Archives de catégorie : Publications

Short supply chains and Protected Designations of Origin: the case of Parmigiano Reggiano (Italy)

Maria Cecilia Mancini & Filippo Arfini (2018)

AGER:  Journal of Depopulation and Rural Development Studies, 25

Abstract: Short food supply chains are considered a tool for promoting the local economy and meeting consumers’ quality requirements. This paper analyses the case of a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product that is marketed both world-wide and through a short supply chain (Parmigiano Reggiano). The case study shows that short chains can be an important trade channel for consumers, producers and rural development. Parmigiano Reggiano dairy factories with direct sales are more resilient than those without direct sales. The study also shows that the successful implementation of a short supply chain requires efficient governance.

Excerpt (p. 4)

A specific feature of [short food supply chains] products is the level of quality and sustainability perceived by consumers. To develop a more inclusive view of how socially constructed criteria are coordinated in processes of food quality assessment by the consumer, many researchers have used convention theory (Boltanski and Thevenod 1991; Wilkinson 1997; Nygård and Storstad 1998; Kirwan 2006). In contrast with neo-classical theory which says that the price mechanism incorporates all the information inherent in a product, convention theory considers quality as an endogenous social construct which contributes to coordinating economic activity (Wilkinson 1997). More precisely, quality is also the result of formal rules (civic convention) or informal rules (domestic and opinion conventions). In civic conventions, there is collective commitment built on a recognized common interest and coordination to avoid conflicts (Ponte and Gibbon 2005). Domestic convention is based on direct relationships and personal trust enabled by physical and cultural proximity (Boltanski and Thevenot 1991). In opinion convention, product quality is judged with reference to the opinions of others (Marescotti 2000). These conventions contribute to the acknowledgement of local ties between actors which allow them to communicate and negotiate (Renard 2003).

Keywords: PDO, short food supply chain, resilience, rural development.

Link to the review (open access)

Quality conventional perspective on the quality assurance of education export in the case Finland

Henna Juusola (2018)

In: Vesa Korhonen & Pauliina Alenius  (eds.), Internationalisation and Transnationalisation in Higher Education. Bern: Peter Lang, p. 101-124.

Abstract. During the last decade, education export has been seen as a promising new export service for Finnish higher education institutions that can increase national income and offer multiple opportunities to operate internationally. The quality of education and the good reputation of the Finnish education system worldwide are seen as a starting point for Finnish education export activities. In this paper, the aim is to examine national quality assurance practicalities from the perspective of education export. The focus is on two audit reports with education export as an optional target: the Audit of Häme University of Applied Sciences and the Audit of Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The reports are analyzed using qualitative content analyses and French convention theory that sets quality concept in a larger framework. This approach enhances the understanding of education activities where education is considered for-profit and projects can be located outside Finland. By so doing, this paper provides new insights on those quality conventions that seem to have dominant role in external audit reports, but it also offers a theoretically based overview of the global educational market space.

About the book. Internationalisation have recently featured in discussions and initiatives related to various fields of higher education. Educational leaders, institutions and national policy-makers, but also international actors, such as the European Union and UNESCO, have promoted the internationalisation of higher education. Increasing emphasis on internationalisation has diversified also teaching and learning contexts in higher education and has given rise to a growing need for searching appropriate cross-cultural pedagogical approaches. However, internationalisation in the context of higher education is a multifaceted concept and involves more than just one international dimension in institutional or pedagogical activities. These recent developmental features are examined in the book with the conceptual lense of emerging pattern of internationalisation.

Link to the chapter

Towards a comprehensive understanding of new regional industrial path development

Robert Hassink, Arne Isaksen & Michaela Trippl (2018)

Papers in Economic Geography and Innovation Studies

Abstract. New regional industrial path development is a key concept in economic geography, as it contributes to explaining regional economic inequalities and forms the basis for place-based innovation policies. So far, particularly scholars within the Utrecht school of evolutionary economic geography have pioneered research on this topic. In this paper, we critically discuss their work and conclude that their understanding of path development is too narrow. We develop a future research agenda, which stresses the need to develop a multi-actor and multiscalar approach, to integrate the future into analyses of path development and to offer a broader view on inter-path relations.

