Les nouvelles conventions du travail académique ou les reconfigurations du professionnalisme universitaire

Romuald Normand & Marialuisa Villani (2019)

Revue française d’administration publique, N° 169, p. 137-149.

Résumé. L’article examine les modifications les plus marquantes intervenues dans la gouvernance et l’organisation des universités en Europe et leurs effets sur le travail des universitaires. Il explique comment les principes de l’assurance qualité et la Nouvelle Gestion publique génèrent de nouvelles normes et attentes à l’encontre des enseignants-chercheurs à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur de leur université. En présentant les traits fondamentaux de ces nouveaux dispositifs gestionnaires, et leurs conséquences sur l’enseignement et la recherche, il est possible de caractériser de nouvelles conventions du travail académique qui organisent un déplacement d’un professionnalisme de métier à un professionnalisme de l’organisation.

The new conventions of academic work or the reconfigurations of academic professionalism

Abstract. The paper examines the most important changes in the governance and organisation of universities in Europe and their effects on the academic work. It explains how the principles of quality assurance and New Public Management generate new standards and expectations for academics both inside and outside their university. By presenting the fundamental features of these new managerial devices, and their consequences on teaching and research, it is possible to characterise new conventions of academic work that organise a shift from an occupational professionalism to a organisational professionalism.

Extrait : “En même temps qu’ils sont soumis à ces critiques, les universitaires sont confrontés aux nouvelles épreuves instituées par les dispositifs gestionnaires. En reprenant les concepts de Luc Boltanski et d’Eve Chiapello, on peut distinguer deux types d’épreuves :
– des « épreuves de force » parce que les universitaires sont contraints de se conformer à des normes et des instruments qui sont perçus comme étant imposés de l’extérieur. L’institutionnalisation de principes tirés de la nouvelle gestion publique dans les universités a des conséquences inévitables sur leurs activités, la répartition des tâches et leurs responsabilités académiques. Les universitaires doivent s’accommoder avec la mise en place de procédures d’assurance qualité, la définition des critères d’évaluation de la recherche, l’allocation différenciée des ressources, lesquels dépendent aussi d’une décision gestionnaire externe ;
– des « épreuves de justification » en ce sens que les universitaires tendent à justifier leurs actions au regard des critiques qui leur sont adressées et des ajustements à un nouvel ordre institutionnel. Au cours de différents moments de négociation ou de conflits, comme dans leurs interactions avec les pairs et les dirigeants universitaires, ils mobilisent différentes catégories de jugement pour mettre en valeur leurs actions. Ces justifications sont multiples et orientées par une diversité de principes de justice plus ou moins favorables aux transformations de l’organisation universitaire.

[…] Les « épreuves » auxquelles font face les universitaires correspondent à de nouvelles conventions du travail académique qui expriment les attentes et les normes de l’institution universitaire. Elles prennent naissance dans un discours modernisateur et gestionnaire tout en s’articulant à différents principes de justice, décrits par Luc Boltanski et Laurent Thévenot dans leur modèle des cités (Boltanski, Thévenot, 1991). Ces conventions permettent d’éclairer le passage d’un professionnalisme de métier à un professionnalisme de l’organisation, lié au développement de la nouvelle gestion publique et aux nouvelles formes de production des connaissances scientifiques. Elles résultent aussi de compromis relatifs à un ordre négocié entre les universitaires et leur institution, selon des règles mutuellement acceptées, qui peuvent faire aussi l’objet de dénonciations (pour une présentation plus développée cf. Normand, 2016).

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A Sustainable Review of Conventions between Economic Actors

Pierre-Charles Pupion (2020)

In: Eric Milliot & Sophie Nivoix (eds.), Economic Transition and International Business – Managing Through Change and Crises in the Global Economy, New York: Routledge, pp. 39-49

Abstract. The economic convention theory approach gives insight into the genesis and the deepening of the financial crisis. This crisis is coming from mature countries such as the United States; it has impacted countries such as Russia on the way to their growth. This chapter highlights the failure of these coordination mechanisms, so-called conventions necessary for the functioning of the now globalized banking sector. The international rating convention allows the various players to assess the risks of issuers of securities through ratings issued by rating agencies. The collapse of this international rating convention in mature countries was accompanied in the main places by a collapse in financial markets and a generalization of distrust. This study shows that high-growth countries were dependent on financial conventions that were largely created in the United States. They had difficulties in establishing new growth-friendly convention after the collapse of these conventions. The direct financing from the state has emerged in Russia as an effective lever for action for responding to the collapse of the conventions.

