelschulte 2017, 120-130; Hedtke 2018b, 208-210). It thus provides a systematic frame of reference for addressing the plurality embedded in the subject matter of socioeconomic education. Even before the person reaches a state as an individual, autonomous, and capable subject to whom one can address political and pedagogical appeals for the formation of wills and decisions, he or she must first ‘find a foothold in points of attachment from the close-range,’ ‘embedded in a familiar in which the person is rooted,’ in which he or she develops ‘personal habits and customs […] out of use’ that provide him or her with orientation (Eymard-Duvernay et al. 2011, 229). However, this is not limited to a specific developmental phase that one will leave behind in adulthood. Life always also takes place ‘within an unproblematized horizon of (apparent) self-evident things’ (Ritsert 2012, 23). For Laurent Thévenot, this is represented above all by the regime of familiarity; beyond this, plural persons move fundamentally in a plurality of regimes with a diversity of types of action (Thévenot 2011a, 234-236; cf. ch. 4.1.1).” (p. 189)

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Is a Reconciliation between Pierre Bourdieu and Luc Boltanski Possible? Towards a Dialogue between Critical Sociology and the Pragmatic Sociology of Critique

Simon Susen (2023)

Translated into Arabian by Mohammed Mourchid

Omran. Open access, pp. 133-171.

Translation of: Simon Susen, “Une réconciliation entre Pierre Bourdieu et Luc Boltanski est–elle possible? Pour un dialogue entre la sociologie critique et la sociologie pragmatique de la critique,” in: Bruno Frère (ed.), Le tournant de la théorie critique. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 2015, pp. 151-186

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Fairness in machine learning from the perspective of sociology of statistics: How machine learning is becoming scientific by turning its back on metrological realism

Bilel Benbouzid (2023)

2023 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT ’23), June 12–15, 2023, Chicago, IL, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA

Abstract. We argue in this article that the integration of fairness into machine learning, or FairML, is a valuable exemplar of the politics of statistics and their ongoing transformations. Classically, statisticians sought to eliminate any trace of politics from their measurement tools. But data scientists who are developing predictive machines for social applications – are inevitably confronted with the problem of fairness. They thus face two difficult and often distinct types of demands: first, for reliable computational techniques, and second, for transparency, given the constructed, politically situated nature of quantification operations. We begin by socially localizing the formation of FairML as a field of research and describing the associated epistemological framework. We then examine how researchers simultaneously think the mathematical and social construction of approaches to machine learning, following controversies around fairness metrics and their status. Thirdly and finally, we show that FairML approaches tend towards a specific form of objectivity, “trained judgement,” which is based on a reasonably partial justification from the designer of the machine – which itself comes to be politically situated as a result.

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