Archives de catégorie : Publications

La fabrique des statistiques pénitentiaires

Anaïs Henneguelle (2017)

In: Crimicorpus. Revue hypermédia Histoire de la justice, des crimes et des peines.

Résumé. Cet article entend témoigner d’une expérience de recherche originale où l’ethnographie est venue compléter un travail économétrique. À la suite de la publication de résultats fondés sur des statistiques pénitentiaires, je cherche à comprendre comment celles-ci sont construites au quotidien dans les prisons. Pour cela, je m’appuie sur des observations ethnographiques menées dans deux maisons d’arrêt de la région parisienne, où je peux assister à la saisie de données par les greffiers pénitentiaires et étudier la fabrication ordinaire du chiffre. Cet article montre qu’il existe une importante dissonance cognitive entre les agents, qui n’évoquent jamais l’enjeu statistique de leurs activités et n’y sont pas formés, et les membres de la Direction de l’administration pénitentiaire, qui s’appuient sur ces sources pour assoir leurs connaissances des personnes incarcérées. En particulier, les variables sociodémographiques sont marginalisées dans le processus de construction des statistiques pénitentiaires, et leur utilisation par l’économètre est sujette à caution.

Understanding discrimination in hiring apprentices: how training companies use ethnicity to avoid organisational trouble

Christian Imdorf (2017)

Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 69(3), 405-423. 

Abstract. Children of immigrants from non-EU countries face particular problems to access apprenticeship training in German-speaking countries. In this context this article asks how recruiters in small and medium sized companies (SME) make sense of national and ethnic origin when hiring new apprentices. The author proposes Boltanski and Thévenot’s theory of justification in order to conceptualise ethnic discrimination in hiring. Accordingly, the social body of a company consists of multiple interweaved (industrial, domestic, market) ‘worlds’ of social coordination and justification. In order to avoid organisational trouble and to guarantee the further existence of the company, these worlds claim different principle of personnel assessment, some of them penalising applicants of specific ethnic origin. Empirically, the article refers to apprentice recruitment in Switzerland and Germany. It illustrates that employers in SME expect trouble in the domestic and in the market world of the company when hiring school leavers they perceive as foreigners. Hence, discriminatory categories such as ethnicity are used as symbolic and organisational resources for trouble avoidance in hiring apprentices.

Link to the article

Collaborer pour insérer ? Les partenariats sociaux dans l’insertion par l’activité économique

 Philippe Semenowicz​ (2017)

Cet ouvrage analyse le fonctionnement de trois structures d’insertion par l’activité économique : un groupe d’insertion de statut associatif, une entreprise de travail temporaire d’insertion et un groupement d’employeurs pour l’insertion et la qualification. Il se dégage trois « conventions d’insertion », qui sont autant de compromis. L’insertion apparaît au final comme une notion ouverte à plusieurs acceptions. Leur portée dépend de la capacité des entreprises sociales à établir des compromis exigeants avec les entreprises classiques.

Philippe Semenowicz est enseignant à l’université Paris-Est Créteil et chercheur associé au laboratoire ERUDITE.


Introduction et table des matières disponibles en ligne

Capital and Carbon: The Shifting Common Good Justification of Energy Regimes

Thomas D. Beamish & Nicole Woolsey Biggart (2017)

In Charlotte Cloutier, Jean-Pascal Gond & Bernard Leca (ed.), Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 52) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.173 – 205.

Abstract. This article traces the regimes of worth that defined energy for centuries as a productive force of human and animal labor, an understanding that transformed in the 18th century to an “industrial-energy” regime of worth supporting an economy of mass production, consumption, and profit and more recently one centered on market forces and price. Industrial and market energy and the conventions and institutions that support them are currently in a period of discursive and material ferment; they are being challenged by different higher order principles of worth. We discuss eight emergent energy justifications that argue what kind of energy is – and is not – in the best interests of society.