Excerpts. “The economic convention theory approach gives insight into the genesis and the deepening of the financial crisis. This crisis is coming from mature countries such as the United States; it has impacted countries such as Russia on the way to their growth. This chapter highlights the failure of these coordination mechanisms, so called conventions necessary for the functioning of the now globalized banking sector. The international rating convention allows the various players to assess the risks of issuers of securities through ratings issued by rating agencies. The collapse of this international rating convention in mature countries was accompanied in the main places by a collapse in financial markets and a generalization of distrust. This study shows that high-growth countries were dependent on financial conventions that were largely created in the United States. They had difficulties in establishing new growth-friendly convention after the collapse of these conventions. The direct financing from the state has emerged in Russia as an effective lever for action for responding to the collapse of the conventions. […] Originally, the economic theory of conventions seeks to solve the problems of economic coordination posed to classical theory. These agreements apply to all the unspeakable problems of coordinating social life such as the management of the phone break or the choice of the dress code for a professional interview. The economic convention is understood as an implicit acceptance of rules of thought or conduct, socially constructed and not imposed by nature, which allows the individual to know how he should behave in given situations, without private calculation. An agent seeking to answer to a specific question may refer to the convention as a model of answer. The convention does not allow him to objectively justify his choice, but it provides the answers needed to overcome his problem. A convention is, according to Gomez (1994), a procedure of collective resolution of the problems characterized by uncertainty and undecidable decisions. A convention emerges as a regular process intended to provide a system of rules giving a solution to the problem. The conventions are arbitrary, for the outside observer, in the sense that there are other possibilities for coordination. The economic theory of conventions has developed two branches called “strategic” and “interpretative” (Batifoulier, 2001). […] The interpretative approach is an extension of the analysis of Weber (1971). This author refers to rules of conduct subject to social judgment, which he distinguishes from custom, habits and law. The convention is also called common sense (Dupuy, 1989), system of knowledge (Salais, 1989) or collective cognitive device. It corresponds, according to Favereau (1989), to a set of rules systems to which individuals refer or conform for his behavior. This approach identifies two levels of convention: conventional rules and evaluation models. The first are simply rules of behavior that allow individuals to cooperate (individuals have divergent interests) or to coordinate themselves (individuals have common interests). However, any rule is incomplete and cannot provide a turnkey solution. Rules need evaluation models that allow interpreting them. The evaluation models are at a higher level; if the rules act at the level of the behaviors, the models of evaluation are ways of the coordination of representations and judgments on the behaviors. To follow a convention it is necessary to follow a rule at the first level and to seek its meaning at the second level. Individuals with a procedural rationality (Biencourt et al., 2001) need to judge the collective in which they are included. […] The rule only makes sense if it is shared by a collective. To follow a rule is to engage in common action by mobilizing values. The choice among several conventions is no longer arbitrary; it is based on a common world supported by certain values and ideas of justice. Boltanski and Thevenot (1991) provide six models of judgment called “cities” (Boltanski and Chiapello (1999) add the city by project) which describe the representations of the agents. To make a judgment on a rule, an individual will mobilize an argument that comes from one of these six cities. As Petit (2014) recalls us, the aforementioned authors study the relations between the different worlds and the resolutions of inherent conflicts. They identify three forms of resolution: the prevalence of one order of worth of worthiness, the arrangement where everyone stays on their positions and finally the compromise.

Link to the book ( Routledge )

Link to the chapter (books.google.fr)

L’éducation aux valeurs civiques, comment comparer? Une réflexion méthodologique à partir du cas franco-allemand

Claude Proeschel, Andrea Szukala & Reinhold Hedtke (2019)

Éducation et sociétés, 42, pp. 31-50.

