Archives mensuelles : octobre 2021

Bildungssoziologie in unterschiedlicher Gestalt: Handbuch, Lehrbuch, Klassikerausgabe und aktuelle Forschung

Sociology of education in different guises: handbook, textbook, classic edition, and current research

Wolfgang Ludwig-Mayerhofer (2021)

Soziologische Revue, 44(2): 263–278.

Auszug. “Ebenfalls den Blick auf Bildung in ihrem gesellschaftlichen Kontext erweitern kann man mit dem von ChristianImdorf, Regula Julia Leemann und Philipp Gonon herausgegebenen Sammelband. Auch hier finden wir theoretische Monokultur, die allerdings programmatisch und im Buchtitel noch klarer als im Fall des zuvor besprochenen Werkes angekündigt ist und sich außerdem eindeutig in der Zuordnung des Bandes zu einer von Rainer Diaz-Bone und Lisa Knoll herausgegebenen Buchreihe „Soziologie der Konventionen“ manifestiert. Der hier verwendete Begriff der Konvention folgt, das dürfte inzwischen weithin bekannt sein, weder dem allgemeinen Sprachgebrauch noch Max Weber, sondern ist einer der Signalbegriffe einer in Frankreich entstandenen theoretischen Orientierung, die an der Schnittstelle zwischen Ökonomie und Soziologie – und entsprechend in der Wirtschaftssoziologie – wohl die größte Aufmerksamkeit gefunden hat. (Mindestens einen der Herausgeber und die Herausgeberin sowie die Mehrzahl der AutorInnen des Bandes kann man in der Soziologie verorten, so dass der Verweis auf die „Economie des conventions“ im Untertitel etwas irritiert – vielleicht soll aber auch signalisiert werden, dass diese theoretische Strömung die Disziplingrenzen überschreitet.) In der Soziologie hat sich im Übrigen, soweit ich sehe, „Soziologie der Konventionen“ nicht als allgemein anerkannte Bezeichnung dieser Strömung durchgesetzt; in Anlehnung an die soziologische ‚Gründungsakte‘ (Boltanski/Thévenot, 1991) habe ich häufiger von „Soziologie (oder Theorie) der Rechtfertigung(sordnungen)“ sprechen hören, wieder in eine andere Richtung führt „Soziologie der kritischen Urteilskraft“ oder auch „Soziologie der Kritik“ (die Bezeichnung „Sociology of Critical Capacity“ ist im Englischen gängig).”

Extract. “Likewise, one can broaden the view of education in its social context with the volume edited by Christian Imdorf, Regula Julia Leemann and Philipp Gonon. Here, too, we find theoretical monoculture, which, however, is announced programmatically and in the book title even more clearly than in the case of the previously discussed work and, moreover, is clearly manifested in the assignment of the volume to a book series “Sociology of Conventions” edited by Rainer Diaz-Bone and Lisa Knoll. The term convention used here, it should be widely known by now, follows neither common usage nor Max Weber, but is one of the signal terms of a theoretical orientation that emerged in France and has probably received the most attention at the interface between economics and sociology-and, accordingly, in economic sociology. (At least one of the editors and the editor as well as the majority of the authors of the volume can be located in sociology, so that the reference to the “Economie des conventions” in the subtitle is somewhat misleading – but perhaps the intention is to signal that this theoretical current transcends disciplinary boundaries). In sociology, moreover, as far as I can see, “sociology of conventions” has not become established as a generally accepted name for this current; following the sociological ‘founding act’ (Boltanski/Thévenot, 1991), I have more often heard people speak of “sociology (or theory) of justification(s)”; again, leading in another direction is “sociology of critical judgment” or even “sociology of critique” (the term “sociology of critical capacity” is common in English).”

Esboço de uma sociologia dos problemas Íntimos

Outline of a sociology of intimate problems

Correa, Diogo Silva (2021)

Sociologia & Antropologia, 11(2), pp. 415-444. Open access.