Accounting Values, Controversies, and Compromises in Tests of Worth

Marcia Annisette, Gillian Vesty & Thierry Amslem (2017)

In Charlotte Cloutier, Jean-Pascal Gond & Bernard Leca (ed.), Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 52) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.209 – 239.

Abstract. This article will consider the various ways in which accounting can be conceptualized within Boltanski and Thévenot’s economies of worth theoretic. Drawing on two case illustrations, a not-for-profit welfare agency and a government-owned water utility, we follow the unfolding of disputes and the variety of outcomes in which accounting is implicated. We illustrate the role of accounting in justificatory actions and the ways in which it “holds things together” in compromise arrangements. We also illustrate the situations which challenge the “test” of worth and the innovative accounting responses that either facilitate coordination and agreement or become controversial and be the object of organizational and institutional dispute.



The Concept of Development Conventions: Some Suggestions for a Research Agenda

David Dequech (2017)

Journal of Economic Issues, 51:2, p. 285-296.

Abstract. Development conventions are broadly defined as socially shared systems of rules of thought or behavior (institutions) regarding development, with the properties of conformity with conformity and arbitrariness. Conformity with conformity means that the fact that others have adopted a convention, or are expected to adopt it, plays a role in leading someone else to adopt it. Arbitrariness means that a non-inferior alternative exists or is conceivable. This article identifies several social mechanisms through which the conformity of others leads one to conform. It also relates arbitrariness to the possibility of assessing development from various viewpoints, to the inconclusiveness of evidence, and to uncertainty about future consequences.

Link to the article via JIE

Link to the article via ResearchGate

Meat your enemy. Animal rights, alignment, and radical change

Glen Whelan & Jean-Pascal Gond (2017)

Journal of Management Inquiry, 26(2), pp. 123–138.

Abstract. Radical change can be conceived in terms of the reconceiving of ontological distinctions, such as those separating humans from animals. In building on insights from French pragmatism, we suggest that, while no doubt very difficult, radical change can potentially be achieved by creating “alignment” between multiple “economies of worth” or “common worlds” (e.g., the market world of money, the industrial world of efficiency). Using recent campaigns by animal rights organizations as our case, we show how the design of “tests” (e.g., tests of profitability, tests of efficiency) can help align multiple common worlds in support for radical change. Our analysis contributes to the broader management and organization studies literatures by conceiving radical change in terms of changing ontological categorizations (e.g., human/animals vs. sentient/ non-sentient), and by proposing that radical social change agents can be helpfully conceived as opportunistically using events to cumulatively justify the change they desire overtime.

Link to the article

Marketing and compromising for sustainability. Competing orders of worth in the North Atlantic

John H. Finch, Susi Geiger & Rachel Joy Harkness (2017)

Marketing Theory, 17(1), pp. 71-93.

Abstract. The purpose of our article is to propose that compromising is a constitutive characteristic of those marketing systems that entail matters of public interest or concern. In such markets, actors design compromises as they encounter criticisms of and contending justifications for the market’s products, as these refer to price, efficiency in production and use, regulatory compliance or ecological sustainability. Tests and justifications are vital in order to determine what is valuable and by which measure. As a theory framework, the economic sociology of conventions provides a basis for assessing these contests, compromises, and justifications over the issue of worth in a marketing context. Through an ethnographic study of the regulated activities of chemicals service companies supporting the upstream petroleum industry, we assess how actors evaluate and justify the market’s products and services in this environmentally sensitive setting by means of tests drawing from different orders of worth: the green, the industrial and the market order. Our contributions show that by artful and pragmatic compromising around exchanges, actors in marketing systems can balance several conflicting orders of worth over the question of worth without needing to converge on an overriding institutional logic.

Link to the article

The Theoretical Connection Between John R. Commons and Regulation and Convention Theories

Hiroyuki Uni and  Takayuki Nakahara (2017)

In: Uni, Hiroyuki (ed.) (2017): Contemporary Meanings of John R. Commons’s Institutional  Economics. Singapore: Springer, pp. 141-163.

