Archives mensuelles : novembre 2021

Organizing natures : Justification and critique in the development of organic agriculture in Finland

Tomi Lehtimäki (2021)

Cumulative PhD thesis. Helsinki: University of Helsinki.

Abstract. As societies are facing increasing pressures set by environmental problems, the need to find alternative solutions has become more urgent. In this context, agriculture and food have been identified as one central sector, where change is needed. In the search for alternatives, organic agriculture has emerged as a central option to transform agricultural systems to more sustainable ways of operating. Additionally, organic agriculture aims to address other problems associated with the industrialization of agriculture and food, such as those related to food quality. Organic agriculture offers an alternative way to understand what agriculture and food are about, bringing in other values than those of efficiency and profit. At the same time, organic agriculture has been a heavily contested issue, as some have questioned its capability to actually address the problems that food systems currently face. By using an analytical framework based on pragmatic sociology (or conventions theory), developed originally by Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot, this dissertation examines the development of organic agriculture in Finland. The thesis is situated into the discussion concerning the values of organic agriculture. Previous discussions, most notably those rooted in political economy, have conceptualized the development and institutionalization of organic agriculture as a process where values are gradually replaced by economic incentives. Instead of being able to bring in alternative values, such as ecology, care or fairness, organic agriculture is seen as becoming increasingly market-driven. Not only is this development seen to make organic agriculture similar to conventional production in terms of principles and values, but also in its material composition, as organic products, for example, become only slightly different from their conventional counterparts. The approach applied in this thesis challenges this view and aims to reverse this setting. Instead of taking organic agriculture as the value-driven alternative (and examining how it either loses or maintains these values), the various analyses examine how the value(s) of organic agriculture is constructed. From this perspective, the debate concerns whether organic agriculture offers a meaningfully different alternative, through which the sustainability of food systems can be achieved. Therefore, using the pragmatic sociological approach, the development of organic agriculture is not examined only as economization, but as shaping it according to various forms of worth. The thesis examines various conflict situations, where organic and conventional agriculture are set against each other, and where actors need to justify either alternative. The construction of these justifications is then analyzed as processes of sense-making, where actors shape organic agriculture according to different “orders of worth.” The thesis is based on four research articles. Article I examines debates about organic agriculture in news media. Focusing on three different periods (1982-88, 1995-2000, and 2008-2012) in two newspapers, Helsingin Sanomat and Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, the article examines the development of justifications for and against organic agriculture. Article II examines the early period of organic agriculture in Finland. Focusing on the years between 1980 and 1991, the article shows how the difference between organic and conventional agriculture was already then a contested topic. The article examines how the difference between the two agricultural systems and their products was constructed through various forms of worth. Article III continues this discussion and applies the analytical approach of the thesis to the institutionalization of organic agriculture. The article analyzes various policy papers, strategies and studies on organic agriculture, asking, how the inclusion of organic agriculture was justified in them. Article IV then reverses this setting, using the case of organic agriculture to develop pragmatic sociology. By using the three empirical studies, the article focuses on developing the perspective green or ecological justification. The findings of these individual articles are then elaborated into four central ways according to which the difference between organic and conventional agriculture has been constructed. First, the green difference describes how organic agriculture has been established as an ecological alternative that has the capacity to address environmental problems. Second, what is termed as the problematic difference addresses the economization of organic agriculture and the construction of the difference based on economic valuations. Third, the contested difference describes how the existence of a meaningful difference has been questioned, especially by those drawing from a natural scientific point of view. And, fourth, the contextualized difference examines how a national framework of reference has also questioned the existence of a difference, here with reference to the qualities of Finnish production and food. Together these form of constructing the difference between organic and conventional agriculture have influenced both the development of organic agriculture and Finnish agricultural production.

