Archives mensuelles : décembre 2021

Vortrag “Handlungskoordination in föderalen Bildungssystemen und Schulkultur(en) als Wertigkeitdispositive. Eine multimethodische Studie zu Zugangswegen ins Lehramtsstudium.”

Presentation “Action Coordination in Federal Education Systems and School Culture(s) as Value Dispositives. A multi-method study of entry routes into student teaching.”

Sandra Hafner (2022):

10 February 2022 17:00-18:00 via Zoom.

Zusammenfassung. In vielen Ländern bereitet traditionell das Gymnasium auf die Lehramtsausbildung vor. Die im Referat vorgestellte multimethodische Studie befasst sich mit der historisch umkämpften Institutionalisieru ng eines zweiten, alternativen Zugangswegs (in die Lehrpersonenbildung in der Schweiz. Ebenso nimmt die Studie die Fachmittelschule und das Gymnasium vergleichend als schulische Dispositive in den Blick. Anhand von Fallstudien wird gezeigt, wie die beteiligten schulischen Akteur*innen diese Dispositive konstruieren und (de-)valorisieren und wie daraus unterschiedliche Sozialisationsumgebungen für Jugendliche entstehen. Auf dieser Grundlage lässt sich die unterschiedliche Bedeutung der bei den Schultypen für die Lehrpersonenbildung erklären. Im Referat wird kurz ins Thema eingeführt sowie der theoretische Rahmen der Soziologie der Konventionen sowie dessen methodologische Prämissen vorgestellt. Anschließend wird entlang von drei Hauptfrages tellungen das Forschungsdesign der Studie präsentiert. Dabei steht im Fokus, wie verschiedene Datenformate wie Dokumente, Protokolle, Interviewtranskripte, Notizen von Unterrichtsbeobachtungen sowie quantitativ deskriptive Daten vor dem erkenntnistheoretischen Hintergrund der Soziologie der Konventionen fruchtbar zueinander in Beziehung gesetzt werden und im mit Blick auf das oben genannte Erkenntnisinteresse analysiert werden können.

Abstract. In many countries, the Gymnasium traditionally prepares students for teacher education. The multi-method study presented in this paper deals with the historically contested institutionalization of a second, alternative route (into teacher education in Switzerland. The study also takes a comparative look at the Fachmittelschule and the Gymnasium as school dispositifs. Case studies are used to show how the school actors involved construct and (de-)valorize these dispositives and how different socialization environments for young people emerge from them. On this basis, the different importance of the different types of schools for teacher education can be explained. The paper will briefly introduce the topic and the theoretical framework of the sociology of conventions as well as its methodological premises. Subsequently, the research design of the study will be presented along three main research questions. The focus is on how different data formats such as documents, protocols, interview transcripts, notes from classroom observations, and quantitative descriptive data can be fruitfully related to each other against the epistemological background of the sociology of conventions and analyzed in light of the aforementioned epistemological interest.

Link to the Colloquium website

Estatísticas sanitárias e interdependência social na Primeira República

Sanitary statistics and social interdependence during the First Republic

Alexandre de Paiva Rio Camargo (2021)

História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos, 28(4), pp. 1007-1035.

Resumo. O artigo analisa o lugar das tecnologias de quantificação na rede formada em torno do combate às doenças, da revolução pastoriana até o movimento sanitarista dos anos 1920. Investiga o papel da demografia sanitária na imposição do modelo pastoriano entre os médicos, seguido da monumentalização estatística das reformas junto a diferentes atores sociais. A teoria do ator-rede de Bruno Latour e os trabalhos de Michel Foucault sobre a governamentalidade são usados para problematizar o conjunto documental formado pelo censo de 1906, artigos e boletins demográficos publicados na imprensa médica, anuários estatísticos e relatórios ministeriais.