Abstract. After discussing the uniqueness of Dewey’s philosophy in relation to (1) the world’s plurality and multiplicity, (2) the primary significance of multifarious interactions, and (3) the interrelation between habit and intelligence, we clarify the uniqueness of Commons’s institutional economics: (1) value theory based on multiple causation; (2) transactions as the ultimate unit of analysis; and (3) the interrelation between habitual assumption and collective action. We examine the theoretical connection between Commons and regulation and convention theories. The former partly shares and develops the first characteristic listed above, multiple causation, while the latter shares and develops the third characteristic, the interrelation between habitual assumption and collective action. In Institutional Economics (Commons, J.R., Institutional economics: Its place in political economy. Macmillan, New York, 1934), applying the idea of “multiple causation,” Commons approached macrodynamics based on the expansion of some key concepts and studies on income distribution and demand growth. This was a prototype of growth analysis based on the cumulative causation model with various forms of coordination, later formulated as regulation theory. Commons, following and developing Dewey’s theory of habit and intelligence, created the concept of “habitual and customary assumptions” and discussed a collective process for achieving “reasonable values,” such as the common-law method. Two-layered coordination in convention theory attempted to explain the psychological means and social mechanisms involved in the persistence of customs and institutions, which Commons briefly mentioned. Using Commons’s theory as a medium, it may be possible to articulate the macrodynamics developed by regulation theory and the micro theory of human interaction developed by convention theory.

Link to the document

Dispositiv und Ökonomie. Diskurs- und dispositivanalytische Perspektiven auf Märkte und Organisationen

Rainer Diaz-Bone & Ronald Hartz (eds.) (2017)

Wiesbaden: Springer VS

Der vorliegende Band bietet einen aktuellen Überblick über die Vielzahl neuerer sozialwissenschaftlicher Forschungen zur Bedeutung, Funktion und Theorie von Dispositiven in und für die Ökonomie. Denn die Ökonomie ist „instrumentiert“ – Organisationen und Märkte sind durchzogen und ausgestattet mit Objekten, Materialitäten, Technologien, Diskursen und Subjektivierungsweisen, deren spezifische Verknüpfungen die Ökonomie hervorbringen. Für die Analyse der Dispositive muss „Ökonomie“ daher notwendig transdisziplinär gefasst werden, gerade um die bisher weitgehende Ausblendung von Dispositiven in der Analyse von Märkten und Organisationen zu überwinden und diese durch neuartige theoretische aber auch vielfältige methodologische Zugänge zu erschließen. Diese Erschließung der materiellen und immateriellen Ausstattung der Ökonomie erfolgt nun nicht nur transdisziplinär, sondern auch international. Der Band präsentiert Beiträge von Forschenden aus Deutschland, Frankreich, Großbritannien und der Schweiz.

Link to the book

Revue Française de Socio-Économie 2017/1 (n° 18)

Dans le n°18 de la RFSE, trois articles de chercheurs en économie des conventions :

Favereau, Olivier (2017): Hommage à François Eymard-Duvernay. Révolutionnaire discret. In: Revue Française de Socio-Économie 2017/1 (n° 18), p. 5-12.

Abecassis, Philippe /Batifoulier, Philippe /Coutinet, Nathalie/ Domin,  Jean-Paul  (2017): La généralisation de l’assurance maladie complémentaire. Comment faire rimer inefficacité avec inégalité. In: Revue Française de Socio-Économie 2017/1 (n° 18), p. 13-22

Bessy, Christian (2017): La fin de l’économie. In: Revue Française de Socio-Économie, 2017/1 (n° 18), p. 195-205.

