Archives de catégorie : Séminaires & conférences / Seminars & workshops

Production, Retailing and Consumption of Food. Commodity Chains before and after Covid-19

Conference 16./17.06.2022, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Organizers: Elmar Kulke, Linda Hering and Jakob Engel (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany), Nina Baur and Lara Espeter (Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)

Aims of the Conference

During the last decades, global economic interactions have been strongly influenced by the development of global commodity chains (GCC) which are linking different steps of production, transportation/logistics, retailing and consumption at different places all over the world. In the beginning, only manufacturing industries were organized on a global level. Today more and more fresh food, vegetables or flowers are coming from new-established export-oriented farming in countries of the Global South. All in all, in a globalizing world, how these global commodity chains are organized and develop is of great importance for the functioning of the economy and society. This is especially true for agricultural production in general and the production of fresh produce in particular which are especially sensitive sectors both for producers and consumers: While agriculture is only a minor economic sector in highly industrialized countries, in the Global South, agricultural production remains an important sector. Agriculture thus remains an important source of the livelihoods for large parts of the world population. Regional-, supra-regional and export-linkages open farmer reliable incomes and enable them to invest in improving the production; but they also have to obey social and ecological standards defined by retailing and consumption. However, the system also makes farmers vulnerable, if they face sudden changes through competition with new developing production clusters or external shocks like Corona. For highbrow consumers in the Global North, fresh produce such as flowers or exotic fresh fruit served out of season have been a source of distinction for a long time. More importantly, for not-so-well-off consumers, food is especially sensitive because eating is not only a necessity but in many parts of the world, poverty is still linked to lack of food. Even in Europe, the experience and fear of starvation is deeply engrained in cultural memory, as for long periods of European history, everyday lives were characterized by lack of food and famines. Before the Corona crisis, this seemed a thing of the past: Modern-day consumers experienced food and other fresh produce as a commodity like any other to be bought securely on a regular basis all over the year in the local stores without having to worry about their origins and availability. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought this seeming security to an immediate end: The sudden and ongoing lock-downs and restrictions of transport have shown how fragile and vulnerable global commodity chains in general and commodity chains of fresh agricultural products in particular are. Understanding how commodity chains, logistics, transport and communication for agricultural fresh products are organized and have been re-organized during the last decades, as well as comprehending the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on commodity chains thus is of utmost importance. Such analyses of should not only be based on theoretical considerations but also on empirical evidence and more detailed analyses. The conference will provide this empirical evidence. The main objective of the conference is to analyze how production, retailing and consumption of food interlock as well as how external shocks induce the (re-)organization of the commodity chains for agricultural fresh-products. We will particularly analyze the Covid-19 -down-induced) and the long-term (induced by attempts to establish of reliable and robust chains) positive and negative effects both on 2 the organization of commodity chains and the individual actors of the chain. We will inspect how the spatial distribution of commodity chains interacts with actors on the actor levels by combining the economic geography approaches of global value chains (GVC) and global production networks (GPN) with the economic sociological approaches of convention theory and world systems analysis. The Papers address one of the following questions:

  1. How were commodity chains organized and spatially structured before the Covid-19 crisis and what challenges did they face during the crisis?
  2. What are the driving forces of these changes? That is: Who are powerful actors in the chain(consumers, retailers, intermediaries, agricultural producers, policy-makers) and where are they located? Who acted when, why and with what effects as a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis?
  3. What short-term effects (during the crisis) and long-term effects (after the crisis) does this have on the spatial organization of the chain and on the actors of the chain? What effect does the organization?

Please register until 10.06.22. Contact:

Umkämpfte Klassifikationen. Kultursoziologische Perspektiven auf Bewertungskonflikte

Contested Classifications. Cultural Sociological Perspectives on Evaluation Conflicts

Call for Papers

Sektionsveranstaltung der Sektion Kultursoziologie auf dem 41. DGS-Kongress 2022 in Bielefeld. Organisatorinnen und Organisatoren: Oliver Berli (Köln), Uta Karstein (Leipzig), Hilmar Schäfer (Berlin).

Section event of the Cultural Sociology Section at the 41st DGS Congress 2022 in Bielefeld. Organizers: Oliver Berli (Cologne), Uta Karstein (Leipzig), Hilmar Schäfer (Berlin).

Deadline: 28 February 2022.

Economics of convention all over

“Kolloquium Sozialforschung” at University of Lucerne

Guy Schwegler (Lucerne)

As in previous years (see here), Rainer Diaz-Bone and Kenneth Horvath presented in the autumn semester 2021 a bi-weekly colloquium at the University of Lucerne. The format discusses current social scientific questions both in research as well as in professional practice. The focus often is on methodological and methodological challenges, innovations, and problems, while covering a broad spectrum of empirical research. In past editions and their various presentations, the theoretical framework of the economics of convention (EC) had represented a reoccurring, but not a central feature. This changed for the colloquiums 2021 edition: All presenters referred to the neo-pragmatist approach in some way and highlighted aspects like methodological situationalism, qualification of people and objects, statistical chains to produce data, reducing uncertainty via conventions, or the actors’ critical competence in situations.

Miriam Kutt: Closing one’s Eyes

Miriam Kutt ready for her presentation

For the colloquium’s first meeting, Miriam Kutt from the University of Lucerne presented methodological considerations from her PHD project. For said project, she has been interested in stigmatizations around mental illnesses and people’s ability to act in relation to a possible stigmatization. With regards to this subject, both the societal consideration of agency and its theoretical conceptualization seem to collapse in an interesting manner.

Kutt explained that that despite substantial efforts in Western societies to de-stigmatize issues like mental illness, the affected people both are experiencing and expecting stigmatization. As a result, affected people often try to avoid any conflicts that might result from a stigma to handle their daily life. Within this societal reality, Kutt’s project wants to grasp the situations that foster or prevent the stigmatized people to act in a situation: When does one mention a mental illness issue in a job interview? When does one call out the refusal of a rental agreement as unjust, because said refusal may motivated by stigma?

As a theoretical framework for her project, Kutt put forward a combination of the EC perspective and Foucauldian discourse theory. The former theoretical perspective helps to clarify the grammars around stigmatization and offers a way to analyze when actors switch from a more public justification via the regime of conventions to more individual regimes like plan, familiarity, or exploration. This perspective therefore helps to grasp both calling out unjust behavior as well as ignoring it, i.e. “closing one’s eyes”.[1] Discourse theory is a way to clarify what and how something becomes say-able and/or do-able. In combination, both help to address the question how a competence and an agency of actors are enabling a certain situation and vice versa.

The project’s research interest represents a challenge from a methodological point: The situations Kutt is interested in—i.e. where people avoid conflicts in relation to their stigma—are hard to come across as a researcher. And an artificial construction of such situations would raise ethical issues. Asking people about the subject (be it in interviews or via a survey), however, would neglect social desirability and that the conflict avoidance could also happen unconsciously. As a possible solution, Kutt presented different ways of using vignettes in group discussions. These vignettes would describe situations around stigmas in daily live. The people present in a group discussion could then be asked to categorize and comment these vignettes as well as to continue telling the stories featured in there (i.e. “what will happen next?”).