Extract: “Uma das grandes lacunas nos estudos sociais e históricos da saúde diz respeito aos modos de raciocinar, categorizar, medir e comparar com números e estatísticas as ciências biomédicas e as políticas de saúde. Como as formas de classificação mediante contagem foram empregadas para impor diagnósticos e definições de situação de médicos e higienistas junto a públicos diversos e heterogêneos, inicialmente refratários às necessidades e aos interesses de uma elite de especialistas? Como os dispositivos de quantificação, como tabelas, gráficos, mapas e diagramas, ajudaram a resolver controvérsias e formar consensos sobre enunciados científicos? Como a produção e a circulação das estatísticas sanitárias pôde iluminar aspectos importantes do desenvolvimento da profissão médica e da construção da doença como um problema público? Inspirando-nos na sociologia da quantificação (Desrosières, 2008; Diaz-Bone, Didier, 2016; Camargo, Daniel, 2021), tentaremos realizar uma primeira aproximação dessa ordem de questões.” (p. 1008)

Abstract. This article analyzes the place of quantification technologies in the network formed to fight diseases, from the Pasteurian revolution to the sanitation movement of the 1920s. It investigates the role of sanitary demography in the imposition of the Pasteurian model among physicians, followed by the statistical monumentalization of the reforms for different social actors. Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory and Michel Foucault’s works on governmentality are used to problematize a set of documents consisting of the 1906 census, demographic articles and bulletins published in the medical press, statistical yearbooks and ministerial reports.

Extract: “One of the great gaps in social and historical studies of health concerns the ways in which biomedical sciences and health policies were reasoned, categorized, measured, and compared with numbers and statistics. How were the forms of classification through counting used to impose diagnoses and definitions of physicians and hygienists’ situations on diverse and heterogeneous publics, initially refractory to the needs and interests of an elite of specialists? How did quantification devices, such as tables, graphs, maps and diagrams, help to solve controversies and form consensus about scientific statements? How could the production and circulation of health statistics shed light on important aspects of the development of the medical profession and the construction of disease as a public problem? Drawing inspiration from the sociology of quantification (Desrosières, 2008; Diaz-Bone, Didier, 2016; Camargo, Daniel, 2021), we will attempt to carry out a first approximation of this order of questions.” (p. 1008)

Link to the article

The participatory turn in health and medicine: The rise of the civic and the need to ‘give back’ in data-intensive medical research

Lotje E. Siffels, Tamar Sharon & Andrew S. Hoffman (2021)

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8, Open access.

Abstract. What has been called the “participatory turn” in health and medicine refers to a general shift from paternalistic and hierarchical, to more collaborative and egalitarian relationships between medical experts and patients/research participants; a shift from what the pragmatic sociologists Boltanski and Thévenot (2006) call a “domestic” to a “civic” order of worth. Critical scholarship on the participatory turn tends to emphasize discrepancies between ideals of equality and empowerment, and practices of increased individual responsibility and disempowerment. In this paper, we depart from this critical literature by suspending evaluation about authentic and inauthentic ideals and practices. Instead, we explore the issues and challenges that arise in the process of ensuring that ideal and practice align in what we call a civic-participatory style of doing medical research. Drawing on interviews and observations carried out with medical researchers, coordinators and assessors in a longitudinal cohort study called the Personalized Parkinson’s Project (PPP), we show that for study staff it is often unclear how they can meet the demands of reciprocity towards research participants that are presupposed by civic-participatory ideals. In particular, in the context of a study whose aim is the creation of a comprehensive dataset comprised of clinical, environmental and lifestyle data that study participants generously “give” over a period of 2 years, we observed a persistent concern on the part of study staff regarding what and how to “give back”. As we show, study staff negotiate and resolve this tension through recourse to creative workarounds and innovative ways of giving back, including frequent project and scientific updates, newsletters, the designation of personal assessors and pampering Event Days. The paper makes a contribution to the critical literature on the participatory turn by showing the utility of the orders of worth framework in probing the challenges and workarounds that emerge in settings where an incumbent style of organizing medical research (here, the ‘civic’) comes to challenge practices hitherto organized according to a wholly different logic (in this case, the ‘domestic’)—without making assumptions about the (in)authenticity of such ideals and practices. Moreover, we contend that this framework offers new tools for evaluating participatory research projects in the form of “good” or “successful” civic–domestic compromises.

Link to the article

Client-facing Interprofessional Project Teams: The Role of Engineers’ ‘Situated Judgment’

Rachel J. Wilde & David Guile (2021)

Engineering Studies, 13(3), pp. 185-204.