Resumo. O objetivo deste artigo é apresentar uma sociologia, de inspiração pragmatista, dos problemas íntimos ou das autoinvestigações. Na primeira parte, exponho o conceito de investigação (inquiry), tal como foi tratado pela filosofia pragmatista americana. Em seguida, discuto como Luc Boltanski e Laurent Thévenot lhe conferem uma tonalidade sociológica. Em vez de fazer uma delimitação das formas elementares da investigação humana, como Dewey, eles propõem uma sociologia das investigações axiológicas dos atores. Na terceira parte, exponho como Francis Chateauraynaud, com Didier Torny, desloca a discussão em torno do acordo justo para as condições de felicidade da produção de um alerta eficaz, introduzindo na reflexão sobre a investigação a dimensão temporal. Por fim, proponho redirecionar a discussão para uma sociologia em escala individualizada, como em Bernard Lahire e Margaret Archer. Assim, pretendo propor uma sociologia dos problemas íntimos enquanto uma sociologia das autoinvestigações dos atores.

Abstract. The goal of this article is to present a sociology of intimate problems or of the self-inquiries. In the first part, I expose the concept of inquiry, as treated by pragmatist philosophy. Then I discuss how Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot give to it a sociological facet. Instead of delimiting the elementary forms of human inquiry, as John Dewey did, they propose a sociology of the actors’ axiological inquiries. In the third part, I expose how Francis Chateauraynaud, with Didier Torny, turns the discussion from the fair agreement to the conditions of happiness of the production of an effective whistleblower. Finally, I propose to redirect the discussion towards a sociology on an individual scale, as in Bernard Lahire and Margaret Archer works. Thus, I intend to propose a sociology of intimate problems as a sociology of actors’ self-inquiry.

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Planning for a Job. The Trying Experience of Unemployment During the COVID-19 Crisis in Denmark

Sabina Pultz, Magnus Paulsen Hansen & Helene Jepsen (2021)

International Perspectives in Psychology. Online first.

Abstract. Like most OECD countries, unemployed people in Denmark have been subject to activation policies imbued with rights and obligations for decades. However, during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, activation and conditionality were temporarily suspended. This article explores what happens to the experience of unemployment when part of the system is put on hold. Based on in-depth interviews conducted during the COVID-19 crisis with 25 unemployed people, we apply the theoretical framework of regimes of engagement developed by Laurent Thévenot to explore how unemployed people cope with and reflect on their situation. In doing so, we explore how the plans of the unemployed to find a job interact with or create tension between other engagements related to everyday life (family life, ideas about quality of life, etc.) as well as living up to the demands of public employment services. In this way, the suspension provides an opportunity to examine the effects of the active labor market programs through their absence.

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The politics of quality and geographic indications for non-timber forest products: Applying Convention Theory beyond food contexts

Ryo Kohsaka & Yoshitaka Miyake (2021)

Journal of Rural Studies, 88, pp. 28-39.