Already during the presentation, Kutt could convincingly explain that the idea of the vignettes is the right way to move forward. At the same time, a lot of difficulties arise with this solution as well. These difficulties were then mostly the issues the participants of the colloquium talked about after the presentation. Vignettes and their categorization in group discussions quickly move to fundamental questions about the ontology of a situation, of stigma, of agency, and more. Should these vignettes be open and only about a certain moment or should they feature a larger process? What kind of qualification should be or can be presented in relation to stigma? Should vignettes focus on details and empirical accuracy or should they include more general societal tendencies—or even “fantasy” elements? Ultimately, the discussion after Kutt’s presentations was about ways of construction a situation in a vignette: an artificial consideration of the methodological situationalism.

Eva Nadai: “Unqualified”

For the colloquium’s second presentation, Eva Nadai from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) presented the results from a research project. For “Unqualified,” Nadai and her collaborators were interested in the constitution and evaluation of employability of people with absent or only little formal professional “qualification”, like unrecognized educational levels or absent vocational qualification.[2]

In countries like Switzerland and similar Western nations, there has been a continues increase in formal (vocational) education. At the same time, there has been an continues decrease in available jobs without the need for formal professional qualification. The problem, Nadai explained, is that latter even decreased more than the former increased. Especially certain migrant sectors of a population face situations, where their previously acquired professional qualifications are not recognized (or language barriers deem them to be unqualified or…). Next to a high risk for unemployment, “unqualified” people and their possible occupations also face a cultural degradation within the current knowledge society and its dominant ideas of skilled as well as complex jobs.

In Nadai’s research project, “employability” was considered both as an attribution and a potential, therefore presenting a double qualification process in EC’s understanding: On the one hand, qualification is a process of value attribution, and on the other hand, it regarded as the acquisition of competencies. For the project, Nadai and her team conducted semi-structured interviews with three groups of actors, namely companies as the employers, employment agencies as intermediaries, and the “unqualified” workers themselves. There again, the EC wider theoretical framework became obvious and explicit: The companies were thought of as the powerful actors when making the value judgments; for the intermediaries, an active role when mediating workers was considered; and the workers themselves were also conceptualized as active and capable actors with regards to both sides of qualification.

The results Nadai presented during the colloquium followed the three actor groups. The companies can still be considered dominant actors when making the value judgement of the unskilled (i.e. not recognizing certain skills as vocational). A more stunning finding was that they also changed their (infra-)structure to include these workers in the workplace. For the intermediaries, Nadai showed that their judgment of workers was very much depending on context. She highlighted their active role in the sense of a refurbishment of the workers, i.e. working on their CVs, accompanying them to jobs, and other investments. The unqualified workers themselves could then be grouped into three categories or modes: Ambitious works (1) sought to actively (and successfully) overcome their status through subjectively qualifying themselves as skilled and objectively seeking out vocational training. A second mode that workers could follow was about securing basic needs (2), where they devote themselves to one job that does not formally require a skill, without aiming for a more formal recognition of their skills. As a result, this second type of workers could become very dependent on one employer. The last mode of how workers dealt with their situation was recognition (3). The inability to gain formal recognition—and therefore the inability to move away from an unqualified status—did also lead to actors struggling for other types of recognitions (i.e. considering their team as a family, fighting for rights at the work place, …).

Eva Nadai presenting the conclusions of her research project

As a conclusion, Nadai highlighted that a very complex set of relations and strategies enables the “employability” of unskilled workers. At the same time, these processes often do not enable a formal vocational qualification. This absence, however, also deemed the workers valuable for other modes of coordination. In addition, while people categorized as “unqualified” are struggling to be recognized as a group, individuals may get their appreciation as individual employees. The latter point again highlighted that the unqualified workers are the weakest link in such chains of qualifications for the workforce.

The discussion that followed the presentation revolved around two topics: For the first one, the participants were asking about the use of various conventions over the course of these workers’ qualification. Nadai’s empirical examples seemed to show that instead of one convention (or a stable mix of conventions), the logics to qualify people were changed during the process. These changes, however, were mostly implemented either via the employers or the intermediaries, and ultimately lead to disadvantages for the workers. The second topic during the discussion was a possible historical perspective and future scenarios. What is particularly new/contemporary in these ways of qualifying the “unqualified”? And what other developments might we expect in relation to these unqualified workers?

Karolin Kappler: “From Data Worlds to the Digital Chain: A Conventional-Theoretical Reflection on the Digitized Transformation of Society”

Karolin Kappler from the FernUniversität in Hagen gave the third presentation during this semester’s colloquium. At the center of her talk, she put the so-called digital chain in relation to processes of digitalization, inspired by the EC consideration of statistical chains. She started with the current moral conflict surrounding the process of the digital transformations we are witnessing: an almost demonizing view on processes of datafication on the one side, and self-tracking’s promises of salvation on the other side. Both in those two extreme positions as well as in the grey areas between them, an uncertainty of value and quality is present in relation to digitalization. Or rather: Many different values and qualities are mobilized through digitalization. Considering a chain of processes then means looking at different divisions of labor that happen in the process of choosing, generating, analyzing, and using data. The thick description of such a chain both should highlight the investments in forms necessary to make such a chain work as well as its processual nature. Kappler’s idea of the digital chain updated and complemented comparable concepts such as a big-data-process model.[3]

Rainer Diaz-Bone checking the hybrid setting for Karolin Kappler’s presentation

After introducing her concept, Kappler went on to present various situations that are a part of such a digital chain and that she as well as other researchers approached in empirical work. One group of situations was related to the processes of digitalization in self-tracking. Here, Kappler highlighted the performative and generative nature of digitalization.[4] A particular type of world building seems to happen when people use processes of self-tracking that is related to the industrial and inspirational conventions. The digital tools carry the conventions’ logics into people’s regimes of engagements. Another situation that Kappler approached empirically was the one of data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI). Here, she and her collaborators used text mining, scrapping discourse around research, design, and development of AI systems in three different forums: GitHub, Semantic Scholar, and Reddit.[5] The text corpora then were analyzed through automated text classification, to grasp the different quality conventions in the material. The first two forums mainly showed, again, the industrial and inspirational conventions. Reddit, however, also featured justifications relying on civic qualities.

Through following the digital chain, Kappler was able to highlight the tensions and conflicts as well as the plurality of processes and situations were data is being generated and linked together. She proposed to consider “data worlds” on the one hand, and the “data realities” on the other hand, following an idea from Boltanski: The former being the data present, while the latter being the construct made possible through a certain selection of data.[6] Ultimately, Kappler not only highlight an anatomy of such a digital chain and its continues expansion. She also presented how researchers can become active in relation to the digital chain. As an example, she showed a catalogue of sustainability criteria put together with other collaborates and in exchange with the German Society for Informatics.