Excerpt: « Third, expectations, visions and conventions are key to analyze in future research on new path development. How do shared expectations, visions and conventions come into place and what role does colocation play in that process? How do they influence new path development? Why do shared expectations, visions and conventions in some cases contribute to new path development and why do they in other cases block new path development? In answering these questions, EEG scholars can, as suggested by Steen (2016b), draw on the literature from socio-technical transitions and the sociology of expectations (Borup et al., 2006). »

Keywords: new regional industrial path development; multi-actor approach, multiscalar approach, inter-path relations.

Download the paper (via ResearchGate)

Trust in Data Science: Collaboration, Translation, and Accountability in Corporate Data Science Projects

Samir Passi & Steven J. Jackson (2018)

Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. 2, No. CSCW, Article 136

Abstract. The trustworthiness of data science systems in applied and real-world settings emerges from the resolution of specific tensions through situated, pragmatic, and ongoing forms of work. Drawing on research in CSCW, critical data studies, and history and sociology of science, and six months of immersive ethnographic fieldwork with a corporate data science team, we describe four common tensions in applied data science work: (un)equivocal numbers, (counter)intuitive knowledge, (in)credible data, and (in)scrutable models. We show how organizational actors establish and re-negotiate trust under messy and uncertain analytic conditions through practices of skepticism, assessment, and credibility. Highlighting the collaborative and heterogeneous nature of real-world data science, we show how the management of trust in applied corporate data science settings depends not only on pre-processing and quantification, but also on negotiation and translation. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for data science research and practice, both within and beyond CSCW.

Download the paper

Des droits de l’Homme au Code du travailLes enjeux d’un retour sur le contrat de travail

Claude Didry (2018)

L’Homme et la société, 206, p. 241-264.

Résumé. Dans les débats législatifs des années 1900, le contrat de travail repose sur une relation exclusive entre un travailleur et un employeur, plaçant le premier dans une dépendance économique à l’égard du second. Cependant, le Code, en ne définissant pas le contrat de travail, laisse la voie libre, dans les années 1930 à une intervention de la Cour de cassation qui fait prévaloir le critère de la subordination du travailleur à l’employeur dans l’identification d’un contrat de travail. Dès lors, le travail se définit moins comme une activité du salarié que comme une expression de la volonté de l’employeur, avec comme seuls garde-fou les droits de l’Homme. La proposition de Code du travail avancé par le GR-PACT répond à cette lacune en introduisant une définition du contrat qui, sans exclure le pouvoir de fait, envisage un lien de dépendance entre travailleur et employeur.

Mots-clés : code du travail, contrat de travail, droits de l’Homme, subordination, dépendance économique

Abstract. From Human Rights to the Labor Code. The Issue of the Labor Contract’s DefinitionIn the 1900s’ legislative debates, labor contract is conceived as an exclusive relation between a worker and an employer, meaning the economic dependance of the former to the latter. But, the Code did not define the labor contract, and it left space for an intervention of the Cour de cassation that took subordination as the criterium of a labor contract. Thus, labor is less the activity of a worker than the expression of the will of an employer, with fundamental rights as the ultimate limit. The labor code proposition established by the GR-PACT adresses this gap, as it defines labor contract not only by the de facto power of the employer, but also by the economic dependance of the worker.

Keywords: Labor code, Employment contract, Subordination, Economic Dependance

Lien vers la revue / Link to the review

Globalization of Quantitative Policing: Between Management and Statactivism

Emmanuel Didier (2018)

Annual Review of Sociology, 44, p. 515-534.