Abstract. This study examines how quality is defined, re-defined and dynamically formulated amongst stakeholders under political and global market pressures while registering geographical indications (GIs) for non-edible non-timber forestry products (NTFPs)—namely, Iwate Charcoal and Joboji Urushi—in Japan. To that end, Convention Theory is used as a framework for the two NTFPs as traditionally applied to manufacturing or edible products. This study investigates the following related factors: 1) the transition of convention types between NTFPs and its impact on registrations and 2) the impact of the convention types and values on the sales and sustainable use of forest resources. The study applies Convention Theory, inter alia Worlds of Production (and associated categories) coined by Storper and Salais (1997), because of its central focus on the formation of product qualities and the resulting consumption and materialistic relations. Historically, both products have been under pressure because of lower-priced imports and the substitution of the traditional energy source charcoal and material source urushi with petroleum products including oil and chemical lacuquer, respectively. Thus, the two GI registrations of NTFPs in this study were an attempt, among other options, to counter the influx of imports that results from economies of scale and technological development in scientific standardization. We observed changes in the conventions and analyzed dynamism with relevant concepts of “orders of worth,” propounded by Boltanski and Thévenot (2006), behind the four categories of Possible Worlds of Production (Market, Industrial, Interpersonal, and Intellectual Resources) proposed by Storper and Salais (1997).
Our question is as follows, “Did the GI process related to quality strengthen the existing convention or did it rather cause confrontation between conventions?” The two NTFPs provide us with unique and contrasting pathways. Through the GI process, there were negotiations, not necessarily verbal discussions, but ceremony-like events, involving nonverbal communications and technical testing, at sites to assure members and reach agreements on quality. Moreover, there are certain challenges for NTFP GIs when compared with agricultural products; obviously, there is no taste element (as both are non-edible) and the associations with consumers are possibly weaker than those with foods are. Even among NTFP products, the methods of setting standards (to compete, or to differentiate themselves, as “dedicated” products from imports of “generic” products in the Industrial World) differed. Iwate Charcoal developed as an industrial commodity and set a stricter scientific standard. Alternatively, in establishing its standard, Joboji Urushi appealed to its historical embeddedness emphasizing differences in quality resulting from variations by individual producer, local environment, and season. Participation in negotiations of quality, thus, makes producers sensitive to the needs of certain customers, such as personalized products or relationships with producers. As both are forestry products, conservation efforts (identifying individual urushi trees and replanting and coppicing after harvesting for charcoal) are practiced, which loosely resonates with consumers’ sustainability discourses. Yet, rather than green and environmental discourses, subtle associations between a nostalgic sense of “homeland,” pride in artisanship and tradition are strong factors in the promotion of domestic urushi products vis-à-vis imported competition. The comparisons are more technical in the case of charcoal with a degree of carbonization. Noteworthy registrations of non-edible NTFPs are rare in Japan (and absent in the European system). However, the producers were able to learn from, and surmount, the challenges of GI product quality agreed upon, while they achieved a new sense of solidarity.

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Are “data for good” good data? Research and data quality conceptions on the use of big data to study migration

Anna Pascale (2021)

Master thesis. Lausanne: University of Lausanne

Abstract. Moving from the large debate concerning the role of innovative data sources for social policies and official statistics on the one side, and the ethical concerns involving the use of big data for social research on the other side, this study aims at investigating the evolution of migration research in the big data era. It presents findings from a thematic analysis of transcripts obtained from semi-structured in-depth interviews exploring the experiences and perspectives of seven research and data experts involved in different levels on initiatives that aim to employ innovative data sources and techniques for social good projects unfolding in the field of migration. Interviews had a focus on questions of data quality, regarding both “old” and “new” data sources. Findings from the current study suggest that, in the datafied world, research is invested with an operational role oriented towards the formulation of politically relevant insights for which more timely and granular data are demanded, and current official statistics are consequently considered inadequate. The ethical risks associated with the use of big data in a field as sensitive as the one of migration and the necessary involvement of private companies (that hold the greatest part of such a digital knowledge) not only as data providers but, more importantly, as statistics makers, raises concerns about the risks of big data (mis)use, distribution of responsibilities between the public and private sector, and what role is left to official statistics, traditionally entrusted with providing society with a solid, accessible, and enduring complex of knowledge on its wellness.

Keywords: Official statistics, big data for good, research ethics, research conceptions, data quality, migration, in-depth interviews, economics of convention, solutionism.

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Compte-rendu de “Les Entreprises hyperpuissantes: Géants et Titans, la fin du modèle global ? François Lévêque (2021)”

Review of “François Lévêque (2021): Hyperpowerful Companies – Giants and Titans, the end of the global model. Paris: Odile Jacob”

Frédéric Marty (2021)

Concurrences, 3. Open access

Extrait. “L’application du droit de la concurrence est inséparable d’une dimension conventionnelle au sens de Robert Salais (2015) : elle repose sur des périodes de « consensus » dans lesquelles les qualifications et les standards vont de soi. Les années 2020-2021 représentent à ce titre une période de fragilisation extrême d’un consensus (ou du moins d’une opinion dominante) vieux quasiment d’un demi-siècle, conduisant à considérer la dominance comme la résultante de l’efficacité et non comme un obstacle au processus de concurrence.”

Extract. “The application of competition law is inseparable from a conventional dimension in the sense of Robert Salais (2015): it is based on periods of “consensus” in which qualifications and standards are taken for granted. In this respect, the years 2020-2021 represent a period of extreme fragility of a consensus (or at least of a dominant opinion) that is almost half a century old, leading to dominance being considered as the result of efficiency and not as an obstacle to the competition process.”