Lien vers la revue

Trying the unemployed. Justification and critique, emancipation and coercion towards society. A study of contemporary reform in France and Denmark

Magnus Paulsen Hansen  (2017)

Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School, PhD Series 10.2017

Abstract. Since the late 1980s, European welfare states and labour market regulation have gradually but radically been transformed into ways of underpinning a more “active society” where active usually entails paid work or activities, such as training and qualification, that aim towards work. The thesis investigates the transformation towards the ‘active society’ through the spectre of unemployment and how it is governed. Two puzzles in the transformations have motivated the inquiry: firstly, the co-existence of a plurality of different, and often contradictory, conceptions of who the unemployed are and why they are unemployed; and secondly, the co-existence of wills to emancipate the unemployed alongside the justification of using coercive measures towards them.
This thesis argues that if we want to understand the varieties within the transformations, the “what?” question, it is necessary to address the “how?”; i.e., how transformations are legitimised. Here, ideas and morality are pivotal. Inspired by French pragmatic sociology (Boltanski and Thévenot), the ideas are approached as cities of unemployment that are mobilised to justify and criticise policies related to the governing of unemployment. In these situations where the question of what is the best way to govern unemployment is put to the test, cities of unemployment enable actors to prepare and qualify the reality of the situation for critique and justification.
Each city of unemployment is founded on a principle with specific principles to try or test both those who govern and the subjects inhabiting each city, thus entailing a specific understanding of what emancipating the unemployed involves, i.e., what kind of moral subject the unemployed person is with what kind of needs and characteristics. The thesis thus asks which cities of unemployment are mobilised in contemporary reform processes of the governing of unemployment, how are the cities mobilised to justify and criticise, and how do the cities sediment into instruments and institutions governing the unemployed?
The questions are operationalised through an in-depth comparative study of four key contemporary reform processes: two in Denmark and two in France. The thesis is the first systematic investigation into the test situations that unfold in the public debates with a focus on the plurality of ideas that are mobilised to qualify and evaluate existing policies and justify changes.
The thesis shows how the governing of unemployment is the result of an ongoing sedimentation in the cities tied together in compromises. This makes the governing inherently composite and unstable. The thesis identifies and maps seven distinct cities of unemployment that are mobilised in all debates surrounding all four reforms: the cities of Demand, Redistribution, Insurance, Incentives, Mobility, Investment and the Paternal city. Regardless of differences between the four cases, all analyses show that reforms are particularly driven by justifications from the Paternal, Mobility, Investment and Incentives cities, which are all tied together in multiple ways. The other three cities do not vanish completely, but in the qualification of the unemployed they are increasingly put to the margins.
Finally, the thesis shows how the tensions between the cities that are mobilised for justificatory purposes are mitigated in categorisations and various institutionalised tests that continuously evaluate the behaviour of the unemployed. The tests, such as triage, screening, interviews and contracts, thus question and settle what kind of subject the unemployed person is, i.e., what city he lives in, how worthy he is, and what instruments will bring him closer to emancipation (i.e., the ‘active society’). In this way, the possibility of requalifying the unemployed is made permanent. A similar experimentalist dynamic is identifiable in the public debates concerning justification and critique. Here unemployment is increasingly seen as a multi-causal phenomenon that, in the end, is a matter of how to make the unemployed act in certain ways. The result is a constant uncertainty as to how to attach particular causes to particular categories of unemployment. Hence, the demand for targeting or “personalising” the governing in order to make the unemployed respond to it results in increasingly intimate and often coercive instruments.