The discussion after the presentation mainly revolved around two interrelated themes with regards to the digital chain: On the one hand, the participants were interested to know how the aspect of chaining together could be clarified, i.e. the digital chain’s potency beyond one particular situation, its way of connecting situations. The EC framework would of course highlight the role of conventions to show processes beyond fragmentation. On the other hand, the discussion revolved around the digital chain’s spine: The actual thing that is being chained together. The participants agreed that the data itself does not represent this lifeline moment of the chain. But what could it be? Comparing the digital chain with the idea of the statistical chain made it clear that the former does not work in a linear sense towards one institution that would organize the chain (like the state).[7] Ultimately, the image of a chain may be the wrong symbolization for the process around digital data.

Arne Böker: “Education Mobility & Crisis”

In the fourth presentation, Arne Böker presented the early stage of his new project about educational mobility during the current pandemic. The presentation was a fitting topic as the colloquium took place fully online again—a situation we already got used to during the past two years. Böker joined the group from New York, his current location for a research stay at the Columbia University. With his project, he analyzes the pandemic’s consequences on first generation students (FGS). Currently, about half of students at German (and also Swiss) universities are such students, but their numbers are decreasing once the studies continue from BA, to MA, to PHD (i.e. establishing an educational cone/“Bildungstrichter”). Böker wants to find out how these FSGs judge their situation bevor and during the pandemic, and what barriers, resources, and, arrangements are present in relation to social mobility in education.

The project promises to be both innovative with regards to research on the pandemic’s consequences on education as well as regarding the subject of FGS. Research on higher education during the pandemic often has been using quantitative surveys, focusing on certain subject only (like digitalization, financialization, family situation, and so on) and without a differentiation of students’ social background. For his project, Böker wants do qualitative interviews with the FGS. Their situation, he explained, has been worsening: After a highest level of these students were enrolled in the mid-1990s, their numbers decreased ever since. Also, the pandemic is mostly considered a factor that worsens the FGS’ situation, i.e. decreasing the number enrolled at universities. However, there is also evidence that both the pandemic itself (for example the flexibilization thanks to the digitalization) and the FGS show characteristics that could offer a sort of “window of opportunity” for educational mobility. Societal situations that prohibit and foster social mobility are rarely considered when researching education. Böker’s project promises to do just that.

Next to the interesting empirical ideas, the presented approach to higher education during the pandemic is also a new ground for the EC. Böker explained that the theoretical framework allows him to consider two interrelated issues: On the one hand, conflicts and situations of crises can be considered as a re-arrangement of barriers, resources, and arrangements, conceptualizing the corona pandemic as a “test” for institutions. On the other hand, also the actors’ critical capacities within this re-arrangement are highlighted. Such a theoretical view complements the more widespread ideas of Bourdieusian frameworks when approaching institutions and inequality.

Böker then went on the show the first results from an interview he conducted and analyzed. His analysis utilized mapping techniques from Situational Analysis to present a sort of project map of these results with two axes. On the horizontal x-axis, time was represented, ranging from bevor the pandemic to the current situation. The map’s y-axis differentiated between hurdles and resource for the actors.

Arne Böker presenting a project map from his first results

Böker connected various stages the interviewed student went through to highlighted how they changed in relation to each other over time: For example, his interviewee showed how she could both use the pandemic as a justification to extend her grant and how the pandemic lead to a stress relieve—bevor again unleashing a overwhelming amount of work for the student. Böker also showed that the connections he made between the different aspects could be related to different conventions. For example, paths could be traced that followed an industrial logic: from an initial idea of not being good enough to study, over to a particular motivation to organize one’s studies and, finally, to an overburdening with work during the pandemic. Such a relational thinking highlighted how aspects change and are used differently depending on a situation. It also made it possible for Böker to raise awareness for more invisible resource: The family, for example, was a help for the interviewed student particularly because they did not formulate any expectations towards her.

Böker ended his presentation by showcasing his next steps, particularly ideas for the variation in a sample. These ideas of variance were also taken up in the discussion afterwards in addition with another methodological aspect, namely the use of the maps. There, the participants agreed that it would be worthwhile to differentiate the two situations—bevor and during the corona pandemic—and not have them connected with an axis. Such an approach could strengthen the analysis to show the different arrangements in the two situations. In addition to methodological consideration, the discussion also raised a more general theoretical one point: What exactly was the role of EC’s theoretical framework in this project? Here, it was clear that the framework could help to highlight how actors make sense in the respective situations’ different arrangements and, for example, how conventions are brought forward to reduce uncertainty that follows the re-arrangements.

Leonie Bisang: “Mechanisms of Selection in Higher Education”

Leonie Bisang, also hailing form the FHNW, gave the last presentation of this semester. She shared an interest in educational inequality with Böker, but approached the subject with a different angle. For her recently started PHD project, Bisang wants to research how students choose their study course. Her interest lies in those particular students who do not follow a route the theoretical ideas about a structural homology between social space, lifestyles, and field would imply. With this particular interest, Bisang tackles questions of actors’ reflexivity.

To illustrate her research interest, Bisang first showcased the institutional change introduced in the higher education in Switzerland in the 1990s (and that various other countries introduced as well): the establishment of Fachhochschulen/universities of applied sciences. In Switzerland, these institutions offer higher education to people who did not attend a gymnasium (normally required to study at a university), but rather completed an apprenticeship and later on decided to study. While these universities of applied science often focus on courses directly relate to a job market (i.e. management), they also offer the same subjects as regular universities do (i.e. economics).

Bisang approaches this dual system with a particular interest. Following a field logic and the idea of structural homology, one would expect the following when considering students’ choice for institutions: Those who did attend a gymnasium will choose to study at a university, as such an institution is considered to offer a more prestigious education. The culturally-dominated students who did not attend a gymnasium would strive to be enrolled at a Fachhochschule, completing their apprenticeship. This homology is supported through a lot of structural process in place that make sure a majority of students follow such a path. However, there are both students who could attend a regular university that apply for a Fachhochschule, as there are examples the other way around. Moreover, these students’ choices are not only remarkable from a field perspective, but also in a more general sense: They need to go through extra effort to achieve being enrolled at the “other” institution, like getting experience in a job or additional exams.

The inapt choice from both people who could attend universities and from the ones who should attend the Fachhochschulen is what Bisang places at the heart of her PHD project. In a theoretical sense, the inapt choices start a conversation between the Bourdieusian habitus concept and EC competent actors. For the former, questions arise whether these choices are still pre-determined—whether they are in fact non-decision—or if these actors are deliberate and reflexive in their action. Considering the competence of actors is a strength for the latter theoretical position. In addition, the EC’s framework let’s one also consider the processes of coordination that are necessary to make these inapt choices work. Here again, a Bourdieusian framework highlights the aspect of inequality in a more pronounced and explicit way than the EC perspective often does.