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Les normes ISO, entre soft law étendue et dessein biopolitique

ISO standards, between extensive soft law and biopolitical design

Jérôme Lamy, Philippe Schäfer & Vincent Helfrich (2021)

Preprint. A paraître dans les Cahiers, Droit, Sciences et Technologies, Presses universitaires d’Aix-Marseille, Open access

Résumé. Les normes ISO appartiennent au domaine de la soft law et s’imposent comme des normes d’application volontaire. L’article propose une sociologie politique de leur construction et de leur mise en pratique. Il s’agit donc de cerner la plasticité réglementaire des normes ISO : inscrits dans un continuum normatif, ces textes permettent des prises multiples et des acceptions larges. Leur format de rédaction travaille continûment cette labilité normative. En suivant la voie foucaldienne de la biopolitique et la potentialité d’une sociologie pragmatique attentive aux formats d’information, l’article conclut sur la double propriété politique des normes ISO : à la fois une tentative de couvrir l’ensemble des pratiques sociales et une puissance de contrainte assez lâche, précisément en raison de l’enveloppement extensif visé.

Abstract. ISO standards belong to the field of soft law and are imposed as voluntary standards. The article proposes a political sociology of their construction and implementation. The aim is to identify the regulatory plasticity that ISO standards allow: inscribed in a normative continuum, these soft laws give multiple intakes and broad acceptances. Their drafting format continuously works on this normative lability. Following the Foucauldian path of biopolitics and the potentiality of a pragmatic sociology attentive to information formats, the article concludes on the double political property of ISO standards: at the same time an attempt to cover the whole range of social practices and a rather loose power of constraint, precisely because of the extensive envelopment targeted.

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

Der Verlust normativer Selbstverständlichkeit – Zur Bedeutung des normativen Strukturwandels in rechtspopulistischen Orientierungen

The Loss of Normative Self-Evidence.
On the Significance of Normative Structural Change in Right-Wing Populist Orientations

Franck Schumann (2021)

In: Blättel-Mink, Birgit (ed.), Gesellschaft unter Spannung. Verhandlungen des 40. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie 2020. Essen: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie, pp. 1-7. Open access

Zusammenfassung. Der Beitrag entfaltet anhand der aktuellen Studienlage die These, dass ein Verlust normativer Selbstverständlichkeit ein wesentliches Motiv für die Wahl der Alternative für Deutschland darstellt. Damit ist gemeint, dass die normative Basis, auf der AfD-Wähler:innen bisher Ansprüche auf soziale und politische Teilhabe formuliert haben, in deren Wahrnehmung zunehmend erodiert. Um die These zu begründen, stellt der Beitrag zunächst auf Grundlage verschiedener Studien zwei Hinweise auf normativer Irritationen seitens der AfD-Wähler:innen vor: Erstens ein Gefühl der Benachteiligung und zweitens der Eindruck, dass ein soziales Ordnungsgefüge zerfällt. Anschließend werden diese Hinweise mit der Soziologie der Kritik von Luc Boltanski in einen theoretischen Rahmen überführt, der es erlaubt, das zentrale normative Prinzip zu rekonstruieren, welches in den Augen der AfD-Wähler:innen seiner Selbstverständlichkeit beraubt wurde: nämlich ein nativistisch verstandenes Leistungsprinzip, das Leistungsprämien für soziale und kulturelle Insider vergibt.

Abstract. On the basis of current studies, this article develops the thesis that a loss of normative self-evidence is a major motive for voting for the Alternative for Germany. This means that the normative basis on which AfD voters have so far formulated claims to social and political participation is increasingly eroding in their perception. To substantiate this thesis, the article first presents two indications of normative irritations on the part of AfD voters, based on various studies: First, a feeling of disadvantage and, second, the impression that a social order structure is disintegrating. Subsequently, Luc Boltanski’s sociology of critique is used to transform these indications into a theoretical framework that allows us to reconstruct the central normative principle that has been deprived of its self-evidence in the eyes of AfD voters: namely, a nativistically understood performance principle that awards performance bonuses to social and cultural insiders.