Résumé. Depuis la fin des années 1980, les États-providence et les marchés du travail au sein de l’Europe connaissent des transformations radicales quoique graduelles, les amenant à privilégier une société plus « active », où actif a généralement le sens de travail rémunéré ou d’activités rémunérées comme px la formation sur le tas ou la formation professionnelle. Cette thèse étudie ce virage vers la ”société active” à travers le phénomène du chômage et sa gestion, la motivation étant d’arriver à une meilleure compréhension de deux tendances : Premièrement, la coprésence d’une pluralité de conceptions différentes et souvent contradictoires sur le chômeur et les circonstances ayant causé sa situation. Deuxièmement, la coprésence d’intentions visant à émanciper le chômeur, d’une part, et de justifications de mesures coercitives à l’encontre du chômeur, d’autre part.
La méthodologie proposée pour étudier et comprendre ces deux tendances suppose que pour savoir en quoi consistent ces transformations, il est nécessaire d’étudier comment les acteurs essaient de les justifier. À cette fin, une étude des idées et de leurs fondements moraux s’impose. S’inspirant de l’école française de la sociologie pragmatique (Boltanski et Thévenot), cette thèse propose une déclinaison du concept de cité du chômage pour rendre compte des idées mobilisées dans la justification et la critique des politiques de chômage. Dans de telles situations où la question de savoir comment gérer au mieux le chômage est mise à l’épreuve, des ‘cités du chômage’ permettent aux acteurs de préparer et qualifier la réalité afin de la critiquer et de la justifier.
Chaque cité du chômage est fondée sur un principe particulier se référant à une conception spécifique de l’émancipation du chômeur, et à partir de ce principe tant la gestion que les êtres présents qui y sont soumis peuvent être évalués ou mis à l’épreuve. Chaque cité attribue à chacun des chômeurs un sujet moral défini par des besoins et caractéristiques spécifiques. D’où la problématique suivante : Quelles cités de chômage sont mobilisées dans les processus de réforme contemporains de la gestion du chômage ? Comment les cités sont-elles mobilisées pour nourrir la justification et la critique ? Et enfin, comment se sédimentent-elles sous formes de dispositifs et d’institutions de gestion du chômeur ?
Ces questions sont traitées à travers une étude comparative détaillée de quatre processus de réforme importants – deux au Danemark et deux en France. Cette thèse est la première à étudier d’une manière systématique les ‘situations d’épreuve’ du débat public, et cela dans le but de mettre en évidence la pluralité des idées mobilisées pour qualifier et évaluer les politiques existantes et pour justifier des changements.
L’analyse montre comment la gestion du problème du chômage est le résultat d’une sédimentation continue de cités de chômage agencées par voie d’arbitrages. Cela rend la gestion du chômage hétéroclite et instable. Cette thèse révèle sept cités de chômage différentes, toutes mobilisées dans chacun des quatre débats : une cité de la demande, une cité de la redistribution, une cité des assurances, une cité des mesures incitatives, une cité des investissements, une cité de la mobilité, une cité paternaliste. Malgré les différences entre les cas étudiés, ceux-ci se caractérisent par étant fondés surtout sur la cité paternaliste et les cités de la mobilité, des mesures incitatives et des investissements. Les trois autres cités ne disparaissent pas complètement, mais elles sont de plus en plus marginalisées dans la qualification du chômeur.
Enfin ce travail de thèse montre comment les tensions décelées entre les cités mobilisées et au sein de celles-ci sont apaisées à l’aide de catégorisations et diverses épreuves institutionnalisées soumettant le comportement du chômeur à une évaluation continue. Des épreuves comme le triage, le dépistage, des interviews et des contrats questionnent et fixent le sujet du chômeur, à savoir sa cité de ‘domicile’ ou d’appartenance, sa valeur, et les instruments les plus indiqués pour l’amener vers son émancipation, c’est-à-dire vers ‘la société active’. Ainsi la possibilité de requalifier le chômeur est rendue permanente. Une dynamique d’expérimentation similaire se manifeste à travers la justification et la critique véhiculés par le débat public, où le chômage est considéré de plus en plus comme un phénomène à causes multiples et dont la solution consiste à découvrir, en fin de compte, comment amener le chômeur à agir d’une façon spécifique. Le résultat en est une incertitude constante concernant l’attribution de certaines causes à certaines catégories de chômeurs. D’où le besoin d’une gestion plus ciblée et personnalisée pour motiver le chômeur à agir ainsi que le besoin de dispositifs plus intimes et souvent coercitifs.