Abstract. This paper addresses the type of engineering practice associated with ‘client-focused interprofessional project teams’ C-fIPPTs which is a typical pattern of work associated with engineering consulting companies. To do so, the article introduces the concepts of ‘situated judgment’ and ‘immaterial activity’ to the Engineering Studies community. It uses these concepts to demonstrate how engineers with different specialisms, working alongside architects, interior designers, etc., resolve competing conceptions of value among members to enable teams to accomplish project-specific issues. The article makes the above argument by drawing on observational data, interviews and field notes to illustrate the immaterial dimension (i.e. converting non-costed ideas into solutions to problems) of such situated judgments. The article concludes by firstly, explaining how the argument it advances about the distinctive features of engineering work contributes to a broadening of research on engineers work practice and, in doing so, the contribution that engineering studies can make to the field of workplace learning. Secondly, the article highlights the implications of its argument for engineering education and workplace learning.

Extract: “The sources of inspiration for our concept of situated judgment are Lave and Wenger’s concept of ‘situated learning’ and Boltanski and Thevénot’s concept of ‘conceptions of worth’. […] We have however developed the concept of situated practices in a complementary, but different, way by drawing on Boltanski and Thevénot. They argue that: (i) human interactions rely on different forms of justification; (ii) there are always different conceptions of worth or value playing out in any situation; and, (iii) therefore it is inevitable that different types of justifications, ultimately, have to be reconciled with one another. Boltanski and Thevénot are concerned with justificatory processes within the political sphere and identify a taxonomy of different justificatory conceptions.” (p. 188)

Link to the article

Imagining Europe. Transnational Contestation and Civic Populism

Paul Blokker (ed.) (2021)

Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Abstract. This book provides an extensive analysis and discussion of the transnational mobilization of citizens and youth, alongside the production of creative, imaginative, and constructive solutions to the European crisis. The volume provides a variety of interdisciplinary analyses, as well as a series of perspectives on populism that have not been addressed extensively, including an examination of left-wing populism, the constituent power dimension of populism, and transnational manifestations of populism, contributing to debates on political science, political sociology, social movements studies, and political and constitutional theory.

Extract: “Yuliya Moskvina’s chapter analyses the political discourse of left-wing transnational movements applying the notion of engagement, as developed by Laurent Thévenot (Thévenot 2006), distinguishing between three formats of politics. The first type of engagement – engagement in justification – regards forms of justification by means of public claims and action. In their seminal work On Justification, Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot develop six such forms of justification (Boltanski and Thévenot 2006). Transnational movements engage in justifying work by means of the articulation of a common good which the European project is to endorse. […]
One distinction one can make with regard to discourses on European integration, of significant relevance for the debate on the Future of Europe, is between ‘prosaic’ and ‘imaginative’ positions. Prosaic positions take the existing situation largely for granted, and do not question key components/institutions/actors or relationships between them. Imaginative accounts, instead, imagine a different situation, in which European integration might be something rather different from what it is now. A further difference is between ‘reformist’ and ‘radical’ positions (cf. Boltanski and Chiapello 2005), where a reformist position indicates a stance that wants to change the existing policies, but not the entire institutional make-up.” (p. 11)

Link to the book

Data Practices – Making Up a European People

Evelyn Ruppert & Stephan Scheel (2021)

London: Goldsmiths Press.

Abstract. What is ‘Europe’ and who are ‘Europeans’? Data Practices approaches this contemporary political and theoretical question by treating it as a practical problem of counting. Only through the myriad data practices that make up methods such as censuses can EU member states know their national populations, and this in turn is utilized by the EU to understand the population of Europe. But this volume approaches data practices not simply as reflecting populations but as performative in two senses: they simultaneously enact—that is, “make up”—a European population and, by so doing—intentionally or otherwise—also contribute to making up a European people.
The book develops a conception of data practices to analyze and interpret findings from collaborative ethnographic multisite fieldwork conducted by an interdisciplinary team of social science researchers as part of a five-year project, Peopling Europe: How Data Make a People. The book focuses on data practices that involve establishing and assigning people to categories and how this matters in enacting Europe as a population and people. Five core chapters explore key categories of people—usual residents, refugees, homeless people, migrants, and ethnic minorities—and how they come into being through specific data practices such as defining, estimating, recalibrating and inferring. Two additional chapters address two key subject positions that data practices produce and require: the data subject and the statistician subject.