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Faire par l’intervention artistique

Prendre part à l’intervention artistique urbaine. Multiples engagements et appropriations : pour quelle figuration ?

Doing through artistic intervention. To take part in the urban artistic intervention. Multiple commitments and appropriations: for which figuration?

21 Octobre 2022, Pavvillon Sicli, Geneva, 13.00-17.00(15 PLACES) | ATELIER

L’atelier propose de réfléchir avec les participants sur les tensions inhérentes aux interventions artistiques urbaines impliquant un engagement participatif. Souvent laissées dans l’ombre, ces tensions pèsent lourdement sur le résultat tant artistique que politique de ces interventions. Sur inscription.

En croisant une expérience singulière menée en banlieue parisienne (Bobigny) par le sociologue Laurent Thévenot et l’artiste Yves Mettler (Bancbigny, extrait de son Atlas Europe Square) avec des interventions réalisées ou en cours à Genève (La Buissonnière, Parc de la Jonction, Cardinal Mermillod/PAV), trois questions majeures seront abordées à la lumière des difficultés rencontrées et des réponses originales apportées par l’expérience.

  1. La quête de participation des habitants est inscrite dans les projets réunissant des visées à la fois culturelles, sociales, urbaines et institutionnelles. Comment laisser ouverte la façon de prendre part sans la normaliser dans le mouvement général de la “ville garantie” (Marc Breviglieri)?
  2. L’expérience de la déprise de l’artiste par les diverses appropriations habitantes révèle les contradictions internes aux dispositifs participatifs artistiques. Comment anticiper leurs conséquences dans la prise en compte des attentes de l’administration de la ville et des habitants?
  3. Le rendu imagé, narratif et critique de l’intervention et de ses suites doit manifester ouvertures et tensions sans les couvrir. Comment “tirer le portrait” d’une urbanité en figurant les multiples voix et engagements des habitants de la Cité, qu’a suscités le projet participatif?

La mise en relation des trois questions permet d’esquisser une approche renouvelée des interventions artistiques urbaines participatives. En déplaçant l’objet pour faire avec la déprise le portrait d’une cité, et en évitant la confusion entre les parts prises par les habitants et par l’artiste, se dessine un geste artistique qui figure la vie de la communauté à partir de la violence qu’a déclenchée l’œuvre originellement projetée sur le territoire où elle a connu des accommodements pluriels.

Intervenante.s – Yves Mettler (artiste), Luca Pattaroni (sociologue, EPFL), Laurent Thevenot (sociologue, Haute Ecole de Sciences Sociales)

Which Place for Radical Trial in Genetic Structuralism and in Pragmatic Approach?

Alexander Bikbov (2021)

Società Mutamento Politica, 12(23), 91-100. Open Access.

Abstract. The article discusses the use of test / trial as a research tool proposed by different versions of sociology, namely by genetic structuralism owing to Pierre Bourdieu and by pragmatic approach assembled around the work of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot. The inquiry is contextualized in the author’s study of civic mobilization in Russia taking into consideration sustainability and contingencies of institutional frameworks which shape different types of test. A series of publications produced by both sociological currents and employing the concept of trial is examined in order to retrace its actuation in several research contexts. A special attention is granted to a problem of social structures in which test results are resumed. For this purpose, a more attentive reading is offered to Patrick Champagne’s and Dominique Marchetti’s paper on the affair of ‘contaminated blood’, and to the book by Nicolas Dodier on outcomes of AIDS epidemic. The results let conclude on the compatibility of pragmatic approach with the Foucauldian concept of dispositive, as well as on methodological implications of field theory in study of trials. Making use of examples from Russian protest movement, the article proposes to complete the typology of tests and to account radical tests which target the abnormal reality and the problematic self together with more conventional public trials and controversies mediated by sustainable institutions.

Link to the article

Varieties of green: On aesthetic contestations over urban sustainability pathways in a Copenhagen community garden

Jakob Laage-Thomsen & Anders Blok (2021)

Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 4(2), pp. 275-295.