Special Issue « Markets and Classifications. Categorizations and Valuations as Social Processes Structuring Markets » Historical Social Research

Karoline Krenn (Ed.) (2017)

Historical Social Research, 42(1).

In the last couple of years the discussion on market classifications has received new topicality through the unbounded possibilities offered by digital technologies to track behavioral data. Understanding the social foundations of categories and classification systems is a fundamental problem in sociology. In markets, classifications are present in the variety of goods traded, in quality differentiations and their association to goods, and, also their matching with consumers. From a pure business perspective such marking of market identities is based on objective characteristics. In contrast, it is the aim of social science studies to pay attention to the formation of market categories, to examine the social construction processes underlying these classifications and to demonstrate their contingencies. In this vein, the contributions to this HSR Special Issue, which come from various theoretical schools such as the new economic sociology or the economics of convention, present recent research across a range of economic settings: financial markets, fashion markets, consumer markets and others. Despite the varieties of markets and national institution settings, essential resemblances show. Among the topics covered: The case of the French impact investment market, arguing for a dual function of judgment devices, demonstrates the close connection between boundary-building and boundary-blurring. A study on Dutch marketing agents reveals that the same actors who promote new classifications have difficulties in implementing these differentiations in their own performances. The example of self-categorizations in the British ethical fashion industry shows that the relevance of classifications is connected to reputation and power. And, analyses into the US-credit market discuss the off-label of classifications and its adverse societal consequences.

Link to the review

Headquarters-Subsidiary Relationships from a Convention Theory Perspective: Plural Orders of Worth, Arrangements and Form-Giving Activities

Julia Bandl and Anna Schneider (2017)

In: Dörrenbächer, Christoph/Geppert, Mike (eds.): Multinational Corporations and Organization Theory: Post Millennium Perspectives (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 49). Emerald Publishing, pp. 295-324.

Abstract. How headquarter (HQ) and subsidiary actors end conflicts and reach agreements is an important but still under-researched question in multinational corporations (MNC) literature. This conceptual article approaches these conflict dynamics from the Convention Theory perspective. Convention Theory draws attention to justice principles (known as “order of worth”) and to the material aspects in relations between MNC actors. We offer a framework that contributes to HQ-subsidiary relations research in three ways: (1) it links conflicts to justice principles, (2) it enriches the understanding of the stability of agreements, and (3) it sheds light on the activities needed for realizing preferred arrangements.


Handling the clash between production & consumption: A situated view on front-line service workers’ competencies in interactive service

Anna Schneider (2016)

Munich: Hampp.

Abstract: The majority of the workforce is currently employed in the service industry where many employees are involved in daily face-to-face service interactions with customers. At the same time, these direct customer interactions are increasingly put under pressure for example, in traditional retailing by alternative distribution channels. Nevertheless, whenever an essential part of a business-model’s value-creation process builds on interactive service work, both front-line service workers and customers are forced to mutually work together in service interactions. The present study shows the tensions front-line service workers face between demands for cost-efficiency on the one hand and customer service on the other. Although these two rationalities do not necessarily contradict each other on an organizational level, individual front-line service workers face these contradictions in the form of challenging tensions in every day interactions with customers. Building on rich and comprehensive observational and interview data from the retail sales floor, the interpretive research approach allows the analysis of the challenges of interactive service work and carves out the corresponding competencies to handle the clash between production and consumption which manifest in service interactions. Drawing on Convention Theory (“Économie des conventions”), the situation as unit of analysis becomes center stage. Convention Theory shows that not only are individual characteristics such as friendliness important for successful service interactions, but especially the competent interplay between individual resources and organizational settings within the situation of interaction is essential. The results shed new light on individuals’ contributions to successful service interactions and contributes to a more fine-grained picture of the challenges and competencies in interactive service work.