Résumé. À partir du terrain de recherches que constitue la comparaison franco-allemande, cet article mène une réflexion méthodologique sur les conditions de possibilité d’une comparaison dans le domaine de l’éducation civique et morale. Une grande partie des travaux de comparaison se réfère aux modèles nationaux de citoyenneté, d’éducation ou encore de pédagogie. Face aux évolutions concrètes de l’éducation civique, ils révèlent des limites heuristiques dans leur capacité à appréhender et à comparer les phénomènes concrets. L’analyse des possibilités ouvertes par les approches en termes de convention d’éducation civique et morale, dont le point de départ n’est plus l’exposé de différences, mais l’élément commun des situations et pratiques dans les écoles allemandes et françaises, permet alors de proposer des stratégies de recherche comparatiste fondées sur l’approche conventionnaliste.

Educating civil values: how to compare? A methodological reflection on the basis of a Franco-German case

Abstract. On the basis of a field of research based on a Franco-German comparison, this article reflects methodologically on the conditions of possibilities when comparing the field of civic and moral education. A large part of the comparison work refers to national models of citizenship, education or even pedagogy. Faced with concrete evolutions in civil education, they reveal the heuristic limits in their capacity to understand and compare concrete phenomena. Analysing possibilities opened up by approaches in terms of civic and moral convention, of which the starting point is no longer exposing differences, but the common element of situations and practices in German and French schools therefore makes it possible to propose comparatist research strategies based on the conventionalist approach.

Extrait. “Une approche néo-pragmatique de l’éducation conceptualisée selon l’économie des conventions fournit le cadre théorique et méthodologique, les concepts, les méthodes et les preuves empiriques permettant de surmonter les dichotomies connues et influentes du social (Diaz-Bone 2011) : analyse micro ou macro, individualisme ou holisme, rapport entre capacité d’action et structuralisme. S’appuyer sur le pragmatisme est pertinent en éducation à la citoyenneté comparée, domaine où des acteurs intégrés et compétents cherchent à stabiliser les situations dans lesquelles ils évoluent (Dodier 1993), à parvenir à une compréhension commune, normalement par le biais d’un compromis. Pour ce faire, ils usent d’une pluralité limitée de valeurs et de justifications et d’un assemblage d’objets tangibles connexes, pour justifier leurs revendications et se coordonner dans des situations incertaines ou contestées (Boltanski & Thévenot 1996, Dodier 1993). L’analyse comparative de l’éducation civique est en elle-même une approche multi-niveaux qui place la compréhension des situations, la méthodologie pragmatiste du situationnalisme et des interdépendances au centre de la recherche.

La notion de situation, concept central, met l’accent sur la difficile coordination des acteurs lorsqu’elle est déstabilisée par l’incertitude, la critique et le conflit résultant de la pluralité et des contradictions des justifications. Cette pluralité génère de multiples situations pratiques, mais fournit en même temps un nombre limité de justifications et d’objets matériels acceptables pour élaborer une interprétation commune et construire un compromis face aux problèmes de coordination et au conflit, même s’il est souvent temporaire (Boltanski & Thévenot 2006).

La sociologie des conventions fournit une typologie empirique, cohérente, des logiques de coordination collective. Elle distingue le monde domestique, le marché et le monde industriel, celui de l’inspiration, le monde du renom et le monde civique et, plus récemment, les deux mondes écologiste et connexionniste (Boltanski et al. 1999, 369-373 ; Thévenot, Moody & Lafaye 2013, 241, 256-257). Cette approche procure à la recherche comparative sur l’éducation civique et la citoyenneté un outil théorique et empiriquement approprié. Les situations sont comprises comme “des arrangements complexes ou des constellations d’objets, de modèles cognitifs, problèmes (coordinations à réaliser), d’arrangements institutionnels, de personnes et de concepts” (Diaz-Bone 2011, 49). Une analyse conventionnaliste d’une situation reconstruit la pratique complexe de l’interaction entre acteurs en coordination et les conventions et examine “les logiques que les acteurs appliquent pour se coordonner dans le processus de production” (Diaz-Bone 2011, 54). En éducation à la citoyenneté, les produits ainsi réalisés renvoient par exemple aux programmes, aux différents matériels, aux unités d’enseignement, examens, certificats et labels d’établissements ou encore aux accords de coopération avec les parties prenantes. Les conventions désignent des logiques supra-individuelles partagées utilisées dans une situation par des acteurs pour coordonner leurs actions et celles des autres, ainsi que pour évaluer ces actions, d’autres individus et objets (Diaz-Bone 2015, 334).