Abstract. Alongside kindred civic-driven and place-based urban greening initiatives, studies document an upsurge over the last decade in urban gardening and alternative food initiatives across a range of Euro-American settings. Meanwhile, historical and cultural inquiries into urban design, planning and politics suggest that the place and role of ‘nature’ in the city is now undergoing significant shifts. In this article, we deploy a case study of a civic-driven permaculture garden in Copenhagen in order to suggest a novel analytical grid of the imaginative and material domain of public aesthetic norms shaping current-day tensions over interventions in and valuations of the fabric of multiform green-spaces in the city. Reading across existing literatures, we model this domain along two structuring axes – of ‘orderliness’ versus ‘wildness’ and ‘pastoral nature’ versus city-nature ‘imbrication’ – and illustrate the usefulness of the resulting grid for making sense of internal debates and external criticisms in the Copenhagen permaculture gardening case. By assisting us in explaining how and why this garden struggled to carve out a legitimate space in a city otherwise committed to urban nature, we argue that attention to variable urban-green aesthetic commitments helps recast questions of urban sustainability politics in important ways.

Extract: “Crucial for the claims we advance in the present article, and our ability to invest the proposed analytical grid (as presented in Figure 1) with empirical credibility, is the fact that our case study pertains to a wider digital mapping of what we call urban green communities in Danish cities. This includes in the range of 250 community gardens, biodiversity conservation grazing and kindred civic, practice- and place-based groups committed to urban greening and environmental improvement in cities, of which roughly one-third is located in Copenhagen. In a previous analysis (Laage-Thomsen and Blok, 2020), we deploy this material to locate recurrent patterns of group engagement styles, in the sense of variation in how groups position themselves vis-à-vis a broader urban politics of local and global sustainability. From this analysis, we know that Urban Garden X belongs to only a handful of larger and more publicly visible alternative gardening initiatives in Copenhagen, where members engage in both place-based forms of care and public criticism pertaining to wider issues of biodiversity and climate justice (Thévenot, 2014).”

Link to the article

The New Politics of Numbers – Utopia, Evidence and Democracy

Andreas Mennicken & Robert Salais (eds.)(2022)

Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. Open access.

About the book. This open access book offers unique insight into how and where ideas and instruments of quantification have been adopted, and how they have come to matter. Rather than asking what quantification is, New Politics of Numbers explores what quantification does, its manifold consequences in multiple domains. It scrutinizes the power of numbers in terms of the changing relations between numbers and democracy, the politics of evidence, and dreams and schemes of bettering society. The book engages Foucault inspired studies of quantification and the economics of convention in a critical dialogue. In so doing, it provides a rich account of the plurality of possible ways in which numbers have come to govern, highlighting not only their disciplinary effects, but also the collective mobilization capacities quantification can offer. This book will be invaluable reading for academics and graduate students in a wide variety of disciplines, as well as policymakers interested in the opportunities and pitfalls of governance by numbers.”


  • The New Politics of Numbers: An Introduction (Andrea Mennicken and Robert Salais)
  • Creating a Socialist Society and Quantification in the USSR (Martine Mespoulet)
  • The People’s Algorithms: Social Credits and the Rise of China’s Big (Br)other (Tong Lam)
  • Accounting for Who We Are and Could Be: Inventing Taxonomies of the Self in an Age of Uncertainty (Uwe Vormbusch)
  • Quantifying Inequality: From Contentious Politics to the Dream of an Indifferent Power (Ota De Leonardis)
  • Homo Statisticus: A History of France’s General Public Statistical Infrastructure on Population Since 1950 (Thomas Amossé)
  • A New Calculable Global World in the Making: Governing Through Transnational Certification Standards (Laurent Thévenot)
  • Do Performance Indicators Improve the Effectiveness of Development Aid? (Ousmane Oumarou Sidibé)
  • Archaeology of a Quantification Device: Quantification, Policies and Politics in French Higher Education (Corine Eyraud)
  • Quantification = Economization? Numbers, Ratings and Rankings in the Prison Service of England and Wales (Andrei Guter-Sandu and Andrea Mennicken)
  • The Shifting Legitimacies of Price Measurements: Official Statistics and the Quantification of Pwofitasyon in the 2009 Social Struggle in Guadeloupe (Boris Samuel)
  • “La donnée n’est pas un donné”: Statistics, Quantification and Democratic Choice (Robert Salais)
  • Free from Numbers? The Politics of Qualitative Sociology in the U.S. Since 1945 (Emmanuel Didier)
  • Afterword: Quantifying, Mediating and Intervening: The R Number and the Politics of Health in the Twenty-First Century (Peter Miller)