Abstract. “Information policing seems to be pervading public security police all around the world. This review asks whether this appellation describes a homogeneous set of phenomena. Compstat was the first program to massively computerize policing. The literature reviewed here follows its fate in the United States and, on a global scale, in France, where the program was imported. The review successively discusses the perspective of managers who were favorable to the program and that of “statactivists,” activists who use statistics, who were opposed to it. Despite the many differences intervened during the importation process, especially in the balance of expertise and publicity, some points seem to be common to both contexts, such as the building of a computer infrastructure, a specific use of the data, and the constructive tensions between the police institution and its critics.”

Keywords: police, management, statactivism, statistics, United States, France

Link to the review

Toward a relational sociology of credit: an exploration of the French literature

Jeanne Lazarus & Laure Lacan (2018)

Socio-Economic Review. Online first.

Abstract. This article aims to describe the sociological studies of credit developed in France over the past dozen years. These studies propose a specific method and approach to address credit, primarily understanding it as a result of social interactions embedded in organizational and legal structures, with consequences on inequalities, social stratification, and individuals’ life experiences. The article is divided into four parts: after an introduction presenting what can be called the French school of the sociology of credit, we present the ‘different voice’ of the French school of the sociology of credit, which analyses the credit market according to a relational approach. The third section examines the construction of social domination at the moment of credit assessment. We then focus on the demand side: borrowers are not atomized individuals but part of households and other local communities. Finally, the conclusion discusses how this French approach to credit may be useful outside of France.

Excerpt. « Credit assessment is a highly heuristic site of observation, enabling an analysis not only of interactions but also of technical and organisational mechanisms and the way they interface with the social dispositions of actors. In the vein of the pragmatic sociology developed by Luc Boltanski and Laurent The´venot (2006), Lazarus (2009) conceptualized the ‘credit test’. The notion of ‘test’ is key in Boltanski and The´venot’s work on worth—as Boltanski and Chiapello later explained (2005, p. 31), it is the moment when worthiness is revealed: ‘The test is always a test of strength. That is to say, it is an event during which beings (. . .) reveal what they are capable of and, more profoundly, what they are made of’. Describing credit applications as tests is a way to measure their social meaning. Very different actors and objects have to be taken into account: borrowers, bank clerks, lenders’ organizations, software, regulations, social norms, wealth inequality, etc. »

Link to the review

Valuing Development, Environment and Conservation: Creating Values that Matter

Sarah Bracking, Aurora Fredriksen, Sian Sullivan, Philip Woodhouse (eds.) (2018)

London: Routledge.

Summary. Policy-makers are increasingly trying to assign economic values to areas such as ecologies, the atmosphere, even human lives. These new values, assigned to areas previously considered outside of economic systems, often act to qualify, alter or replace former non-pecuniary values. Valuing Development, Environment and Conservation looks to explore the complex interdependencies, contradictions and trade-offs that can take place between economic values and the social, environmental, political and ethical systems that inform non-monetary valuation processes.

Using rich empirical material, the book explores the processes of valuation, their components, calculative technologies, and outcomes in different social, ecological and conservation domains. The book gives reasons for why economic calculation tends to dominate in practice, but also presents new insights on how the disobedient materiality of things and the ingenuity of human and non-human agencies can combine and frustrate the dominant economic models within calculative processes.

This book highlights the tension between, on the one hand, a dominant model that emphasises technical and ‘universalising’ criteria, and on the other hand, valuation practice in specific local contexts which is more likely to negotiate criteria that are plural, incommensurable and political. This book is perfect for researchers and students within development studies, environment, geography, politics, sociology and anthropology who are looking for new insights into how processes of valuation take place in the 21st century, and with what consequential outcomes.