Ekologisten ongelmien asettaessa yhä suurempia paineita yhteiskunnille, on tarve löytää uusia ratkaisuja ja toimintamalleja noussut myös yhä keskeisemmäksi. Ruoantuotannon on todettu olevan yksi keskeisimmistä ihmisten toiminnan alueista, jossa muutoksia kohti ekologisempia toimintatapoja tulisi löytää. Tässä kontekstissa luomutuotanto on noussut yhdeksi niistä vaihtoehdoista, joiden avulla ruoantuotantoa olisi mahdollista kehittää. Tässä väitöskirjassa tarkastellaan luomutuotannon kehittymistä Suomessa, käyttäen Luc Boltanskin ja Laurent Thévenot’n alkujaan kehittämästä pragmatistisesta sosiologiasta saatuja näkökulmia. Tutkimus keskittyy erityisesti luomutuotannon arvoja koskevaan keskusteluun. Aikaisemmissa tutkimuksissa luomutuotannon kehitys on hahmotettu prosessiksi, jossa luomutuotannon arvot syrjäytyvät hiljalleen ja korvautuvat lähtökohtaisesti talouskeskeisillä toimintamalleilla. Tämä väitöstutkimus haastaa yllä kuvaillun lähestymistavan ja pyrkii kääntämään asetelman ympäri. Sen sijaan, että luomun oletettaisiin olevan arvolähtöinen vaihtoehto (ja keskittyen tutkimaan esimerkiksi arvojen katoamista), tutkimuksessa tarkastellaan kuinka luomun arvoja on rakennettu eri tilanteissa. Tarkastelussa keskitytään siten siihen, kuinka luomusta on rakennettu vaihtoehtoa, joka pystyy tarjoamaan merkityksellisen vaihtoehdon tavanomaiselle tuotannolle, ja jonka kautta ruokajärjestelmien kestävyyshaasteisiin voidaan vastata. Tutkimuksessa tarkastellaan erilaisia konflikteja, joissa luomu ja tavanomainen tuotanto on asetettu toisiaan vastaan ja joissa toimijat joutuvat oikeuttamaan näitä eri vaihtoehtoja. Näiden tilanteiden kautta rakentuvia oikeutuksia on tarkasteltu prosesseina, joissa luomutuotantoa on muokattu erilaisten arvomuotojen mukaan, ja joissa sen arvon siten nähdään muodostuvan. Työ perustuu neljään tutkimusartikkeliin. Artikkeli I tarkastelee luomua koskevia kiistoja mediassa. Artikkelissa keskitytään kolmeen ajanjaksoon (1982–1988, 1995–2000 ja 2008–2012) kahdessa eri sanomalehdessä (Helsingin Sanomat ja Maaseudun Tulevaisuus), joiden kautta luomun oikeutusten kehitystä tarkastellaan. Artikkelissa II keskittyy tarkastelemaan luomun varhaisempaa kautta Suomessa. Keskittyen vuosiin 1980–1991, artikkeli osoittaa, että luomun ja tavanomaisen tuotannon välinen ero oli kiistojen aihe jo tässä vaiheessa. Artikkeli III jatkaa tätä keskustelua ja soveltaa aikaisemmissa artikkeleissa kehitettyä analyyttistä lähestymistapaa luomun institutionalisoitumisen tutkimiseen. Keskittyen vuosiin 1991–2015, artikkelissa analysoidaan politiikkaohjelmia, strategioita ja tutkimuksia, tarkastellen, kuinka luomua on oikeutettu niissä. Artikkelissa IV huomio kiinnitetään pragmaattisen sosiologian kehittämiseen, jossa materiaalina käytetään aikaisempien artikkelien luomua koskevia analyysejä. Näiden kautta keskitytään kehittämään ekologisen oikeuttamisen näkökulmaa. Artikkeleiden tulosten perusteella työssä luokitellaan neljä keskeistä muotoa tai erontekoa, joiden kautta luomun ja tavanomaisen tuotannon eroa on rakennettu. Ekologisten erontekojen kautta tuodaan esiin, kuinka luomutuotanto on erottautunut ympäristöystävällisempänä tuotantomuotona, jonka kautta ruoantuotannon ekologisia ongelmia on pyritty hoitamaan. Toiseksi, luomun ja tavanomaisen tuotannon eroa on rakennettu taloudellisten erontekojen kautta. Kolmanneksi, luomun ja tavanomaisen eroa on lähestytty kyseenalaistamalla sen merkityksellisyys, erityisesti vedoten luonnontieteelliseen tietoon. Ja neljänneksi, luomun ja tavanomaisen ero on pyritty kontekstualisoimaan kansalliseen viitekehykseen, jossa luomun vastinpariksi muodostuu tavanomaisen tuotannon sijasta kotimainen tuotanto. Työn johtopäätökset korostavat siten, että luomutuotannon kehitystä ja ruoantuotannon kestävyyttä tarkastellessa tulisi ottaa huomioon tämä erontekojen moninaisuus sekä niiden keskinäiset suhteet.

Link to the thesis

Measurement at the crossroads

Nadine de Courtenay, Fabien Grégis, jan Lacki & Christine Proust (2021)

Perspectives on Science, 29(6): 681–700.

Extract: “… While British critical accounting research, from the 1980s onwards, often followed a Foucauldian trajectory, French conventionalists were simultaneously leaving Bourdieu and Foucault behind by highlighting the practical capabilities of individual actors enmeshed in conventions (Desrosières 2011; Diaz-Bone & Salais, 2011; Diaz-Bone & Didier, 2016; Thévenot in this volume). At the intersection of these two frameworks, self-quantification emerges as a contemporary “institution of the self”, not displacing but co-existing with established technologies of the self, such as religious confession, therapeutic and psychoanalytic approaches to identity and authenticity (Noji & Vormbusch, 2018).”

Link to the article

Bildungsaufstiege in der Krise? Auswirkungen der Corona-Pandemie auf First Generation Students

Educational Advancement in Crisis? Effects of the Corona Pandemic on First Generation Students

Arne Böker (Universität Halle-Wittenberg)

Video lecture, Wednesday, November 24, 2021 (via Zoom) at the Colloquium Social Research at the University of Lucerne.

Zusammenfassung. Intergenerationale Bildungsaufstiege wurden bislang selten im Hinblick auf die gesellschaftlichen Bedingungen, die sie ermöglichen oder erschweren, analysiert. Mit dem Beginn der Corona-Pandemie ist deren Bedeutung zugleich unmittelbar erfahrbar geworden. Daher hat sich die Bildungs- und Hochschulforschung auch der Situation von Studierenden während der Pandemie zugewandt. Allerdings wird dabei die Gruppe der Studierenden selten ausdifferenziert, weshalb die Folgen für Bildungsaufsteiger.innen bislang offenbleiben und die Bedeutung der sozialen Herkunft häufig in den Hintergrund rückt. Im Vortrag wird auf Basis erster Interviewauswertungen die Studiensituation von Bildungsaufsteiger.innen während der Corona-Pandemie thematisiert. Unter Bezugnahme auf (neo-)pragmatische Theorien stehen Hürden und Ressourcen auf individueller, familiärer, institutioneller und gesellschaftlicher Ebene im Fokus.