Surtout, une approche conventionnaliste met en évidence l’imbrication des acteurs avec l’environnement matériel d’une situation et les objets connexes. Ceux-ci jouent un rôle constitutif dans la capacité d’action, la coordination et l’évaluation des situations d’enseignement (Dodier 1993, Throssell 2015), qu’ils contribuent à stabiliser. Pour le cours d’éducation civique, peuvent être cités : cartes murales, drapeaux (inter)nationaux, manuels et livres du maître, tests nationaux, conceptions locales d’excursion ou de programmation scolaire, concours pour la démocratie, applications de conseils aux électeurs, prix pour l’engagement civique, etc. (Hedtke, Proeschel & Szukala 2017, 2019).”

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Green Capital Accumulation: Business and Sustainability. Management in a World of Global Value Chains

Stefano Ponte (2019)

New Political Economy. Online first.

Abstract. Tackling climate change and other environmental crises entails a critical reflection on processes and outcomes that are behind sustainability management by business. Sustainability has become a commodity itself, to be traded, bought, sold and managed like all others. How lead firms in global value chains (GVCs) address sustainability issues has become a key competitive element and a source of value creation and capture – facilitating a process of ‘green capital accumulation’. Sustainability management is emerging as a fourth key capitalist dynamic in addition to cost minimisation, flexibility and speed – leading corporations to devise new spatial, organisational and technological ‘fixes’ to ensure continued capital accumulation. Public actors and civil society groups can address this situation, but their strategies need to be informed by the daily practices, power relations and governance structures of GVCs. Sustainability orchestration by these actors is more likely to succeed when: it employs appropriate combinations of directive and facilitative instruments that reinforce each other; improves issue visibility; provides incentives that facilitate the alignment of private and public sector interests; and leverages specific pressure points at key nodes of GVCs.

Keywords: Business, sustainability, global value chains, capital accumulation

Link to the review

Business, Power and Sustainability in a World of Global Value Chains

Stefano Ponte (2019)

New York: Zed Books.

About the book. The interaction of sustainability governance and global value chains has crucial implications the world over. When it comes to sustainability the last decade has witnessed the birth of hybrid forms of governance where business, civil society and public actors interact at different levels, leading to a focus on concepts of legitimacy within multi-stakeholder initiatives. Based on more than fifteen years of theoretical engagement and field research, Business, Power and Sustainability in a World of Global Value Chains draws from both labor-intensive value chains, such as in the agro-food sector (coffee, wine, fish, biofuels, palm oil), and from capital-intensive value chains such as in shipping and aviation, to discuss how sustainability governance can be best designed, managed and institutionalized in today’s world of global value chains (GVCs).

Table of contents:

Introduction: Business, Sustainability and the Global Economy

  1. What We Know About Sustainability Governance
  2. Power in Global Value Chains
  3. Sustainability, Power and Governance in the Wine, Coffee and Biofuels Global Value Chains
  4. Value Creation and Capture through Economic and Environmental Upgrading
  5. Orchestrating Sustainability

Conclusion: “Just Sustainabilities” in a World of Global Value Chains

Link to the book

Big Data et pratiques de GRH

Clotilde Coron (2019)

Management & Data Science, 3 (1). Open access.