Table of Contents

  • Introducing values that matter (Sarah Bracking, Aurora Fredriksen, Sian Sullivan and Philip Woodhouse)
  • Value(s) and valuation in development, conservation and environment (Sarah Bracking, Aurora Fredriksen, Sian Sullivan and Philip Woodhouse)

Part 1: Development

  • Assembling value for money in the UK Department for International Development (Aurora Fredriksen)
  • The value of human life in health systems and social spaces: the HIV/AIDS context in Zimbabwe (Fortunate Machingura)
  • Valuing infrastructure: competing financial and social valuations in the South Durban port expansion (Sarah Bracking and Aurora Fredriksen)

Part 2: Conservation

  • Bonding nature(s)? Funds, financiers and values at the impact investing edge in environmental conservation (Sian Sullivan)
  • Creating conservation values under DEFRA’s biodiversity offsetting pilot and the pragmatics of a using a calculative device (Louise Emily Carver and Sian Sullivan)

Part 3: Environment

  • A crash in value: explaining the decline of the Clean Development Mechanism (Robert Watt)
  • Climate changing civil society: The role of value and knowledge in designing the Green Climate Fund (Jonas Amtoft Bruun)
  • Water values and the negotiation of water use (Phil Woodhouse and Mike Muller)
  • ‘Some are more equal than others’: narratives of scarcity and the outcome of South Africa’s water reform (Rebecca Peters and Phil Woodhouse)

Link to the book

Alternative Food Networks, An Interdisciplinary Assessment

Alessandro Corsi, Filippo Barbera, Egidio Dansero & Cristiana Peano (2018)

Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

About the book. In recent years, Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) have been a key issue both in the scientific community and in public debates. This is due to their profound implications for rural development, local sustainability, and bio-economics. This edited collection discusses what the main determinants of the participation of operators – both consumers and producers – in AFNs are, what the conditions for their sustainability are, what their social and environmental effects are, and how they are distributed geographically. Further discussions include the effect of AFNs in structuring the food chain and how AFNs can be successfully scaled up.

The authors explicitly take an interdisciplinary approach to analyse AFNs from different perspectives, using as an example the Italian region of Piedmont, a particularly interesting case study due to the diffusion of AFNs in the area, as well as due to the fact that it was in this region that the ‘Slow Food’ movement originated.

In this chapter, Corsi, Barbera, Dansero, Orlando, and Peano present the general theoretical framework for the research described in this volume. They discuss the concept of Alternative Food Networks as presented in the literature and the criteria of “alternativeness” on which it is based (length of the chain, local origin, embeddedness), arguing that the main factor that determines whether a chain can be considered alternative is the quality of the exchange relationship, that is, the fact that in AFNs the exchange is not only a question of selling a commodity for money, but produces benefits in itself. They review the current approaches to AFNs in different disciplines—economics, sociology, geography, anthropology, and environmental sciences—and present the approach followed in this book.

This chapter focuses on the analysis of quality conventions in five different food chains, both alternative and conventional ones. In line with quality conventions theory, we consider quality as an emergent social construct of a specific social field where strategic maneuvering takes place. After a descriptive analysis of how quality conventions are connected to consumers’ conventions and chains’ attributes, Barbera, Dagnes, and Di Monaco illustrate the interplay and overlapping of quality conventions in alternative, conventional, and high-end food chains. Specifically, they argue that high-end food retailers mimic AFNs in order to satisfy consumers’ desire for “alternative” quality conventions.

Nadia Tecco, Cristiana Peano: « The Environmental Quality Factors Sought by Consumers in Alternative and Conventional Market Channels » (Pages 119-136)

In alternative as in conventional market channels, environmental sustainability has become increasingly relevant in guiding and orienting consumers’ purchasing behaviour. In the case of fruit and vegetables, where most of the green attributes cannot be verified even after the consumption experience, green consumption takes different context-dependent forms or nuances. This chapter contributes to identifying, analysing, and understanding how green attributes and habits change in farmers’ markets, solidarity purchasing groups, and supermarkets. Our purpose is to discuss the different mechanisms for gathering information about the environmental impact of products and how they can affect consumers’ behaviour in purchasing fruit and vegetables.