Abstract. Intergenerational educational advancement has rarely been analyzed in terms of the social conditions that enable or impede it. At the same time, with the onset of the Corona pandemic, their significance has become directly tangible. Therefore, research on education and higher education has also turned to the situation of students during the pandemic. However, the group of students is seldom differentiated, which is why the consequences for those moving up the educational ladder remain open and the significance of social background is often relegated to the background. In the lecture, the study situation of educationally promoted students during the Corona pandemic will be discussed on the basis of first interview analyses. With reference to (neo-)pragmatic theories, the focus will be on hurdles and resources on an individual, family, institutional and societal level.

Sociologie de la quantification

Anaïs Henneguelle & Arthur Jatteau (2021)

Paris: La Découverte.

D’où viennent les statistiques et comment sont-elles conçues, qu’il s’agisse des chiffres du chômage ou de ceux de la délinquance, en passant par le PIB ? La quantification sert-elle à mesurer la réalité sociale ou contribue-t-elle surtout à la construire ? Comment les statistiques sont-elles utilisées pour piloter l’action publique ? Quels sont les effets sociaux et politiques des chiffres ?
Ces questions apparaissent incontournables pour toute personne s’intéressant aux sciences sociales, qu’elle soit étudiante, enseignante ou chercheuse, mais également pour tout citoyen curieux de mieux appréhender la force politique du chiffre. Pour y répondre, cet ouvrage explore la naissance des statistiques, décrit comment elles sont construites socialement, décrypte les grands indicateurs utilisés dans le monde économique et social, et analyse le pouvoir du chiffre au travers de la « gouvernance par les nombres ».

Lien vers l’éditeur/ink to the book

From Value to Valuation: Pragmatist and Hermeneutic Orientations for Assessing Science on the International Space Station

Paola Castaño (2021)

American Sociologist, pp. 1-31. Open access.

Abstract. Based on a study of the International Space Station (ISS), this paper argues that – as a set of orientations for sociological inquiry – pragmatism and hermeneutics are confluent frameworks to examine valuation as a social process. This confluence is grounded on their common attunement to valuing as a problematic and relational process, their equally common updates with theories of institutions, and a further conceptual development regarding the temporalities of valuation. I advance the argument in four steps. First, looking at how the question about the “scientific value” of the ISS is far from settled, I show how valuation is always about something considered problematic and indeterminate. Second, characterizing the ISS at the intersection of different criteria of assessment, I stress the nature of valuation as a fundamentally perspectival and interpretive process, and show how a hermeneutic approach can complement some of the limitations of pragmatism in this regard. Third, I look at the question of institutions considering how some modes of assessment sediment more successfully than others. Fourth, I argue that, while providing insights towards it, pragmatist and hermeneutic approaches to valuation have not fully grasped its temporal nature as a process, and outline ways to open this line of inquiry. I conclude with some ideas for studies in sociology of science to re-entangle detailed case studies of scientific practice with the study of how institutions make claims of worth about the nature of science, I propose ways to extend these arguments to other studies of what I call iridescent institutions, and I make some considerations about our stance as sociologists in these valuation disputes.

Extract: “Diverse Stakeholders with Equally Diverse Criteria to Assess Worth Given its broad promises and areas of operation, the ISS is embedded in what, using Boltanski and Thévenot’s (2006) terminology, is a plurality of grammars of evaluation. Regarding research, the station holds the heavy weight of accountability for its “science return,” and articulates it in terms of benefits and impact. Program officials characterize the complexity of the undertaking in these terms: “Because of the unique microgravity environment of the ISS laboratory, the multidisciplinary and international nature of the research, and the significance of the investment in its development, analyzing ISS scientific impacts is an exceptional challenge” (ISS Program Science Forum, 2018, 39). More specifically, the task entails, again in their words, developing “appropriate metrics to communicate the impacts of ISS utilization, which have come in both tangible and intangible forms” (Ruttley et al., 2017, 1163).” (p. 8)

Link to the article

Managing dissonance: Bureaucratic justice and public procurement

Richard Craven (2021)

Regulation and Governance, pp. 1-19.

Abstract. This article puts forward an analytical framework for understanding administrative justice. It does so by reading a leading approach, Jerry Mashaw’s administrative justice models, in conjunction with the pragmatic sociology of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot, and their orders of worth framework. This provides an enhanced framework, which, while remaining consistent with Mashaw, offers additional insights and is particularly suitable for analyzing decisionmaking environments in the modern contracting state. The article illustrates the workings of the new framework by looking at a controversy under UK and EU law concerning the inclusion of labor objectives in public procurement. The discussion reveals a decisionmaking environment characterized by system dissonance. Actors must navigate different sets of tensions and tradeoffs between competing normative and ethical visions for procurement decisionmaking.

Link to the article

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

Rethinking Finance in the Face of New Challenges

David Bourghelle, Roland Pérez & Philippe Rozin (eds.) (2021)

Bingley: Emerald

Rethinking Finance in the Face of New Challenges provides an overview of the new research perspectives devoted to financial activity, reconsidering the opposition between orthodox and heterodox schools of finance. The purpose is to identify new theoretical and practical issues around the concepts of values, radical uncertainty, and financial instability, but also to examine the consequences of the financialisation process on the dynamics of organisations and markets, as well as on value production mechanisms.
This fifteenth volume of Critical Studies on Corporate Responsibility, Governance and Sustainability begins by exploring the globalisation and financialisation of economies, central banks and corporate strategies before switching to focus on financial value as a historically situated social construct. The book then examines the relationship between finance, social value and sustainable development and presents several avenues for reflection with a view to a paradigmatic renewal of research and teaching in finance.
At a time when an unprecedented infectious and sanitary crisis is generating disastrous financial, economic, social and societal repercussions, the work presented in this book will stimulate reflection and contribute to the renewal of a Finance that now has to face many new social, societal and environmental challenges.

