The Voinnet Affair: Testing the Norms of Scientific Image Management.

Guaspare-Cartron, Catherine/Didier, Emmanuel (2020)

In: Biagioli, Mario/Lippman, Alexandra (eds.), Gaming the metrics. Misconduct and Manipulation in Academic Research. Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 157‑167. Open Access.


“The literature offers some explanations for the apparent increase of misconduct cases (Steen, Casadevall, and Fang, 2013). One could argue that the barriers to publication have been lowered in the last twenty years or so, thus letting more scientists publish fraudulent articles. But this argument has limitations. First, it does not explain why the barriers to publications have been lowered. Second, over the same period, we have witnessed a series of public scandals triggered by findings of misconduct. Given that one of the social functions of scandal is precisely to enforce norms (Dampierre, 1954; Molotch and Lester, 1973; Boltanski, Claverie, and Offenstadt, 2007; Adut, 2008), we should not expect to find scandals if there was a simple lowering of the quality requirements in science. A different explanation is offered by the scientists themselves who often complain that they are under pressure, which may tempt them to produce subquality science. But the problem with the word “pressure” (which, by the way, is shared with many other professions from the police to medical doctors [Bruno and Didier, 2013]) is that it is mainly a complaint, a denunciation. It is not analytical. Our hypothesis is that certain dimensions of the practice of science have experienced important transformations in the last twenty years, caused in part by the performative effects of metrics. These innovations have blurred the previous norms regulating scientific practices. At the same time, a new ecology (Star, 1995) of watchdogs and fraud detection has emerged that gives increased visibility to cases of misconduct, which in turn stir public controversies or “affairs” through which norms are re-instantiated.” (p. 157/158)

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Training for Work at the Margins of the Projective City

Marhuenda-Fluixá, Fernando/Molpeceres-Pastor, Ángeles (2020)

In Rachwał, Tadeusz/Hepp, Rolf/Kergel, David (eds.), Precarious Places. Social, Cultural and Economic Aspects of Uncertainty and Anxiety in Everyday Life. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 51-71.


“Drawing upon the work by Boltanski and Chiapello and Boltanski and Thévenot, the training provision that is offered in Spain both to vulnerable youth and to socially excluded adults is analyzed here. It is too often the case that trainers in those programs work under temporary contracts. The reason for this is that the institutions they work for, often Non Governmental Organizations but also municipalities or trade unions, work under the so called projective city—i.e., a connectionist rationale. This fact has an impact upon the notion of work that these trainers portray to trainees attending their vocational training schemes, on-the-job training as well as guidance support. It is also the case that multiple and competing demands placed upon such institutions and trainers result in a fragile balance that seriously threatens their effectiveness. If transition programs and processes from education into work for vulnerable people are settled upon precarious conditions, they may be questioned for attempting control rather than transformative or emancipatory practices. The role of work as an axis for integration policies and for social inclusion is therefore under scrutiny, particularly when the trainees occupy the lowest levels of qualification and their employability will hardly compete with that of people that have not undergone processes of social exclusion. Precarity affects both the youth and adult themselves as the trainers and institutions trying to foster their employability. Raising consciousness about these issues might allow those providing vocational training in the margins of the educational and training system to those in the margins of society to perform their work in alternative ways.”