For the last part of her presentation, Bisang introduced first idea on how to approach her empirical phenomenon and the theoretical questions she brought forward. One idea she proposed was to make a case comparison between students who chose to study economics: one sample representing the “normal” students, but enrolled at the Fachhochschulen, and one sample would be the those who finished an apprenticeship and then went on to study at a university. The case comparison could then be used in qualitative sense, she explained, to trace a process taking place. These more qualitative approaches could be supplemented with survey-type data, to perform a correspondence analysis once more information about the process of making a choice is available.

Léonie Bisang presenting a model to illustrate the process leading up to the choice of a study course

Bisang’s considerations for her empirical work were the starting point for the discussion that followed the presentation. Next to questions regarding process tracing, the sampling choice was a bigger subject. Aiming for a more open and broader theoretical sampling instead of a case comparison, the participants agreed, could help to identify more interesting cases. This would enable Bisang to grasp the different coordination problems that the students face: from different choices available, to institutional barriers, over to no choice made at all. Such a perspective could also open the possibility to consider reflexivity in another way, i.e. also looking at reflexivity as negative when actors are forced to be deliberate. At the end of the discussion, the subject of inequality was taken up again. Questions of inequality could both be more thoroughly and structurally integrated in case selection, but also in relation to showing inequality in the way people deal with institution (and then, how institutions deal with people).

EC all over?

The five presentations that were given this past semester at the colloquium showcased the following: EC’s theoretical framework—from very broad ideas like plurality over to the more detailed aspects like regimes—is being used in relation to a variety of research interest. They help researchers in grasping their phenomenon and open up interesting perspectives. The five presentations, however, also showed two challenges: On the one hand, using the concepts often is a mere first step, from where researchers still need to conceptualize a problem in an empirical situation. This conceptualization then can make use of other theoretical position and societal issues to move forward. On the other hand, researchers are often faced with challenging methodological problems as a result of the EC framework. Here, the questions of what a situation is seem to be a pressing issue. Next to just showcasing challenges, each presentation and the discussions that followed them made it clear the challenges are a pathway to creative social research.

[1] cf. Thévenot, Laurent. 2019. Measure for Measure: Politics of Quantifying Individuals to Govern Them. Historical Social Research, 44(2), 44-76.

[2] Nadai, Eva, and Anna Gonon. 2021. “Simple jobs” for disqualified workers. Employability at the bottom of the labour market. In The Future of Work, ed. Christian Suter, Jacinto Cuvi, Philip Balsiger, and Mihaela Nedelcu, 199–221. Zurich / Geneva: Seismo Verlag AG.

[3] Weyer, Johannes, Marc Delisle, Karolin Kappler, Marcel Kiehl, Christina Merz, and Jan-Felix Schrape. 2018. Big Data in soziologischer Perspektive. In Big Data und Gesellschaft, ed. Barbara Kolany-Raiser, Reinhard Heil, Carsten Orwat, and Thomas Hoeren, 69–149. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

[4] Kappler, Karolin Eva, Eryk Noji, and Uwe Vormbusch. 2019. Performativität in körperlich-leiblichen Selbstvermessungspraktiken: Zwei Fallbeispiele. In Self-Tracking, Selfies, Tinder und Co., ed. Daniel Rode and Martin Stern, 83–100. transcript Verlag.

[5] Solans, David & Tauchmann, Christopher & Farrell, Aideen & Kappler, Karolin Eva & Huber, Hans-Hendrik & Castillo, Carlos. (2019). Conflict and Cooperation: AI Research and Development in terms of the Economy of Conventions.

[6] Luc Boltanski. (2019). On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[7] Desrosières, Alain. 2002. The Politics of Large Numbers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Appel à communication – Panel “économie des conventions” du 11e congrès de l’AFEP, 28 juin-1 juil. 2022 Amiens (France)

Call for papers – Panel “Economics of conventions” of the 11th AFEP Congress, June 28-July 1, 2022 Amiens (France)

L’économie des conventions est une théorie de l’action située fondant son programme de recherche sur la pluralité des modes de coordination. La convention, considérée comme une règle ou comme une représentation, est révélée dans l’appartenance à une action collective. Elle suppose d’être partagée par plusieurs acteurs afin que la coordination aboutisse. Nombreux sont les chercheur.e.s qui s’appuient sur le cadre d’analyse conventionnaliste dans leurs travaux. L’appel à communication propose de présenter ces recherches afin de rendre compte de la pluralité des domaines dans lesquels les cadres de pensées et les concepts de l’économie des conventions sont mobilisés.
Ainsi, ce panel propose d’explorer différents apports de l’économie des conventions mettant en exergue les limites ou les logiques d’adaptation du capitalisme contemporain dans les domaines de la santé, du travail, de l’environnement, de l’énergie, de la finance, etc. En mettant en évidence les rapports de force, les arrangements institutionnels, les représentations et les interprétations des règles, l’économie des conventions permet d’appréhender le capitalisme sous différents aspects (capitalisme sanitaire, capitalisme financiarisé, capitalisme « vert »…) et d’en proposer une critique.
Afin d’explorer ces questions, sans pour autant exclure d’autres types d’applications, cet appel à communication attend des travaux (article, chapitre de thèse, projet de recherche, etc.) ayant différents niveaux de maturité. L’objectif est de réunir des chercheur.e.s expérimenté.e.s et de jeunes chercheur.e.s afin de discuter de leurs travaux.

Les réponses à appel à communication ne devront pas excéder deux pages, présentant un titre, des motsclés, une question de recherche claire, le caractère empirique ou non du travail et un maximum de 5 références bibliographiques.

Merci de déposer vos propositions de communication avant le 5/02/2022 sur le site : dans la thématique économie des conventions ainsi qu’à Olivier Gayot (, Cécile Vasseur ( et Guillemette de Larquier (

Les propositions acceptées seront notifiées le 2/03/2022.

Vortrag “Handlungskoordination in föderalen Bildungssystemen und Schulkultur(en) als Wertigkeitdispositive. Eine multimethodische Studie zu Zugangswegen ins Lehramtsstudium.”

Presentation “Action Coordination in Federal Education Systems and School Culture(s) as Value Dispositives. A multi-method study of entry routes into student teaching.”