Table of contents

Preface. Financial Values as Social Fact; Andre Orléan
Introduction. Rethinking Finance In The Face Of New Social, Societal and Environmental Challenges; David Bourghelle and Philippe Rozin
Part I. Finance, Financialization In A Global Market Introduction. Finance and Financialisation In A Global World; Yamina Tadjeddine
Chapter 1. Financial Instability and Temporality Conflicts In Financialized Capitalism; Renaud du Tertre
Chapter 2. Unconventional Monetary Policies: New Normal Or ‘‘Black Hole”? 2019: The Year Of Truth; Jacques Ninet
Chapter 3. On The Financialization Of Business Strategies; Roland Pérez
Chapter 4. How To Fight Financialization; Paul Jorion
Part II. The Construction Of Financial Values: An Historical Perspective Introduction: The Construction Of Financial Values: A Historical Perspective; Catherine Karyotis
Chapter 5. Paving The Way Towards Financialization: The French Case Of State Venality Of Offices (Century15th-17th; Nicolas Pinsard
Chapter 6. The Institutional Architecture Of Value: Appraisals and The Formation Of Bubbles In The Financialized Real Estate Sector; Marine Duros
Chapter 7. Accounting As A Political Object; Edouard Jourdain
Part III. Social Reality and The New Financial Structures: Sustainable and Participatory Finance Introduction. Responsible Finance and Social Impact: Assessing Alternative Forms Of Social Engagement and Value Creation; Sharam Alijani
Chapter 8. Social Impacts and Their Contracts; Florence Jany-Catrice and Marion Studer
Chapter 9. The Crowdfunding: Towards A Commodification Of Generosity?; Amélie Artis and Virginie Monvoisin
Chapter 10. Sustainable Finance: Concepts, Analyses and Perspectives; Dhafer Saidane and Sana Ben Abdallah
Part IV. Finance, Markets and Society: Rethinking The Paradigm? Introduction. Finance, Markets and Society: Rethinking The Paradigm; Roland Pérez
Chapter 11. Economics and Finance: The Monopoly and Dangers Of The Mainstream School Of Thought; Marc Chesney
Chapter 12. Can Behavioral Finance Be The Foundation For New Regulation?; Sabrina Chikh and Pascal Grandin
Chapter 13. Collective Affects and Speculative Bubbles In Financial Markets: A Spinozist Perspective; David Bourghelle and Philippe Rozin
Chapter 14. Teaching Finance Through A Social Science Lens; Stéphanie Serve and Yamina Tadjeddine
Conclusion. Finance and Sustainability: An Integrated Thinking; Thomas Lagoarde-Segot, Roland Pérez, and William Sun
Postscript; Michel Levasseur

“However, heterodox approaches that are alternatives to standard theory offer innovative conceptual frameworks, able to give a different perspective (behavioural finaroe, fiancial convention theory, regulation theory, sustainable finance, social studies of finance, etc.).” (Bourghelle & Rozin, p. 2)

“This chapter considers financial instability as a phenomenon endogenous to the functioning of capitalism. Consequently, it seeks to identify the main sources and different forms of the latter in financialised capitalism. According to Keynes, capital assets prices are conceived as the expression of financial conventions. It is, therefore, important to distinguish between the returns expected by company directors, bankers, holders of equity titles, risk-takers and, in contrast, risk-averse holders of debt securities. Minsky enriches the analysis by attributing a decisive role to the leverage effect, at the origin of an accumulation of financial weaknesses in the balance sheets of non-financial agents during the expansion phases preceding financial crises. Regulation theory leads to the introduction of a distinction between the financial accelerator and the leverage effect. The first establishes a procyclical relationship at the macroeconomic level between the price of capital assets and the debt ratio of non-financial agents; the second acts at the microeconomic level through shareholder corporate governance, which determines the institutional conditions inciting firm directors to integrate shareholder expectations into their return forecasts. The empirical analysis identifies three forms of financial instability in financialised capitalism: the long-term financial cycle governed by the debt ratio of non-financial agents; the business cycle governed by the impact of stock prices on investment; and the short-term or even very short-term expected return revisions of financial actors. Its originality is to show that these three forms of instability acquire different characteristics depending on the national economy considered.” (Renaud du Tertre, p. 13)

“This paper analyses the construction of value under the context of radical uncertainty (Keynes, 1936; Orléan, 1987) in the financialised real estate sector in France. It is based on a participant observation of valuation practices in an international real estate consulting firm and 26 in-depth interviews with professionals of the sector. We show that these practices rely on an institutional architecture that participates in the consolidation and legitimisation of the accumulation activity of asset managers and thus in the feeding of real estate bubbles in the hearts of large metropolises. Completing the conventionalist approach of value (Orléan, 2011) by focussing on the functioning of the organisations involved in the valuation process, I show that the determination of value is less the result of the emergence and autonomisation of a collective belief through market relationships than the product of power relationships between agents integrated in hierarchical professional organisations and in a specific legal framework.” (Marine Duros, p. 115)

Link to the book

Download Cover/Contents/Preface (A. Orléan)/Introduction (D. Bourghelle & Ph. Rozin)

Macht Statistik zum Pflichtfach! Corona Die Pandemie zeigt, dass wir „die Zahlen“ lesen lernen müssen – überall Kurven, Modelle, Indikatoren. Und die Frage: Was sagen sie uns?

