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Extrapolation! Phenomenology, sociology of critique and states of mind in the solidarity economy

Bruno Frère (2020)

Sociologia del Lavoro, 158, pp. 21-47.

Abstract. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the value and the limit of the sociology of critique as a form of post-Bourdieusian critical sociology, especially where moral values play a crucial role in explaining actions – as they do in the solidarity economy, the field analyzed here. Contrary to interpretations of justifications as moral toolkits unconsciously mobilized by actors about practices whose real reasons lie elsewhere, I suggest that the sociology of critique’s notion of “grammar” is useful for articulating the normative moral elements that motivate specific actions and justifications. We will see how taking the actors themselves seriously – the sociology of critique’s motto – can yield important insights for sociology. But then we face a problem within the field that the sociology of critique can’t resolve alone: there sometimes appears to be a contradiction between actors’ actions and their justifications. Phenomenology can help us to understand these justifications at a deeper level as expressions of fundamental ways of relating to the world. In this sense phenomenology is useful to a moral sociology of critique because it helps us find a solution to the “contradiction” that the sociology of critique left unsolved.

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