Sandra Hafner (2022):

10 February 2022 17:00-18:00 via Zoom.

Zusammenfassung. In vielen Ländern bereitet traditionell das Gymnasium auf die Lehramtsausbildung vor. Die im Referat vorgestellte multimethodische Studie befasst sich mit der historisch umkämpften Institutionalisieru ng eines zweiten, alternativen Zugangswegs (in die Lehrpersonenbildung in der Schweiz. Ebenso nimmt die Studie die Fachmittelschule und das Gymnasium vergleichend als schulische Dispositive in den Blick. Anhand von Fallstudien wird gezeigt, wie die beteiligten schulischen Akteur*innen diese Dispositive konstruieren und (de-)valorisieren und wie daraus unterschiedliche Sozialisationsumgebungen für Jugendliche entstehen. Auf dieser Grundlage lässt sich die unterschiedliche Bedeutung der bei den Schultypen für die Lehrpersonenbildung erklären. Im Referat wird kurz ins Thema eingeführt sowie der theoretische Rahmen der Soziologie der Konventionen sowie dessen methodologische Prämissen vorgestellt. Anschließend wird entlang von drei Hauptfrages tellungen das Forschungsdesign der Studie präsentiert. Dabei steht im Fokus, wie verschiedene Datenformate wie Dokumente, Protokolle, Interviewtranskripte, Notizen von Unterrichtsbeobachtungen sowie quantitativ deskriptive Daten vor dem erkenntnistheoretischen Hintergrund der Soziologie der Konventionen fruchtbar zueinander in Beziehung gesetzt werden und im mit Blick auf das oben genannte Erkenntnisinteresse analysiert werden können.

Abstract. In many countries, the Gymnasium traditionally prepares students for teacher education. The multi-method study presented in this paper deals with the historically contested institutionalization of a second, alternative route (into teacher education in Switzerland. The study also takes a comparative look at the Fachmittelschule and the Gymnasium as school dispositifs. Case studies are used to show how the school actors involved construct and (de-)valorize these dispositives and how different socialization environments for young people emerge from them. On this basis, the different importance of the different types of schools for teacher education can be explained. The paper will briefly introduce the topic and the theoretical framework of the sociology of conventions as well as its methodological premises. Subsequently, the research design of the study will be presented along three main research questions. The focus is on how different data formats such as documents, protocols, interview transcripts, notes from classroom observations, and quantitative descriptive data can be fruitfully related to each other against the epistemological background of the sociology of conventions and analyzed in light of the aforementioned epistemological interest.

Link to the Colloquium website

Selektionsmechanismen/Reproduktion sozialer Ungleichheit/Bildungsmobilität im Hochschulwesen

Leonie Bisang (University of Lucerne)

Lecture in the colloquium social research 15 December 2021 via Zoom

Zusammenfassung. Inwieweit spielen Habitus und Reflexivität beim Übertritt von der Sekundarstufe II in die Tertiärstufe eine Rolle? Mit der Einführung der Fachhochschulen wurde eine binäre Struktur geschaffen: Es wird ein universitärer und ein nicht-universitärer Bereich differenziert. Die gymnasiale Maturität ist seither sozial stärker geschlossen und Personen aus sozial tieferen Schichten werden in die Berufsbildung, die ihnen weniger aufwendig und riskant erscheint, «abgelenkt». Es gibt jedoch Maturandinnen und Maturanden, die sich für ein Fachhochschulstudium entscheiden, obschon sie sich prüfungsfrei an einer Universität einschreiben könnten. Wie entscheiden sich angehende Studierende für den Hochschultyp? Haben sie eine Wahl oder handelt es sich um eine «non-decision», zumal der Entscheidungsraum a priori eingeschränkt ist? Wie funktionieren Selektionsmechanismen? Um Fragen nach Selektionsmechanismen, sozialer Ungleichheit und Bildungsmobilität zu untersuchen, enthalten sowohl der Ansatz von Bourdieu als auch die Économie des Conventions spannende Aspekte. Durch Einbezug beider Ansätze wird das Spannungsfeld von Habitus und reflexiver Wahl sichtbar und analysierbar.

Abstract. To what extent do habitus and reflexivity play a role in the transition from upper secondary to tertiary education? With the introduction of universities of applied sciences, a binary structure was created: A university and a non-university sector are differentiated. Since then, the gymnasiale Matura has become more socially closed, and people from socially lower classes are “diverted” into vocational training, which seems less costly and risky to them. However, there are high school graduates who decide to study at a university of applied sciences even though they could enroll at a university without having to take any exams. How do prospective students decide on the type of university? Do they have a choice or is it a “non-decision”, especially since the decision space is limited a priori? How do selection mechanisms work? In order to investigate questions about selection mechanisms, social inequality and educational mobility, both Bourdieu’s approach and the Économie des Conventions contain exciting aspects. By including both approaches, the tension between habitus and reflexive choice becomes visible and analyzable.

Von Datenwelten zur digitalen Kette: Eine konventionentheoretische Reflexion zur digitalen Transformation der Gesellschaft

From Data Worlds to the Digital Chain: A Conventional-Theoretical Reflection on the Digitized Transformation of Society

Vortrag von Karolin Kappler (FernUniversität Hagen)
10 November 2021, 16.15 via Zoom in the lecture series «Kolloquiums Sozialforschung» at University of Lucerne

Zusammenfassung. Likes, Schritte, Kalorienaufnahme und -verbrauch, Chats mit Freunden, berufliche Videokonferenzen, digitale Zahlungen und viele weitere Datenpraktiken hinterlassen tagtäglich Daten(-spuren), die auf verschiedene Art und Weise und für unterschiedliche Zwecke weiterverwendet werden. Neben deren Einordnung in Datenwelten bietet die Soziologie der Konventionen mit der statistischen Kette ein Konzept, das die Arbeitsteilung in der Generierung, Auswertung und Präsentation von Daten beschreibt. Die Ausweitung der Datenpraktiken, deren Echtzeitcharakter sowie zunehmende Vernetzungsmöglichkeiten führen zur Entstehung digitaler Ketten, die den Prozesscharakter digitaler datengestützter Valuationen (im Sinne von Deweys) in den Mittelpunkt der Betrachtung setzen. Diese Weiterentwicklung der statistischen hin zur digitalen Kette erlaubt eine dichte Beschreibung unterschiedlicher miteinander verwobener Situationen und berücksichtigt dabei, dem pragmatischen Ansatz der Soziologie der Konventionen folgend, das in weiten Teilen zyklische Zusammenspiel von Akteuren, unterschiedlichen Technologien, (kognitiven) Formaten und anderen Objekten, Praktiken und Konventionen in der Hervorbringung von Bewertungen.

Abstract. Likes, steps, calorie intake and consumption, chats with friends, professional video conferencing, digital payments, and many other data practices leave data (traces) every day that are reused in different ways and for different purposes. In addition to their classification into data worlds, the sociology of conventions offers the statistical chain, a concept that describes the division of labor in the generation, analysis, and presentation of data. The expansion of data practices, their real-time character as well as increasing networking possibilities lead to the emergence of digital chains, which put the process character of digital data-supported evaluations (in Dewey’s sense) in the center of consideration. This further development of the statistical towards the digital chain allows a dense description of different interwoven situations and, following the pragmatic approach of the sociology of conventions, takes into account the largely cyclical interplay of actors, different technologies, (cognitive) formats and other objects, practices and conventions in the production of evaluations.