Make statistics a compulsory subject! Corona The pandemic shows that we have to learn to read “the numbers” – curves, models, indicators everywhere. And the question: What do they tell us?

Rainer Diaz-Bone (2021)

Freitag, 42. Open access

Auszug: “Im Gegensatz zum lateinischen Wortsinn – Datum: das Gegebene – sind Daten eben nicht einfach „da“. Sie müssen erst produziert werden. Das aber kann in verschiedener Weise erfolgen. Das Aufkommen sozialer Bewegungen wie „Open Data“, „Citizen Science“ oder „Statactivism“ zeigt, dass eine Pluralität konfligierender Datenwelten existiert. Gesellschaftliche Daten sind nicht objektive Abbildungen, keine rein technischen Messungen sozialer Sachverhalte. Denn die Messung sozialer Sachverhalte erfordert zunächst soziale Konventionen, wie gemessen und wie Indikatoren entwickelt und implementiert werden sollen. Erst so können Indikatoren gesellschaftlich akzeptiert und etabliert werden, um politischer Steuerung und sozialem Handeln im Sinne kollektiver Ziele und des Gemeinwohls zu dienen.”

Extract: “In contrast to the Latin sense of the word – date: the given – data are not simply “there”. They must first be produced. But this can be done in various ways. The emergence of social movements such as “Open Data”, “Citizen Science” or “Statactivism” shows that a plurality of conflicting data worlds exists. Social data are not objective images, not purely technical measurements of social facts. This is because the measurement of social facts first requires social conventions on how to measure and how to develop and implement indicators. Only then can indicators be socially accepted and established to serve political control and social action in terms of collective goals and the common good.”

Link to the article

Note de lecture de “Philippe Eon, La Société, la politique et moi. Pourquoi je n’en peux plus de l’intérêt général, Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2019.”

Roberto Zambiasi (2021)

Revue philosophique de la France et de l’étranger, 2021/4 (no 146), pp. 573-574.

Introduction : “Philippe Eon part du constat de la disparition de la politique de nos vies et, surtout, de nos sociétés. Si nous vivons bien évidemment dans une société comportant des acteurs, des institutions et des enjeux proprement politiques, deux éléments constitutifs de toute communauté politique semblent faire défaut aujourd’hui : d’un côté il n’y a plus d’espace public où les membres de la communauté puissent discuter de façon constructive et argumentée afin de décider ensemble leurs priorités, et de l’autre côté il n’y a plus d’actions des pouvoirs publics qui soient l’expression des soucis partagés par les membres de la communauté. Ce constat n’a rien d’original, mais l’auteur suggère que la raison du phénomène n’a pas encore été reconnue. Pour lui, le coupable n’est rien de moins que la notion d’intérêt général, ou mieux la façon dont elle est utilisée : il soutient que, lorsqu’on invoque l’intérêt général, on généralise sa propre situation existentielle à l’ensemble de sa société, et on assume par conséquent que ses problèmes, ses attentes et ses espoirs sont les mêmes que ceux de tous les autres membres de la société. En conséquence, les acteurs politiques, confrontés à des généralisations incompatibles qui se réclament toutes de l’intérêt général, peuvent utiliser cette notion pour imposer leurs propres généralisations au travers de l’action des pouvoirs publics.
Dans les onze brefs chapitres de l’ouvrage, Philippe Eon essaie donc de présenter une critique de la notion d’intérêt général et une alternative théorique : il retrace la genèse de la notion dans les théories modernes du contrat social, et il en critique (comme bien d’autres avant lui) la caractérisation abstraite des individus contractants ; il fait appel, ensuite, au concept de « régimes d’engagements » proposé par le sociologue Laurent Thévenot pour montrer que, avant d’avoir une quelconque possibilité d’établir un contrat social, les individus sont déjà, à des degrés différents, membres de groupes sociaux (de la famille jusqu’à l’État) qui en conditionnent l’action et le rapport à la collectivité ; il montre par conséquent de quelle façon des individus ayant des intérêts en commun pourraient se constituer en un véritable « public », au sens de John Dewey, pour changer la réalité collective dans laquelle ils vivent ; il esquisse, enfin, un tableau d’une politique du commun (qui devient, en ce contexte, synonyme de « bien commun »), fondée sur les degrés croissants des intérêts en commun des membres de la communauté (loisirs, activités économiques, activités liées à la connaissance) et les différentes modalités du commun (le langage, la loi et l’appartenance à un environnement partagé, qu’il soit naturel ou culturel)…”

Review of “Philippe Eon (2019): La Société, la politique et moi. Pourquoi je n’en peux plus de l’intérêt general” [Society, politics and me. Why I can’t stand the general interest anymore]. Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval.

