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The influence of French language thought on the Brazilian administrative sciences

Jean-François Chanlat (2021)

Revista de Administração de Empresas (Journal of Business Management) 61(3), pp. 1-24. Open access

Abstract. The object of this article is to take a look at the influence that French-language works have had on the Brazilian academic community over the past decades, based on the author’s knowledge of it, and a long attendance of the field of Brazilian administrative sciences. To do this, the article is divided into three parts. The first recalls the relationship that the author has established with the Brazilian community to locate who is speaking and from where he is speaking. The second briefly discusses the historical link that Brazil maintains with French thought in general. And the third presents the French main intellectual currents, which, according to the author, seem to have caught the attention of Brazilian researchers in administrative sciences. This reflection ends with some considerations on the future of the field and some wishes on the future relationship between Brazilian researchers and French-speaking researchers.

Extract: “The heterodox economic sciences
The third source of inspiration for Brazilian researchers in administrative sciences is the heterodox economic sciences (Lévesque, Bourque, & Forgues, 1997). In fact, all those interested in socio-economic equilibrium, social development, and social economy organizations in a country where there are deep social inequalities (Ferreira de Souza, 2018; Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica, 2019) found elements in certain currents of French heterodox economic thinking that were capable of enriching their own reflections on Brazilian realities.
Among these currents of thought, we find those that deal with regulation theory: Boyer, Freyssenet, Aglietta, Coriat, Lipietz, Orléan… (Aglietta, 1997; Boyer & Cohen, 2010; Coriat, 1994; Mello, 2019), which is well known in Latin America (Castaingts-Teillery, 2014; de Mello Filho, 2019), and with the economics of convention (Boltanski & Chiapello, 1999; Boltanski & Thévenot, 1991; Eymard-Duvernay, 2004; Favereau, 1989; Orléan, 2004; Salais et Thévenot, 1986), an analysis of conventions that is a theory of collective action that seeks to overcome the contradictions of rational choice theory (Bessy & Favereau, 2003).
The works of this last current, particularly those by Boltanski and Thévenot (1991) on economies by of Grandeurs, turn the spotlight on the situation in which collective action occurs. It is constituted, according to the authors, by processes of justification and proof, and from this process emerges a plurality of meanings about what is just across several models of “worlds” (market, domestic, industrial, civic, of opinion, and of inspiration), without an external or determined hierarchy existing among them. The existence of these many conventions, therefore, makes it possible to produce a critique of a purely market view of action. These works, joining a certain number of Brazilian researchers reflections on substantive rationality in the footsteps of the Gueirrero Ramos pioneering work done in Brazil, are going to have some resonance among them (Serva, Caitano, Santos, & Siqueira, 2015).” (p. 11)

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