Extract: “Classifying and Encoding Individuals into Categories: Making Up a People
Practices of classifying and encoding are central to the production of statistics. In a study of the relation between statistics and the making of the modern state, Desrosières (1998) argues that statistics involve establishing ‘categories of equivalence’ that transcend the singularities of individual situations and thereby ‘make a priori separate things hold together’ (236).”
(p. 40)

Link to the book

A value based approach to assessing changes in cultural policies

Mlitz, Kimberly/van den Hoogen, Quirijn Lennert (2021)
In:  Cultural Trends. Online first, pp. 1-19.

Publication Cover

“In democratic societies, the political process ultimately is about making value judgements. Comparative cultural policy research indicates different value orientations may be behind cultural policies of different nations. It has also indicated developments that are common, such as democratisation of culture, neoliberalisation of politics and globalisation. As of yet, such value changes have not been studied at the level of cultural policy documents analysed as text [Bell, D., & Oakley, K. (2014). Cultural policy. Routledge]. This article proposes a methodology to study value changes behind cultural policies over time and across nations. Based in the “pragmatic sociology” of Boltanski, Thévenot, and Chiapello [(2005). The new spirit of capitalism. (Translated by Gregory Elliot from Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme). Gallimard Verso. (Original work published 1999); (2006). On justification, economies of worth. (Translated by Catherine Porter from De la justification, Les économies de la grandeur). Gallimard & Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1991)], the article presents a big data methodology to uncover value changes of policy documents over time, between different policy agents, and across nations using material from the UK and the Netherlands. The paper explains the methodology, discusses the implications of the preliminary outcomes and provides suggestions for further comparative policy analyses.”


“Der neue Geist des Kapitalismus” revisited – ein Mixed-Methods-Approach zu einem jungen Klassiker der Soziologie

“The new spirit of capitalism” revisited – a mixed methods approach to a young classic of sociology.

Johannes Truffer (2021)

Master Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Zusammenfassung. Die Masterarbeit repliziert die Studie zum Buch “Der neue Geist des Kapitalismus” von Luc Boltanski und Ève Chiapello (B/C) auf einer verbesserten Datengrundlage und einem state-of-the-art Mixed-Methods-Verfahren und begegnet zugleich den theoretischen Schwächen der Theorie. Durch eine kritische Rekonstruktion der konzeptuellen Grundlagen und der neueren Forschung wird der Ansatz in Richtung einer Modernisierungstheorie weiterentwickelt. Das resultierende theoretische Modell ermöglicht es, den Geist hinsichtlich der in ihm sichtbaren Modernisierungsrisiken zu lesen, das heisst Systemkrisen und Sozialpathologien. Damit treten auch die von B/C vernachlässigten Konstanten der kapitalistischen Legitimation klarer in den Blick. Für die Überprüfung der empirischen Befunde des Buches kam ein systematisch gesampelter Korpus von McKinsey-Award prämierten Harvard Business Review-Artikeln zum Zug, die jedes Jahr zwischen 1959 und 2018 kontinuierlich abdecken. Das Material wurde mit einem Mixed-Methods-Ansatz analysiert, der quantitative Verfahren automatisierter Analyse (Klassifikationsalgorithmus Readme2) und Textmining-Methoden (Topic Models) mit einem qualitativen Verfahren nach Mayring (typisierende Strukturierung) verbindet. Grundsätzlich scheinen die von B/C durch defizitäre Methoden an undurchsichtig gesampeltem Material gewonnenen Erkenntnisse empirisch erstaunlich belastbar zu sein. Ihre Hauptbefunde konnten auf breiter Basis bestätigt werden, wenngleich der Bias ihres Materials, in dem die Netzwerkmetapher viel präsenter ist, klar zum Vorschein kommt. Marktrhetoriken sind im Korpus stärker ausgeprägt als bei B/C und bezeugen den analytischen Benefit der Rekonzeptualisierung, die dem Geist ein dynamisches Gleichgewicht von allgemeinwohl- und profitorientierten Rhetoriken attestiert. Damit erscheint die ideologische Konstellation der 90er Jahre weniger als konnexionistischer, denn als neoliberaler Netzwerkkapitalismus.