Introduction: “Philippe Eon starts from the observation that politics has disappeared from our lives and, especially, from our societies. While we obviously live in a society with actors, institutions and issues that are properly political, two elements of any political community seem to be missing today: on the one hand, there is no longer a public space where the members of the community can discuss in a constructive and argued manner in order to decide together on their priorities, and on the other hand, there are no longer any actions by the public authorities that are the expression of the concerns shared by the members of the community. This observation is not original, but the author suggests that the reason for the phenomenon has not yet been recognized. For him, the culprit is nothing less than the notion of general interest, or rather the way it is used: he argues that when one invokes the general interest, one generalizes one’s own existential situation to the whole of one’s society, and therefore assumes that one’s problems, expectations and hopes are the same as those of all other members of society. Consequently, political actors, faced with incompatible generalizations that all claim to be in the general interest, can use this notion to impose their own generalizations through government action.
In the eleven short chapters of this book, Philippe Eon attempts to present a critique of the notion of general interest and a theoretical alternative: he traces the genesis of the notion in modern theories of the social contract, and he criticizes (like many others before him) the abstract characterization of the contracting individuals; he then appeals to the concept of “regimes of commitments” proposed by the sociologist Laurent Thévenot to show that, before having any possibility of establishing a social contract, the individuals are already, to different degrees, members of social groups (from the family to the State) which condition their action and their relation to the collectivity; it shows consequently how individuals having interests in common could constitute themselves in a real “public”, in the sense of John Dewey, to change the collective reality in which they live; he sketches, finally, a picture of a politics of the common (which becomes, in this con-text, synonymous with “common good”), based on the increasing degrees of common interests of the members of the community (leisure, economic activities, knowledge-related activities) and the different modalities of the common (language, law and belonging to a shared environment, whether natural or cultural)… “

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Taistelu Talvivaarasta : julkisen oikeuttamisen analyysi Talvivaaran kaivostoimintaa koskevasta keskustelusta

The battle for Talvivaara: an analysis of public legitimacy in the debate on Talvivaara mining

Sami Ahlqvist (2021)

MA thesis, University of Jyväskylä.

Abstract. Tutkielmassa tarkastellaan keskustelua Talvivaaran kaivostoiminnasta Luc Boltanskin ja Laurent Thévenot’n oikeuttamisteorian viitekehyksessä. Tutkielman tavoitteena on selvittää, millaisia oikeuttamistapoja Talvivaaran toimintaa kritisoivat ja puolustavat henkilöt käyttävät vaateidensa tukena. Tutkielman aineisto koostuu Kainuun Sanomissa 1.1.2012 – 31.12.2014 välillä julkaistuista mielipidekirjoituksista. Mielipidekirjoituksia on yhteensä 46 kappaletta ja niissä esiintyy 52 vaadetta, joiden yhteydessä esiintyy yhteensä 143 erillistä oikeutustapahtumaa. Tutkielman analyysi tapahtuu julkisen oikeuttamisen analyysimenetelmän avulla. Analyysissa tarkasteltavia muuttujia on kuusi, mutta tutkielman ensisijainen fokus on käytetyissä oikeutuksissa. Talvivaaraa koskevan keskustelun ytimessä olivat huoli kaivoksen ympäristövaikutuksista, markkinakritiikki sekä huoli Talvivaaran tuottamien työpaikkojen säilyvyydestä. Kannanottoja oli sekä puolesta että vastaan. Vastustavassa puheessa painottuivat ekologiaoikeutukset ja puolustavassa vedottiin erityisesti teollisuuden maailman mukaisiin arvoihin. Kompromisseja ja ratkaisuja etsittiin erityisesti työllisyysvaikutusten ja ympäristövaikutusten väliltä. Tutkimuksen ensisijaisena tavoitteena on lisätä ymmärrystä Talvivaaraan ja yleisemmin suomalaiseen kaivosteollisuuteen liittyvän keskustelun ominaispiirteistä ja ulottuvuuksista sekä koetella julkisen oikeuttamisen analyysimenetelmää yksittäisten kiistojen tutkimuksessa.”

Abstract. The paper examines the debate on the Talvivaara mining operation in the framework of Luc Boltanski’s and Laurent Thévenot’s theory of legitimacy. The aim of the thesis is to explore the forms of justification used by critics and defenders of Talvivaara’s operations to support their claims. The data consists of opinion pieces published in Kainuun Sanomat between 1.1.2012 and 31.12.2014. There are a total of 46 opinion pieces, 52 claims and a total of 143 separate justification events. The analysis of the study is carried out using the public justification analysis method. There are six variables to be considered in the analysis, but the primary focus of the thesis is on the justifications used. At the heart of the debate on Talvivaara were concerns about the environmental impact of the mine, criticism of the market and concerns about the preservation of the jobs that Talvivaara provided. There were voices both for and against. Those against emphasised ecological rights and those in favour appealed in particular to the values of the industrial world. Compromises and solutions were sought, particularly between the employment and environmental impacts. The primary aim of the study is to increase understanding of the characteristics and dimensions of the debate on Talvivaara and the Finnish mining industry more generally, and to test the method of public justification analysis in the study of individual disputes.

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Les familles logistiques résistent-elles à la crise ? : Une analyse des modalités de coordination des acteurs logistiques en période de crise fondée sur la théorie de conventions

Are logistics families crisis resistant? An analysis of the coordination modalities of logistics actors in times of crisis based on convention theory

Nicolas Jouve (2021)

Thèse de doctorat en sciences économiques, soutenue le 30 mars 2021 à l’Université Gustave-Eiffel
PhD thesis. Paris: Université Gustave-Eiffel. Open access.

Dirigée par Corinne BLANQUART, Directrice de recherche, Université Gustave Eiffel
Encadrée par : Ludovic VAILLANT, Chercheur, Cerema
Jury :
Sylvie BENOIT, Maître de conférences HDR, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne (Rapporteur)
Faridah DJELLAL, Professeure des universités HDR, Université de Lille (Rapporteur)
Michel SAVY, Professeur émérite HDR, Université Paris-Est (Examinateur)
Thomas ZEROUAL, Enseignant Chercheur HDR, ESCE (Examinateur)

Résumé. Le niveau de risque dans la supply chain ne cesse d’augmenter ces dernières décennies (Heckmann et al., 2014, page 1). Afin de mieux appréhender et traiter ces risques, dont l’impact est de plus en plus fort, les logisticiens peuvent recourir à une procédure d’optimisation de la gestion des risques de la supply chain proposée par les sciences de gestion: le Supply Chain Risk Management. Le SCRM consiste en un ensemble de méthodes et de procédures standardisées, généralement regroupées en quatre étapes (Hoffmann et al., 2013, page 199), qui visent à optimiser la gestion des risques.