“La notion de « Big Data » est devenue courante. Elle renvoie dans le langage commun à la fois à des caractéristiques des données (volume, mise à jour en temps réel…) et à des manières d’utiliser ces données. Peu à peu, cette notion de Big Data irrigue toutes les sphères et fonctions des organisations, entre autres le marketing, et, plus récemment, la GRH (Gestion des ressources humaines : gestion du personnel au sens large, incluant par exemple le recrutement, l’évaluation, la promotion, la mobilité des salariés). Ainsi, la presse généraliste et spécialisée s’intéresse de façon croissante à ce que l’utilisation des Big Data, ou données massives, change dans des domaines très variés. Une recherche Europresse renvoie ainsi 55 518 résultats pour les mots-clés « Big Data » sur l’année 2017, contre seulement 21 dix ans auparavant, en 2007. De la même façon, alors que sur l’année 2007, on trouve 780 références pour les mots-clés « algorithme » ou « algorithm », on en trouve 119 477 pour 2017. La notion d’algorithme renvoie dans son acception première à l’automatisation d’une suite d’opérations statistiques ou informatiques, mais elle est devenue dans le cadre de l’émergence du Big Data une sorte de mot-valise renvoyant à toutes les opérations nécessaires pour produire du sens à partir des données. […] La notion de dispositifs de gestion ou de GRH a été abondamment traitée dans la littérature académique (De Vaujany, 2006 ; Boussard, 2009). Elle renvoie à un ensemble organisé d’éléments ayant une finalité de gestion. Dans d’autres travaux, la notion d’outils de gestion est privilégiée (Chiapello & Gilbert, 2012; Ghaffari, Misset, Pavis & Ponnet, 2013), comme plus englobante que celle de dispositif. […] Cet objectif paraît aussi relativement nouveau et en opposition aux discours historiques sur la statistique, longtemps présentée comme une science visant à comprendre des phénomènes passés ou présents (Desrosières, 2008a, 2008b).”

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Le « Big Data RH » : vers une nouvelle convention de quantification ?

Clotilde Coron (2019)

Annales des Mines – Gérer et comprendre, N° 137, p. 27-38

Résumé. La mobilisation du Big Data dans différentes sphères de la société modifie aujourd’hui nos façons de consommer, de nous informer, de prendre des décisions. Cependant, peu de travaux s’intéressent à l’influence du Big Data sur la manière d’utiliser les chiffres et plus généralement sur la quantification dans les Ressources humaines. En mobilisant le cadre théorique de la sociologie de la quantification, notre travail cherche à identifier si et dans quelle mesure l’utilisation du Big Data contribue à créer de nouvelles conventions de quantification dans les RH. Pour cela, nous nous fondons sur de l’ethnographie organisationnelle grâce à une immersion longue en tant que chef de projet Big Data RH d’une grande entreprise, complétée par huit entretiens semi-directifs. Nous montrons qu’en effet le Big Data contribue à créer une nouvelle convention de quantification en RH, reposant sur une approche prédictive et non plus explicative. Cette convention se caractérise par quatre paradigmes : exhaustivité du modèle, corrélation, personnalisation et amélioration continue.

Big RH Data: Towards a new convention on quantification?

Abstract. The use of big data in various spheres of society is modifying how we consume, obtain information and make decisions. However few studies have focused on how big data affects the way we use statistics and, in particular, quantify human resources (HR). Based on the theoretical framework of the “sociology of quantification”, this research seeks to examine whether, and how much, using big data contributes to designing new conventions on quantification in human resource management. It involved a case study that, conducted during a long period of immersion as the head of a firm’s “Big Data HR Project”, was followed up with eight semi-directive interviews. Big data contributed to creating a new convention about HR quantification based on a predictive (and no longer explanatory) approach. This convention has four paradigms: the model’s completeness, correlation, personalization and ongoing improvements.

Lien vers l’article/Link to the article

“Oh! Teleworking!” Regimes of engagement and the lived experience of female Spanish teleworkers

Ana Gálvez, Francisco Tirado & Jose M. Alcaraz (2019)

Business Ethics, Online first.

Abstract. This research explores female teleworkers’ domestic and work experiences in their day‐to‐day lives. We draw on focus groups and interviews carried out in Spain and use the pragmatic regimes of engagement framework developed by Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot to analyse them. Their model further develops contributions from post‐humanist discourse (specially from G. Deleuze, F. Guattari and A. Badiou) and from the so‐called “empirical ethics”. This allows us to explore important issues about the temporal‐spatial and material worlds that shape the daily lives of these women, their perceived agential capacities, and their moral and ethical considerations regarding telework. Our paper contributes to the existing critically oriented (qualitative, interpretative) body of work that examines teleworkers’ lived experience by providing and illustrating important clues for examining ethical issues on work–life balance and gender roles.

Link to the review

No price without value: Towards a theory of value and price

Dave Elder-Vass (2019)

Cambridge Journal of Economics. Online first, pp. 1-14.