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Job offer “Wissenschaftliche:r Mitarbeiter:in Bildungswissenschaftliche Forschung”

Job offer “Research Associate Educational Science Research” 

Job offer at the Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich. Die Stelle ist dem konventionentheoretisch arbeitenden Bildungssoziologen und Methodiker Kenneth Horvath zugeordnet, der ab dem 01.01.2022 an der PH Zürich eine Professur antreten wird.

Job offer at Zurich University of Teacher Education. The position is assigned to Kenneth Horvath, an educational sociologist and methodologist working in the field of convention theory, who will take up a professorship at the Zurich University of Teacher Education as of 01.01.2022.

“Diese Stelle ist inhaltlich Teil eines Forschungszusammenhangs, der sich dem Thema «Pädagogische Wissensordnungen im gesellschaftlichen Wandel» widmet. In diesem Rahmen zeichnet sich ein breites Spektrum an denkbaren Gegenständen für qualitative wie quantitative Forschungsarbeiten ab. Dazu zählen zum Beispiel sich verändernde Vorstellungen von Bildungs­qualität und -gerechtigkeit, Logiken der (Leistungs-)Bewertung und der sozialen Klassifikation im Bildungsalltag, Wahrnehmungen und Deutungen von (migrationsgesellschaftlicher) Diversität und Ungleichheit in schulischen Kontexten oder das Wechselspiel von politischen, pädagogischen und wissenschaftlichen Diskursen in Zeiten eines tiefgreifenden technologischen Wandels. Von besonderem Interesse sind darüber hinaus Arbeiten, die – an der Schnittstelle von Bildungs­wissen­schaften und Wissenschaftsforschung – sozialwissenschaftliche Wissensproduktion selbst empirisch in den Blick nehmen und diese in ihren vielfältigen Bezügen zu pädagogischer Praxis, Lehrer:innenbildung und Bildungspolitik analysieren.”

“In terms of content, this position is part of a research context dedicated to the topic of “Pedagogical Knowledge Orders in Social Change.” Within this framework, a broad spectrum of conceivable subjects for qualitative as well as quantitative research is emerging. These include, for example, changing notions of educational quality and equity, logics of (performance) assessment and social classification in everyday education, perceptions and interpretations of (migration-society) diversity and inequality in school contexts, or the interplay of political, educational, and scientific discourses in times of profound technological change. Of particular interest are also works that – at the interface of educational science and science research – empirically examine social science knowledge production itself and analyze it in its manifold relations to pedagogical practice, teacher training, and educational policy.”

Deadline: 31 October 2021

Testing elite transnational education and contesting orders of worth in the face of a pandemic

Rebecca Ye (2021)

Educational Review, pp. 1-16. Online first.

Abstract. This paper considers the COVID-19 pandemic as a test that has disrupted the flow of a particular type of social and physical mobility. It takes pathways embarked upon by students from Asian countries to “prestigious” anglophone universities as its focal point of analysis, considering how the residential, consecratory experience of attending elite institutions has been disrupted when universities go virtual or as students are prevented from travelling to their university’s country destination. Building theoretically on the sociology of conventions and testing, I analyse public institutional responses at the commencement of the outbreak from elite universities in the US and the UK, which have hosted large numbers of students from Asian countries in past decades. This paper focuses on how these universities responded to international students under conditions of uncertainty, examining how they justify their role, purpose and operations, while canvassing for continued support from this student segment. The findings highlight contesting orders of worth between states and institutions, as clashes between market, civic and domestic regimes exert significant pressures on organisational efforts to coordinate and cope during this critical moment, thereby raising questions about how prevailing logics of elite transnational education have been altered in the face of a pandemic.

Link to the article