Les 16 études de cas de la thèse réparaties entre les 4 Mondes de production (p. 109)

L’atteinte de cet objectif d’optimisation suppose que les acteurs qui recourent au SCRM évoluent dans un environnement d’accès à l’information parfait, afin de pouvoir valider les quatre étapes, et recherchent eux-mêmes à optimiser leur gestion des risques. Autrement dit, le SCRM ne peut fonctionner que dans un contexte de rationalité « substantielle » ou parfaite, dans lequel l’individu est omniscient et optimisateur (Isla, 2000, page 348). Or, ce paradigme de l’individu substantiellement rationnel a été décrié par de nombreux auteurs qui proposent une autre forme de rationalité, plus réaliste selon eux : la rationalité procédurale (Simon, 1976 in Revue PISTES, 1992). Pour ces auteurs, les acteurs économiques, d’une part, évoluent dans un contexte d’incertitude radicale. Ils n’ont pas accès à toutes les informations ou ne savent pas traiter toutes les informations dont ils disposent. D’autre part, ils ne cherchent pas forcément à optimiser leurs résultats, pouvant se contenter d’un résultat simplement satisfaisant (De Munck, 2016, page 228). Afin de prendre des décisions et de se coordonner avec les autres acteurs dans cet environnement informationnel imparfait, ils ont recours à des dispositifs tels que les conventions (Boyer in Eymard-Duvernay, 2006, pages 46 et 47). Ces conventions, références partagées qui permettent de se coordonner, sont le ciment de « mondes », de « cités » (Boltanski et Thévenot, 1991), de familles, dans lesquels s’inscrivent les acteurs économiques pour réaliser leurs objectifs. Dans le domaine de la production, Robert Salais et Michael Storper proposent quatre mondes (Salais et Storper, 1993), ensembles cohérents de valeurs au sein desquels les acteurs se coordonnent et produisent. Burmeister (2000b) applique cette approche par mondes de production au domaine de la logistique et fait ainsi émerger des « familles logistiques ». L’objet de notre recherche est de regarder si les familles logistiques mises en lumière par Burmeister « résistent à la crise » : dans un contexte d’incertitude maximale, comme cela est souvent le cas en période de crise, les acteurs logistiques agissent-ils dans les mêmes mondes et mobilisent-ils les mêmes outils de coordination qu’en période non perturbée ? Nous montrons que si les professionnels de la logistique adaptent leurs stratégies logistiques et de transport aux situations de crise, la relation entre un producteur et un client, pour un produit donné, s’inscrit dans le même monde qu’en période non perturbée et s’organise autour du même référentiel de comportement, de la même convention. Toutefois, la crise semble amener les acteurs à décider davantage ensemble, en prenant plus en compte les besoins et les contraintes de leurs partenaires, la convention de co-décision jouant alors un rôle clé dans la relation entre les acteurs.

Summary. The level of risk in the supply chain has been steadily increasing in recent decades” (Heckmann et al., 2014, page 1). In order to better understand and deal with these risks, whose impact is increasingly strong, logisticians can resort to a procedure for optimizing supply chain risk management proposed by management sciences: supply chain risk management. SCRM consists of a set of standardized methods and procedures, generally grouped into four steps (Hoffmann et al., 2013, page 199), which aim to optimize risk management.

Achieving this optimization goal assumes that the actors using SCRM operate in an environment of perfect information access, so that they can validate the four steps, and are themselves seeking to optimize their risk management. In other words, SCRM can only work in a context of “substantial” or perfect rationality, in which the individual is omniscient and optimizing (Isla, 2000, page 348). However, this paradigm of the substantially rational individual has been decried by many authors who propose another form of rationality, which they consider more realistic: procedural rationality (Simon, 1976 in Revue PISTES, 1992). For these authors, economic actors evolve in a context of radical uncertainty. They do not have access to all the information or do not know how to process all the information available to them. On the other hand, they do not necessarily seek to optimize their results, and may be satisfied with a merely satisfactory outcome (De Munck, 2016, page 228). In order to make decisions and coordinate with other actors in this imperfect informational environment, they use devices such as conventions (Boyer in Eymard-Duvernay, 2006, pages 46 and 47). These conventions, shared references that allow for coordination, are the cement of “worlds”, “cities” (Boltanski and Thévenot, 1991), and families, in which economic actors fit to achieve their objectives. In the field of production, Robert Salais and Michael Storper propose four worlds (Salais and Storper, 1993), coherent sets of values within which actors coordinate and produce. Burmeister (2000b) applies this approach by worlds of production to the field of logistics and thus brings out “logistics families”. The purpose of our research is to examine whether the logistics families highlighted by Burmeister are “crisis-resistant”: in a context of maximum uncertainty, as is often the case in times of crisis, do logistics actors act in the same worlds and mobilize the same coordination tools as in undisturbed times? We show that if logistics professionals adapt their logistics and transport strategies to crisis situations, the relationship between a producer and a customer, for a given product, is part of the same world as in a non-disrupted period and is organized around the same behavioral reference framework, the same convention. However, the crisis seems to lead actors to decide more together, taking more into account the needs and constraints of their partners, with the co-decision convention playing a key role in the relationship between actors.