Abstract. “The relationship between value and price, a central focus of classical political economy, has fallen into the shadows of neglect in contemporary economics. This paper builds on a critical realist framework and findings from the economics of conventions and the sociology of valuation to develop a theory of value that returns to the relation between value and price. It argues that value is best understood as a view of the price that something ought to exchange at, and that these views are shaped normatively by a host of lay theories of value and the groups and organisations that advance them. Through their effects on our assessments of value, these theories also influence the determination of prices. Although prices in open systems are determined by many interacting factors, lay theories of value play a crucial role in the process.

Keywords: Conventions, Lay theories of value, Price, Value, Valuation

Link to the review

Markets from meaning: quality uncertainty and the intersubjective construction of value

Jens Beckert (2019)

Cambridge Journal of Economics, Online first.

Abstract. This article explores price formation in markets where quality cannot be based on intrinsic characteristics of the good exchanged. In such markets, quality uncertainty is not an information problem as described by Akerlof in the market for lemons model. Instead, defining quality is a problem of contingent assessments that are arrived at intersubjectively through discursive practices and mutual observation of market participants. Quality is endogenous to the market process. Institutions and conventions play an important role, much as they do in the market for lemons model, but their function is to generate confidence rather than trust. Prices emerge in such markets from a combination of intersubjectively established quality assessments, institutions and existing structural characteristics of the market. I call this the markets from meaning model, which I develop based on the art market and expand to capital investments and financial speculation.

Link to the review (Open access)

The Contested Moralities of Markets

Simone Schiller-Merkens & Philip Balsiger (eds.)(2019)
Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 63.
Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited
https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/doi/10.1108/S0733-558X201963

Philip Balsiger & Simone Schiller-Merkens: Moral struggles in and around markets (chap. 1), pp. 3-26.

ABSTRACT
“Moral struggles in and around markets abound in contemporary societies where markets have become the dominant form of economic coordination. Reviewing research on morality and markets across disciplinary boundaries, this introductory essay suggests that a moral turn can currently be observed in scholarship, and draws a direct connection to recent developments in the sociology of morality. The authors introduce the chapters in the present volume “The Contested Moralities of Markets.” In doing so, the authors distinguish three types of moral struggles in and around markets: struggles around morally contested markets where the exchange of certain goods on markets is contested; struggles within organizations that are related to an organization’s embeddedness in complex institutional environments with competing logics and orders of worth; and moral struggles in markets where moral justifications are mobilized by a variety of field members who act as moral entrepreneurs in their striving for moralizing the economy. Finally, the authors highlight three properties of moral struggles in contemporary markets: They (1) arise over different objects, (2) constitute political struggles, and (3) are related to two broader social processes: market moralization and market expansion. The introduction concludes by discussing some of the theoretical approaches that allow particular insights into struggles over morality in markets. Collectively, the contributions in this volume advance our current understanding of the contested moralities of markets by highlighting the sources, processes, and outcomes of moral struggles in and around markets, both through tracing the creation, reproduction, and change of underlying moral orders and through reflecting the status and power differentials, alliances, and political strategies as well as the general cultural, social, and political contexts in which the struggles unfold.”

https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/S0733-558X20190000063009/full/html

 

Nadai, Eva/Canonica, Alan: The Moralization of Labor: Establishing the Social Responsibility of Employers for Disabled Workers (chap. 5), pp. 87-106.

ABSTRACT

As a “fictitious commodity” (Polanyi), that cannot be separated from the human being who is its owner, labor has a special moral significance. However, this moral quality is not a given but must be asserted in struggles over the value of labor. With the example of disabled workers in Switzerland, this chapter examines the moralization of labor as a means to revalue a category of workers who range far down the labor queue. Moralization mediates the tension between the normative societal goal of inclusion for disabled people and the freedom of employers to select the most “productive” workers. Drawing on the theoretical approach of the Economics of Convention the chapter analyzes the valuation frames proposed by economic and welfare state actors in political debates over the establishment of the Swiss disability insurance and the role of employers regarding occupational integration. A core concept used in negotiations of the value of disabled labor in the public arena and within individual businesses is the “social responsibility” of employers. Historically, employers’ associations successfully promoted the liberal principle of voluntary responsibility to prevent state interference in the labor market. In contrast, disability insurance argues predominantly within the market and the industrial convention to “sell” its clientele in the context of employer campaigns and case-related interactions with employers. Only recently, both sides started to reframe the employment of disabled people as a win–win affair, which would reconcile economic self-interest and the common good.”
https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/S0733-558X20190000063013/full/html

 

Sarah Lenz and Sighard Neckel (2019): Moral self-commitment and economic expansion (chap. 7), pp. 127-148.