Kolloquium Sozialforschung / Program

Überlegungen zu Auswirkungen von Digitalisierung auf (qualitative) Sozialforschung

Reflections on the Impact of Digitization on (Qualitative) Social Research

Rainer Diaz-Bone (2021)

Paper presented at the 16th Berlin Method Meeting 2021 (July). Open access

Rainer Diaz-Bone, Debora Niermann und Günter Mey (Moderation)

Auszug. “Die Internetpolitiken und Algorithmen werden wesentlich durch private Internetfirmen entwickelt, organisiert und kontrolliert. Und sie sind eben auch für universitär Forschende zumeist intransparent. Diese Datenmengen sind für die akademische Sozialforschung nicht oder nur beschränkt zugänglich. Hier treffen sich nun die Diagnose von Savage und Burrows einerseits mit derjenigen der Soziologie der Konventionen andererseits, welche Konventionen als institutionelle Logiken im Bereich der Sozialforschung auffassen und die eine Pluralität der Datenwelten identifiziert, in der die akademi-sche Datenwelt neben derjenigen der amtlichen Statistik, der zivilbürgerlichen und derjenigen der Big-Data-Welt eben nur eine ist und eben absehbar nicht mehr die hegemoniale in Sachen Methodendefinition. Die neopragmatische Position der Konventionentheorie besteht nicht nur in der Betonung dieses Pluralismus von Datenwelten, die verschiedene Wissenschaftsauffassungen artikulieren, sondern in der Betonung der Spannung und der wechselseitigen Kritik zwischen diesen Datenwelten sowie in dem Aufweis von Allianzen zwischen Datenwelten.” (p. 4)

Extract. “Internet policies and algorithms are essentially developed, organized and controlled by private Internet companies. And they are also mostly intransparent for university researchers. These data sets are not accessible, or only to a limited extent, for academic social research. This is where the diagnosis of Savage and Burrows on the one hand meets that of the sociology of conventions on the other, which understands conventions as institutional logics in the field of social research and identifies a plurality of data worlds, in which the academic data world is just one alongside that of official statistics, the civil society world and that of the Big Data world, and it is foreseeable that it will no longer be the hegemonic one in terms of defining methods. The neopragmatic position of convention theory consists not only in emphasizing this pluralism of data worlds that articulate different views of science, but in emphasizing the tension and mutual critique between these data worlds, as well as in pointing out alliances between data worlds.” (p. 4)

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Video of the conference session

Kolloquium Sozialforschung

Colloquium Social Research

Organized by Kenneth Horvath and Rainer Diaz-Bone at University of Lucerne, the colloquium offers a series of lectures based on or referring to convention theory.

Präsentation. Im Kolloquium Sozialforschung werden aktuelle Projekte und Fragen sozialwissenschaftlicher Forschungs- und Berufspraxis besprochen. Im Fokus stehen methodische und methodologische Herausforderungen, Neuerungen und Probleme. Das Kolloquium deckt das breite Spektrum der empirischen Sozialforschung ab – präsentiert und diskutiert werden Arbeiten aus der Markt-, Meinungs- und Medienforschung ebenso wie aus amtlicher Statistik, Evaluations-, Akzeptanz- und Begleitforschung und aus universitären Kontexten.

Presentation. In the Colloquium Social Research, current projects and questions of social science research and professional practice are discussed. The focus is on methodological and methodological challenges, innovations and problems. The colloquium covers the broad spectrum of empirical social research – papers from market, opinion and media research as well as from official statistics, evaluation, acceptance and accompanying research and from university contexts are presented and discussed.

Zeit/Time: mittwochs (Tuesday) 16.15-17.45

Ort/Room: Seminarraum 3.B47

  • Mi, 13.10.21
    Miriam Kutt (Universität Luzern)
    «Closing one’s Eyes. Methodische Ansätze zur Untersuchung von Prozessen der Konfliktvermeidung»
  • Mi, 27.10.21
    Prof. Dr. Eva Nadai (FHNW Olten)
    «’Unqualifiziert’ – zur Konstruktion von Wert(losigkeit) im Arbeitsmarkt»
  • Mi, 10.11.21
    Dr. Karolin Kappler (FernUniversität Hagen)
    «Von Datenwelten zur digitalen Kette: Eine konventionentheoretische Reflexion zur digitalen Transformation der Gesellschaft»
  • Mi, 24.11.21
    Dr. Arne Böker (Universität Halle-Wittenberg)
    «Bildungsaufstiege in der Krise? Auswirkungen der Corona-Pandemie auf First Generation Students»
  • Mi, 15.12.21 (via Zoom)
    Leonie Bisang (Universität Luzern)
    «Selektionsmechanismen/Reproduktion sozialer Ungleichheit/Bildungsmobilität im Hochschulwesen»

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The 11th EC / Sociology of Conventions Workshop (virtual)

Report by Mario Steinberg (Basel)

For the first time in a virtual format, the annual EC workshop took place from 06-07 May 2021. This year the event was organized by Regula Julia Leemann (FHNW Basel-Muttenz) and her team. The 11th EC / Sociology of Conventions Workshop was held under the working title “Quantification and Conventions”. However, contributions not explicitly related to the conference theme were also welcome.

Thursday 06 May 2021

After a welcome to the participants by the organizer, Lisa Knoll (University of Paderborn) introduced Eve Chiapello (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris/Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin) for her keynote speech.

Eve Chiapello’s keynote was entitled “Impact and the fight against financialized conventions of quantification”. She presented a convention-based interpretation of the financialization of economy. With an analytical focus on the concept of “impact”, Eve Chiapello showed how financial decisions come about, what role different actors (such as financial investors) play, and how the concept of “impact” can be framed in terms of conventionalist theory.

After Eve Chiapello’s keynote and a short coffee break, the program moved to the first slot in the plenary, “Quantification, digitization and convention research studies”. Regula Leemann, Sandra Hafner and Raffaella Simona Esposito (FHNW Basel-Muttenz) gave a speech about “Quantification and conventions in the governance of educational transitions (in Switzerland)”. They introduced into the topic of their ongoing SNSF-project and presented first conceptual questions on the relevance of numbers in governing transitions: What is the role of quantification in these processes of governance? In which situations numbers are important? Which instruments and technologies are applied? What forms of strategies and policies are enabled by quantification? What are the effects of quantification? Regarding convention theory they pointed to important theoretical concepts and methodological approaches as e.g. the statistical panopticism, statistical chains and the convention-based foundations of indicators.

After a short break, the program moved on to the next slot, “Show and Tell”. Valeska Cappel (University of Lucerne) and Carolin Kappler (FernUniversität Hagen) presented their current publication project “Gesundheit – Konventionen – Digitalisierung”, which will be published by Springer VS, Book Series Soziologie der Konventionen (Eds. Rainer Diaz-Bone & Lisa Knoll). The publication has the significance of opening up a field of research for convention theorists that has hardly been transferred in German-language research on the sociology of convention: the field of health research. Valesca Capell and Karolin Kappler deliver a volume that connects the sociology of conventions and the plurality of conventions with digital transformation processes, which can be considered a novelty so far.