Filippo Barbera, Joselle Dagnes, Roberto Di Monaco: « Quality and Price Setting by Producers in AFNs » (Pages 215-243)

This chapter deals with the problem of setting prices and quality conventions among small-scale agro-food producers. Barbera, Dagnes, and Di Monaco first show how producers decide sales prices for their products and, more precisely, how relational mechanisms (e.g., imitation) mix with the moral economy (e.g., legitimate price thresholds) and economic fundamentals (e.g., labor cost, demand levels). They then show how different mechanisms bring about specific disputes and compromises within and between quality conventions on the producers’ side.

Link to the book



Économie de la santé

Philippe Batifoulier, Nicolas Da Silva & Jean-Paul Domin (2018)

Paris : Armand Colin, Cursus : Économie

Résumé. Cet ouvrage présente, dans un langage simple et accessible, les débats économiques sur les questions de santé pour les ouvrir aux débats citoyens. Pour ce faire, il propose un ensemble pluraliste de réflexions relatives à la santé en considérant que l’organisation actuelle du système de santé ne peut se comprendre sans avoir recours à ses trajectoires historiques. Ce manuel s’organise autour d’une logique thématique qui permet de présenter les grands objets de santé : l’hôpital, la médecine de ville, l’industrie pharmaceutique, les assurances privées mais aussi l’émergence des systèmes de santé, la quantification de l’activité de soin, les inégalités, la marchandisation du soin et les rapports entre santé et capitalisme.

Lien vers l’éditeur

Nordic fisheries at a crossroad

Johan Hultman, Filippa Säwe, Pekka Salmi & Jesper Manniche (2018)

Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic Council of Ministers Secretariat, Arbejdsgruppen for Fiskerisamarbeidet (AG-Fisk). Copenhagen: Nordisk Ministerråd

Abstract. Nordic fisheries at a crossroad explores how Nordic small-scale fisheries can develop to promote high value creation and product specialization. By looking at recent developments among small-scale but land-based food producers we suggest specialization and dedication as the main development strategies. The central notion is to break away from the price-competitive globalised fish markets and develop new products or distribution models. To succeed in this, there is a need for substantive and coordinated efforts to bridge the gap between conventional logics and the new development logics, between supply and demand. The vision should be to develop viable and composite markets for high quality and specialty fish products through dedication and specialization. Markets that go beyond the local and reach supermarkets and consumers on a national and international scale.

Excerpt: « An important notion in the agro-food research regarding how to understand the ongoing market restructuring processes is the “quality turn” (Goodman 2003; Harvey et al. 2004). The quality turn describes the shift in quality factors that are demanded by consumers and targeted by producers such as on one side (low) price, standardization and uniformity or on the other exclusive, special and composite dimensions of products such as “organic” and “fair-trade”.
In order to explain and describe such processes of diversification on food markets, several agro-food scholars have also applied convention theory, i.e. models to explain the social construction of the “conventions of quality” that define the functioning of markets for goods and services. Convention theory emphasizes the fact that the functioning and governing principles of any market – even markets for highly standardized and homogenized products – are defined by a set of conventions, constructed and justified through broader social and cultural discourses and practices. Some of these conventions regard the specific product qualities that producers supply and customers demand and are perceived as important for the transaction. […]
Among the many existing theoretical approaches, the Worlds of Production (WOP) model of Storper and Salais (1997) has especially been applied within agro-food studies in order to describe the implications of operating on the basis of alternative quality conventions. In short, the model outlines four different “production worlds” or action frameworks that companies can operate in, which are characterized by varying conditions for competition and use of technology, labour and knowledge.
In a business development perspective, which is in focus here, the model is useful because it clarifies the coexistence and varying logics of very different forms of production and markets, which also may be highly relevant for differentiated policy approaches. The model is particularly useful when applied in a dynamic perspective, as it not only indicates four possible production worlds for companies, but also indicate different directions and opportunities for how companies can develop and differentiate themselves from their competitors. » (p. 29 & 30)