ABSTRACT

“German ethical banks have experienced a significant increase in customers, deposits, and lending. They aim to establish a fairer banking system. But the simultaneous pursuit of social, ecological, and economic goals leaves them vulnerable to conflicting orders of worth. The authors examine the normative foundations that ethical bank employees refer to when they describe their everyday practices and identify the specific problems that arise from negotiating between moral principles and economic demands to provide insights into the impacts, constraints, and paradoxes of normatively oriented business practices. Drawing on the theoretical framework of the sociology of critique, the authors assume that moral categories, social processes of interpretation, and justification are an essential part of markets. Ethical banking is characterized by the need to meet both market-limiting and market-expanding requirements, and this particularly becomes contentious when dealing with economic growth. By analyzing ethical banks’ freely accessible documents, the authors first outline the institutional guidelines. In a second step, the authors analyze 27 qualitative interviews with employees of ethical banks to gain insights into everyday lending practices and action-guiding normative orientations. The goal of this chapter is to examine the tensions that may arise from applying normative guidelines under the condition of increasing economic requirements and to disclose the way that ethical banks negotiate between mechanisms of expansion and limitation. The analysis of this chapter points out a paradox of ethical banking: due to the banks’ economic expansion, investments corresponding to their ethical commitments tend to become a luxury they cannot afford.”
https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/S0733-558X20190000063015/full/html

 

Accounting for crime in the neoliberal world

Alessandro Stefano Ala & Irvine Lapsley (2019).

In: British Accounting Review. Online first, pp. 1-41.

Cover image The British Accounting Review

ABSTRACT
“This paper examines the recent European public sector accounting reform which introduces controversial calculative practices for the recognition of criminal activities in national accounts. Namely, accounting for unlawful drug production and drug trafficking, and accounting for prostitution. Challenging the presumption of accounting neutrality, this study analyses this “accounting for crime” policy from a semantic and an epistemological view point as a cognitive system of creation of meaning and formation of knowledge. The analysis reveals the polyhedrality of neoliberalism, and the way it exerts its influence on society through its circuitous discursive process of social construction and transfiguration of reality which flows crosswise its multiple dimensions. At the macro level this policy operates as a ‘hegemonic project’: It bonds together the economic and political interests of different ‘historical blocs’, making the implementation of these practices a matter of ‘common sense’. At the micro level this policy functions as an ‘apparatus of governmentality’: It encapsulates the cognition of crime within a panoptic logic of economic rationality, transforming its outcome into a contributory value of a country’s prosperity. In this context, this study outlines the centrality of accounting practice as a pivotal tool of the neoliberal ideology: It permits extending the realm of calculative methodologies to the commodification of human weaknesses, addictions, and sexuality, in a rational process of accounting to balance the supply and demand of sex and drugs, between prostitutes and clients, pushers and addicts.
Keywords: Government accounting, crime, accounting neutrality, ideology, neoliberalism and accounting, neoliberal discourse hegemony, governmentality
EXCERPT
“1. INTRODUCTION
The importance of accounting in society is accentuated by its potential for quantifying many aspects of contemporary life. The emergence of new calculative practices is a matter worthy of analysis due to their aptitude for translating matters of quantification into issues of the social order (Miller, 2001, Vollmer, 2003). Albeit accounting has an ‘aura of neutrality and objectivity’ (Funnel, 1998), its calculative practices are not an instrument of neutral depiction of reality. Accounting mediates the comprehension of the external reality through the use of ‘conventions’ (Diaz-Bone and Salais, 2011, 2012) which are ‘arbitrary, political and moral in nature’ (Chiapello, 2017, p. 57). In this sense, the calculative practices of accounting can be better explained as a cognitive tool through which some aspects of reality are mentally classified, understood and represented. […] Foucault theorises ‘neoliberal governmentality’ as a system of social construction of epistemological mechanisms necessary to channel the individual cognition of reality within a panoptic logic of economic rationality in a manner which is suitable to the pursuit of specific political and economic interests (in Foucauldian parlance these are called ‘apparatuses of conduct of conducts’). The use of Foucauldian discourse analysis implies, therefore, examining the calculative methodologies for the computation of the outcome of crime (and its corresponding representation in financial reports) through this theoretical lens to explain ‘the effects of the conventions incorporated into accounting’ (Chiapello, 2017, p. 57). In this light, in the discourse analysis the focus is on the way the policy of “accounting for crime” fulfils the objectives of ‘framing and education’, i.e. it ‘describe[s] the world from a specific standpoint and teaches users to see the world from that perspective’, and in the ‘construction of the world’, i.e. it brings ‘things into existence that would not exist without them’ (Chiapello, 2017, p. 57).” (p. 2/7-8)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0890838919300526