In the continued slot “Quantification, Digitization and convention research Studies”, Kenneth Horvath (University of Lucerne) and Mario Steinberg (PH FHNW/University of Basel) first presented their planned research project “The politics and pedagogies of algorithmic sorting in education”. In their presentation, the authors trace the role that conventions play in the implementation of artificial intelligence and digitization, especially regarding the question of what impact the so-called technological transformation will have on concrete school practices.

In the last slot of the first day, “Comments and Reflection“, Rainer Diaz Bone (University of Lucerne) spoke about quantification from a conventionalist perspective. He gave an overview of fundamental principles of EC when considering quantification. Fundamental to understanding quantification processes is the EC’s view that measurements themselves are convention-related. Consequently, quantification as a black box can only be understood if not only the consequences, benefits and effects of quantification are considered, but also their origin and distribution. In addition, measurements create new realities. Only because measurements are based on conventions, they become a social practice and are tested, justified and challenged in collective actions. The plurality of data worlds allows for different ways of taking measurements – but (from a neopragmatist point of view) no measurement can claim universal validity. At the end of his talk Rainer Diaz-Bone presented the concept of analytical axes for the convention-based analysis of quantification-processes as a heuristic for the analysis of quantification processes (see screenshot below).

The first day of the conference ended with a virtual apéro at the meeting-platform wonder me. Here, the participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas about specific topics of the conference and about topics beyond the conference itself.

Friday 7 May 2021

Friday started with parallel sessions. In the session “Education Research Studies”, Philipp Gonon (University of Zürich), Lorenzo Bonoli (Eidgenössisches Hochschulinstitut für Weiterbildung), Jackie Vorpe (Eidgenössisches Hochschulinstitut für Weiterbildung) and Lena Freidorfer-Kabashi (University of Zürich) started with their presentation on regional differences in the justification of Swiss VET education. Colleagues ask how and why regional differences in Switzerland’s VET system are possible. They identify different education regimes in dual VET that can explain cantonal differences. Following Eric Verdier, they describe a neo-comparativist regime for the canton of Zurich, a hybrid of market and academic regimes for the canton of Ticino and a universal regime for the canton of Geneva.

After a short coffee break, Leonie Bisang (University of Lucerne/FHNW Olten) talked about her dissertation project on the reproduction of social inequalities in the tertiary education market. In her lecture, she also wanted to find out how the sociology of conventions can help to understand social inequalities in the swiss university landscape in her dissertation project.

Afterwards, Matthias Alke (HU Berlin) presented on the formation and historical change of job profiles in public adult education. The focus of Matthias Alke’s lecture was the public discourse on adult education and questions of its professionalization. Professional action in adult education as a young phenomenon, Matthias Alke explains from the perspective of the EC how job advertisements (understood as formal investments) describe conventionally formed requirements for quality, activity and occupation.

In the parallel session “Labor Market Intermediaries /HR Practices / PHD Presentations” Julia Brandl (University of Innsbruck) reported on the role of the labor market in shaping wage expectations – using the example of job advertisements. The research project she presented asks to what extent mandatory salary information in job advertisements can reduce gender-specific, different salary expectations. From a conventional sociological perspective, job advertisements can be seen as mediators between employers and job seekers. Job advertisements as such not only present information, but also have a transformative influence on the recipients.

Dominik Zellhofer (Vienna University of Economics and Business) presented his paper based on his dissertation entitled “The people problem of information security: A CISO’s quest for compromise”. In his lecture, he asks how actors in organizations negotiate policies and how technology information security policies are influenced by them. To answer these questions, he draws on the concept of form investment, which comes from EC. Empirically, he takes look at key figures like the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer).

Afterwards Eva Nadai (HSA FHNW) spoke about the role of labor market intermediaries from a conventionalist perspective. She described forms of recruitment of the low-employed from a conventional sociological perspective with a focus on intermediaries. Her presentation focuses on labor market intermediaries as human actors, organizations and dispositives, the evaluation of the quality of labor, and the significance of form investment from an EC perspective.

After the lunch break, the parallel sessions “Methodology” and “Health – Mental Distress Research Study /Paper Presentation” started. In the first sessions (Methodology), Simon Schrör (University of Lucerne/Weizenbaum Institut Berlin) gave a talk on methodological implications of artifacts in pragmatist research. Simon Schrör’s lecture is about making artefacts fearful for the pragmatic analysis of situations in the Sociology of Conventions and also proposing them as an independent epistemological unit. According to this, artefacts represent an extension of the empirical view, which, however, does not dissolve the reference to the object. Using the example of changes in the Deign furniture industry, he shows how the artefact-based identification of situations is made empirical.

Later on, in the same session, Simon Weingärtner (HSU Hamburg) presented on “On the Micro- and Macro-Politics of Work and Employment”. His lecture takes as its starting point whether the effects of the current COVID-19 situation will lead to a situation similar to what Polanyi described as the “Great Transformation” in 1944. Guided by the theoretical focus of boundary work, he investigates the transformation of political fields. In order to derive the historical change, he concludes his lecture by presenting a heuristic of employment regimes and socio-political change, which ranges from the mid-20th century (mass production) through the late 20th century (collaborative production) to the end of the 21st century (platformization).

Meanwhile in the parallel session (Health – Mental Distress Research Study /Paper Presentation) Miriam Kutt (University of Lucerne) spoke about the conflict potential of damaged identities and the connection between practices of silence and conflict avoidance and stigmatization of mental illness. Her presentation was entitled “Das Konfliktkapital beschädigter Identitäten – Praktiken des Schweigens und der Konfliktvermeidung im Zusammenhang mit der Stigmatisierung psychischer Krankheiten” [“The Conflict Capital of Damaged Identities – Practices of Silence and Conflict Avoidance in the Context of Mental Illness Stigma.”]. She focused on the extent to which social structural conditions in situations of stigmatization and discrimination lead those affected to remain silent and avoid conflict. She also asked how these conditions need to be changed so that those affected can be normative, stand up for themselves and their peers, and thus engage for the common good. From the perspective of the sociology of conventions, she works with regime theory and the concept of conflict avoidance “closing ones eyes”, following Thévenot.

Anna Gonon (FHNW Olten) then reports in her presentation, entitled “Integration as justification work: a conventionalist perspective on the occupational reintegration of employees with mental distress” on recent findings of her doctoral project in which she investigates the processes of interpretation and the logic of justification of mentally ill employees in companies. She takes a particular look at collective processes of interpretation and justification. From the perspective of the sociology of conventions, Anna Gonon looks at justifications as problems of action in integration work. The aim of her lecture was therefore to show the principles of the assessment of reintegration and the decision on continued employment from an EC perspective.