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Reculer pour mieux sauter – Les projets en échec comme catalyseurs du développement urbain

Take a step back to move ahead. Failed projects as a catalyst for urban development

Lambelet, Sébastien (2021)

Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale urbaine et paysagère, 12, p. 1-29. Open access.

Résumé. Plusieurs études opèrent une distinction nette entre l’urbanisme des Trente Glorieuses et l’urbanisme du tournant du millénaire. En s’appuyant sur les trajectoires de développement des villes suisses de Zurich et Winterthour, cet article montre que la transition entre ces deux ères urbanistiques n’est pas linéaire. Ce processus se compose également d’échecs retentissants dus au caractère hybride des projets de centres-villes conçus durant les années 1980-1990. Néanmoins, dès l’entame des années 2000, de nouveaux projets fort similaires se concrétisent en tirant les leçons des échecs précédents. Nous analysons ce basculement et démontrons que les projets en échec peuvent considérablement accélérer la transformation des centres urbains.

Introduction. “Très peu utilisée jusqu’à la fin des années 1980, la notion floue et générique de projet s’est imposée comme un régulateur culturel omniprésent dans l’ensemble des sphères sociétales. Le champ urbanistique n’échappe pas à cette révolution. Le projet se substitue désormais au plan en tant que nouveau référentiel de l’urbanisme. Il transforme la manière d’imaginer la ville, de la construire, de l’étudier, de la gouverner. Cette transformation conduit à l’avènement de la « cité par projets » de Luc Boltanski et Ève Chiapello4 qui s’appuie sur un nouveau système de valeurs sociétales encourageant la mise en réseau, la flexibilité et la prolifération des liens et des activités.”

Abstract. Numerous studies operate a clear distinction between two urbanistic periods, the one from the Trente Glorieuses and the one from the turn of the millennium. Drawing on the development paths of the Swiss cities of Zurich and Winterthur, this article shows that the transition between these two periods of time is not linear. This process is also made of major failures caused by the hybrid character of downtown projects elaborated through the 1980s and 1990s. However, from the very beginning of the 2000s, fairly similar projects materialize by learning from previous failures. We analyse this tipping point and show that failed projects can also considerably accelerate the transformation of central urban areas.

Introduction. “Very little used until the end of the 1980s, the vague and generic notion of project has imposed itself as an omnipresent cultural regulator in all social spheres1. The field of urban planning has not escaped this revolution. The project is now replacing the plan as the new frame of reference for urban planning. It transforms the way of imagining the city, of building it, of studying it, of governing it. This transformation leads to the advent of Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello’s “city by projects”, which is based on a new system of societal values that encourages networking, flexibility and the proliferation of links and activities.”

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Making Digital Surveillance Unacceptable? Security, Democracy, and the Political Sociology of Disputes

Claudia Aradau /& Emma Mc Cluskey (2021)

International Political Sociology, Online first

Abstract. Despite extensive criticisms of mass surveillance and mobilization by civil liberties and digital rights activists, surveillance has paradoxically been extended and legalized in the name of security. How do some democratic claims against surveillance appear to be normal and common-sense, whereas others are deemed unacceptable, even outlandish? Instead of starting from particular “logics” of either security or democracy, this paper proposes to develop a political sociology of disputes to trace how the relation between security and democracy is shaped by critique in practice. Disputes entail critique and demands for justification. They allow us to account for the constraints which govern whether an argument is deemed acceptable or improper; common-sensical or peculiar. We mobilize disputes in conjunction with Arjun Appadurai’s reflections on “small numbers” in democracies in order to understand how justifications of surveillance for security enact a “rise in generality,” whereas critiques of digital surveillance that mobilize democratic claims enact a “descent into singularity.” To this purpose, we analyze public mobilizations against mass surveillance and challenges brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). We draw on interviews with a range of actors involved in the disputes, the parties’ submissions, oral hearings, judgments, and public reports.

Extract. “We propose a political sociology of disputes to advance an agenda that analyses the contestation and critique of security practices. The terminology of a sociology of disputes was coined by Luc Boltanski, mostly known in IR for his work with Laurent Thévenot on pragmatic sociology (Boltanski and Thévenot 2006), and with Ève Chiapello on “the new spirit of capitalism” (Boltanski and Chiapello 2005). Disputes have been part of a wider vocabulary of social and political contestation which includes controversies, scandals, and affairs. Among these, controversies and struggles have been most fruitful for recent analyses of security beyond securitization theory. Yet, disputes have often been used interchangeably with other vocabularies of contestation (but see Martin-Mazé 2017). While controversies and disputes are both coinages of pragmatic sociology, there are subtle, but in our view important, differences between these. We argue that we need to attend to the specificity of disputes and the constraints upon the different grammars of justification and critique in Boltanski and Thévenot’s work, to precisely shed light on how some arguments against bulk surveillance are rendered unacceptable, and thus “off-the-table.” We approach these questions of acceptability through the dynamics of generality/singularity and the capacity of justifications and critique to “rise in generality” (Boltanski 2012b). To understand how the general and the singular play out in democratic disputes, we supplement the discussion of generality/singularity with anthropologist Arjun Appadurai’s (2006) critical reading of “small numbers” in liberal democracies. Appadurai’s work on majority/minority allows us to advance a political sociology of disputes.” (p. 3)

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