From Myths to Markets: Power, Institutions, and the Reification of Imagined Histories

Elizabeth Carter (2019)

In: European Journal of Sociology. Online first, pp. 1-26.

ABSTRACT

“This article posits that institutionalized mythologies can create comparative production advantages. Myths shape collective identity, mobilize actors, and fundamentally reshape production dynamics. Myths are institutionalized in market rules, regulations and structures, leading to the reification of the myth. The myth functions as if it is true, not because it is true, but because it shapes the rules of production. Yet without the initial myth, specific production incentives—and even their institutional comparative advantages—would not exist. My theory integrates approaches from modernist historians (“imagined communities”) and economic sociologists (“imagined futures”) to explain how myths (“imagined histories”) shape contemporary market outcomes, using the example of the French wine market. This argument contributes to the historical institutionalist approach, which focuses on the historical power dynamics between competing groups and the present-day social and market consequence of their institutionalized solutions”

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/european-journal-of-sociology-archives-europeennes-de-sociologie/article/from-myths-to-markets-power-institutions-and-the-reification-of-imagined-histories/4EE4AB90E69E4920CF7FF87050A21D7A

Plurality of values in mHealth: Conventions and ethical dilemmas

Valeska Cappel & Karolin Eva Kappler (2019)

In: Bächle, Thomas Christian/Wernick, Alina (eds.): The futures of eHealth. Social, ethical and legal challenges. Berlin: Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), pp. 31-37.

https://www.hiig.de/publication/the-futures-of-ehealth-social-ethical-and-legal-challenges/

12cover

PRESENTATION

The pragmatic economics of conventions offers new insights into mHealth, providing a deeper understanding of current ethical problems. Valeska Cappel and Karolin Kappler focus on mobile health applications and shed light on potential lines of conflict in their development, implementation and diffusion by comparing the underlying conventions, investments in form and practices of different stakeholders.
Keywords: economics of convention, mHealth, plurality of values, materialities, ethical dilemma
Download link: https://www.hiig.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Ehealth2040_web-1.pdf

Quality conventions in the exported Finnish master’s degree programme in teacher education in Indonesia

Henna Juusola & Pekka Räihä (2019)
In: Higher Education

ABSTRACT
“In recent higher education research, quality in education export action has been explored from the perspective of traditional education export countries such as the UK and USA. However, less attention is given to novice education export providers that rely on different educational traditions. In this article, we explore quality of education as it is done in one exported Finnish master’s degree programme in teacher education in Indonesia. Our theoretical premise is based on the convention theory that relies on pragmatic sociology. The empirical data consist of 16 semi-structured students’ and staff members’ interviews gathered between the years 2016 and 2017 in Finland and in Indonesia. The results of this study stress the plurality of the quality factors that indicate the expectations by the students and the staff members, but also the priorities of the providers as to what is essential in exported degree-based education. From the perspective of convention theory, these considerations emphasize that the successful implementation of the exported master’s degree programme in teacher education is based on the professional-academic convention (as research-based teacher education) that together with the civic-domestic convention (as societal impact, local traditions and Finnish approach to pedagogy) influenced the content of the educational programme through personal interaction.”
Keywords: Education export, Quality of education, Finnish teacher education, Convention theory, Quality conventions

 

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10734-019-00430-3