Link to the publication

Download link

Pour un nouvel écosystème de financement. Monde de production, Commun et financement d’impact sociétal

Bernard Paranque (2018)

Résumé. Ce travail s’inscrit dans la poursuite des réflexions critiques engagées sur le paradigme qui définit le rendement financier tel qu’il est utilisé par la profession et théorisé par la communauté académique. Si on veut aller au‐delà des constats pour contribuer à la construction de solutions d’émancipation, d’autres questions sont cruciales : qu’est alors unrendement social alternatif au rendement financier ? Comment l’évaluer et le proposer dans des outils d’allocation de ressources ? Quel dispositif peut permettre d’opérationnaliser une telle démarche ? L’hypothèse de cette recherche est de considérer que l’économie des conventions telle que développée par les travaux de Robert Salais et Michael Storper en termes de mondes de production permet non seulement de comprendre la diversité concrète des formes de coordination des organisations productives mais aussi la dynamique du système productif dans son ensemble dans lequel est inséré le ‘commons’ tel que définie par Ostrom. L’un des enjeux de cette action collective orientée est celui de son financement selon des modalités qui respectent la cohérence du « monde de production » (ou avec le monde cible en cas de changement) et les objectifs/valeurs du collectif humain qui le porte. Dit autrement, comment assurer les porteurs du projet que les critères de financement ne vont pas entrer en contradiction avec leurs propres critères d’impact social et remettre en cause les finalités du collectif ?

Lien vers le texte à télécharger via ResearchGate

There Is No Such Thing as “the Economy”. Economic Phenomena Analysed from a Field-Theoretical Perspective

Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg & Frédéric Lebaron (2018)

Historical Social Research 43 (3), pp. 7-38.

Abstract. This introductory essay to the HSR Special Issue “Economists, Politics, and Society” argues for a strong field-theoretical programme inspired by Pierre Bourdieu to research economic life as an integral part of different social forms. Its main aim is threefold. First, we spell out the very distinct Durkheimian legacy in Bourdieu’s thinking and the way he applies it in researching economic phenomena. Without this background, much of what is actually part of how Bourdieu analysed economic aspects of social life would be overlooked or reduced to mere economic sociology. Second, we sketch the main theoretical concepts and heuristics used to analyse economic life from a field perspective. Third, we focus on practical methodological issues of field-analytical research into economic phenomena. We conclude with a short summary of the basic characteristics of this approach and discuss the main insights provided by the contributions to this special issue.

Keywords: Economic sociology, field, Bourdieu, methodology, discourse, domination, state, economy.

Link to the review

Justice in reality: overcoming moral relativism in Luc Boltanski’s pragmatic sociology of critique

Jacob Didia Jensen  (2018)

Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, Online first.

Abstract. In recent years, the pragmatic sociology of critique developed by French sociologist Luc Boltanski in cooperation with such authors as Laurent Thévenot and Éve Chiapello has received increasing attention within the social sciences. However, critical voices have questioned the theory’s capacity to overcome challenges of moral relativism and to stand as a form of critical sociology in its own right. In this article, I will trace the theory’s development from Boltanski and Thévenot’s early work of the 1980s to Boltanski’s most recent ideas. I will argue that the idea developed by Boltanski and Thévenot that ordinary people should be viewed as metaphysicians capable of distinguishing between what is and what ought to be lays the core foundations of the theory and provides a strong response to the challenge of moral relativism. Furthermore, I will show how Boltanski and Chiapello, in their study of the New Spirit of Capitalism, which is based on this fundamental notion of social actors as metaphysicians, develop a theory of domination and emancipation that can serve as the basis for critical sociology.

Keywords: Luc Boltanski, pragmatic sociology, moral relativism, critical sociology, emancipation, domination, justification, capitalism

Link to the review