A coffee break later, the last program item of the conference “Show and Tell” began. Here, authors presented current publications around the sociology of conventions. Arne Böker (University of Halle-Wittenberg) started off by presenting his completed dissertation project “Über die Rechtfertigung von Begabtenförderung. Eine Diskursanalyse am Beispiel der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes” [On Justification of gifted education programs. A discourse analysis using the example of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation]. From the perspective of historical educational research, he examined how the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes [German Academic Scholarship Foundation] defined the criteria for the selection of its scholarship holders in terms of selection, promotion and social composition. Based on this, he empirically reconstructed the central used conventions, their stability and instability over time, as well as their relationship to problematizations and audits of the foundation itself.

In the following, Esther Berner (HSU Hamburg) reported on her research on the historical transformation of conventions in the shoe industry using the example of Bally and Bata in the period 1870-1940 (published in Journal of Vocational Education & Training, online). Esther Berner examines two large shoe companies in Switzerland, Bally and Bata, with regard to the constructions and changes of shoe quality in production worlds from a historical perspective. She particularly focuses on quality conventions (e.g. individuals, techniques, information) in her analysis. By examining the change in manufacturing processes and the qualification of employees, she is able to show the change, criticism and conflict of conventions in a period from 1870 to 1940.

The last contribution of the event was made by Julia Brandl (University of Innsbruck) and Arjan Kozica (University of Applied Science Reutlingen). They presented their forthcoming book, which will be published in the series Soziologie der Konventionen. The book will be published with the title “Betriebliche Personalpolitik. Eine konventionensoziologische Perspektive” [Workplace Human Resource Policies. A Sociology of Conventions Perspective.] In their work the authors apply the sociology of conventions-approach to human resource policies in economic companies. Julia Brandl reports (also on behalf of the excused Arjan Kozica) on their planned publication. It is aimed at students of economics and at practitioners of company personnel work and the structuring of company employment relationships. In doing so, they make the sociology of conventions fruitful for an understanding of business personnel policy. To this end, the book aims to establish practical links to the practice of business administration throughout, highlighting the significance of EC for company personnel policy as an alternative to established theories such as the Rational choice theory or social psychology.

At the end of the conference, all participants gathered again and looked ahead to the upcoming EC workshop which Christian Imdorf (Leibniz University of Hannover) will organize at Hannover. In summary we all look back on an instructive workshop, with new and exciting insights into current research on the sociology of conventions.

Many thanks to Regula Julia Leemann and her team for the organization of the 11th Sociology of Conventions Workshop!!!

The un/making of forms. Formographic inquiries into practice, accountability, and infra-critique

International workshop organized by Ingmar Lippert (IT University Copenhagen) and Susann Wagenknecht (Technical University Dresden)
at Technical University of Dresden 2-3 September 2021

Program Extract: “[…] As formality is made and unmade (Smart et al. 2017), forms help organize far-flung coordination and gain salience as prerequisite of accountability. They furnish the yardsticks of critique. With this workshop, we draw attention to the situated relation of form and critique that emerges from the ever changing tangle of practice. We suggest exploring “infra-critiques”—critiques ‘from within’ shifting forms of life (Verran 2014, Jaeggi 2018). Analyses of critique ‘from within’ emphasize the multiplicity and limitations of formal assessment. They help examining how in/form/alities boost and marginalize different modes of benchmarking and evaluation, denunciation and appraisal, determination and indetermination (Boltanski & Thévenot 1999). Requirements for specific in/form/ation, e.g., can feed authoritative regimes of control while effectively undermining accountability and attenuating critique (Lippert 2018). Against this backdrop, we are interested in formographic inquiries that problematize the enactment of form as a fixed, detached point of reference. […]
The workshop will take place at the Technical University Dresden, Germany, September 2-3, 2021. The workshop is designed as collective learning process, focusing on submissions that rely upon ethnographic materials to engage in the nexus of form, practice, critique, and accountability. To this end, we ask participants to circulate workshop papers (2,000w), accompanied by a digitally reproducible object (with permissions), prior to the workshop.

Link to the complete presentation

Congress of the Swiss Sociological Association (SSA) “Social justice in times of uncertainty”

Online, hosted at Geneva 28-30 June 2021.


Events related to EC:

Organizers: Jean-Michel Bonvin (University of Geneva), Diaz-Bone Rainer (University of Lucerne)

Wednesday 30 June, 09:00 – 10:30

  • Peter Wagner (University of Barcelona)
  • Philipp Batifoulier (University of Paris Sorbonne Nord)
  • Jean-Michel Bonvin (University of Geneva)
  • Rainer Diaz-Bone (University of Lucerne)

Organizers: Rainer Diaz-Bone (University of Lucerne), Valeska Cappel (University of Lucerne)

Monday 28 June, 15:00 – 16:30

  • Karolin Kappler (FernUniversität Hagen), Valeska Cappel (University of Lucerne): Trade-offs and conflicting goals in the digitization of health – Presentation of the anthology “Health – Conventions – Digitization”.
  • Stefan Janković (University of Belgrade), Milica Resanović (University of Belgrade): Breaking through the Pandemic Incertitudes: From Hazy Health Care Instruction to Commensuration of Worths among Serbia’s Young Professionals.
  • Giovanni Matera (EHESP French School of Public Health): Hospitality, Migration and Mental Health. Engaging a pluralist perspective to study the treatment of migrant persons suffering from mental illness.

1c) Paper-Session C.7 ENGAGING PLURALIST PERSPECTIVES IN CIVIC INTERVENTIONS: NEOPRAGMATISM AND SOCIAL RESEARCH», Organizers: Rainer Diaz-Bone (University of Lucerne), Kenneth Horvath (University of Lucerne), Guy Schwegler (University of Lucerne), Simon Schrör (Weizenbaum Institute,  Humboldt University Berlin)

Tuesday 29 June, 10:45 – 12:15 (Session 1 of 2)

  • Kenneth Horvath (University of Lucerne): Invoking controversy, deciphering normativities: the method of “qualitative experiments” and the objectives of critical social research after the pragmatic turn
  • Anke Schad-Spindler (University of Vienna), Stefanie Fridrik (University of Vienna), Oliver Marchart (University of Vienna), Friederike Landau (Radboud University Nijmegen): Venturing into pandemic cultural policy conflicts.
  • Guy Schwegler (University of Lucerne): A different theory, a different culture? Considering ontologies of cultural production in light of performativity

Tuesday 29 June, 15:00 – 16:30 (Session 2 of 2)

  • Simon Schrör (Weizenbaum Institute, Humboldt University Berlin): Scientific Investigations as Part of Practical Discourses? Pluralities of engagement in professional debates on copyright reform.
  • Sinisa Hadziabdic (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne): Living and Dying with Your Own Ideas? Generational Replacement vs. Within-Individual Paradigm Change among Economists


Congress program