Abstract. The master’s thesis replicates the empirical claims of the book “The New Spirit of Capitalism” by Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello (B/C) on an improved data basis and the help of a state-of-the-art mixed-methods approach, while at the same time confronting the theoretical weaknesses of the theory. Through a critical reconstruction of the conceptual foundations and recent research, the approach is further developed towards a theory of modernisation. The resulting theoretical model makes it possible to read the spirit of capitalism in terms of the accompanying modernisation risks visible in it, i.e. systemic crises and social pathologies. In this way, the constants of capitalist legitimisation, neglected by B/C, also come more clearly into view. A systematically sampled corpus of McKinsey Award-winning Harvard Business Review articles covering each year continuously between 1959 and 2018 was used to test the empirical findings of the book. The material was analysed using a mixed-methods approach that combines quantitative procedures of automated analysis (classification algorithm Readme2) and text mining methods (topic models) with a qualitative procedure after Mayring (typifying structuration). In principle, the findings obtained by B/C through deficient methods on opaquely sampled material seem to be empirically surprisingly robust. Their main findings could be confirmed on a broad basis, although the “French” bias of their material, in which the network metaphor is much more present, clearly emerges. Market rhetorics are more pronounced in the corpus than in B/C, attesting to the analytical benefit of the reconceptualisation, which attests to the spirit’s dynamic balance of greater good and profit-oriented rhetorics. Thus, the ideological constellation of the 1990s appears less as connectionist than as neoliberal network capitalism.

Comment émerge un indice boursier ? Histoire du BEL 20

How does a stock market index emerge? History of the BEL 20

Tom Duterme (2021)

Revue française de socio-économie, n° 27, pp 157-174.

Résumé. Cet article retrace l’émergence du principal indice boursier belge (BEL 20), à travers une revue des autres indices qui ont, tout au long du xxe siècle, fait autorité à la Bourse de Bruxelles. L’étude des méthodologies mobilisées et des publics représentés met au jour la variété des significations – tant cognitives que politiques – que peut cristalliser un indice boursier, mais aussi les raisons du succès du BEL 20 dans cette lutte entre «conventions financières».

Extrait: “La logique d’action que cristallise l’indice du Monimat est plutôt celle d’une « rationalisation encastrée ». Ce premier indice représente un objet statistique suffisamment raffiné pour satisfaire la prétention d’objectivité qu’il revêt et que recherche une partie du monde boursier, et suffisamment grossier pour être accessible à (et accepté par) ce même public (dont les rédacteurs du Monimat sont très proches, socialement et physiquement, lorsqu’ils n’en sont pas membres). Saisi comme « investissement de forme » [Thévenot, 1986], l’indice boursier est coûteux : économiquement (droits d’utilisation des données, temps de travail…), cognitivement (dans toute statistique, « quelque chose est sacrifié (la contingence, la multiplicité des cas singuliers) » [Desrosières, 2010, p. 139]), mais aussi politiquement (nécessité, pour devenir conventionnel, d’écarter les moyens de coordination alternatifs). En l’occurrence, ce dernier coût impliqua le déclassement du mode d’évaluation des cours alors dominant : le flair professionnel. Dans le régime corporatiste des agents de change, l’apprenti – au cours d’un stage de six ans – héritait d’un « sens du marché » : « Par commune initiation, il faut entendre non seulement une commune connaissance des règles de fonctionnement des jeux boursiers, mais aussi une formation commune de l’intuition du cours à venir » [Godechot, 2001, p. 39].”

Abstract. This article traces the emergence of the main Belgian stock market index (BEL 20), through a review of the other indices that have been the authority on the Brussels Stock Exchange throughout the twentieth century. The study of the methodologies used and the populations represented reveals the variety of meanings—both cognitive and political—that a stock market index can crystallize, but also the reasons for the success of the BEL 20 in this struggle between “financial conventions”.

Extract: “The logic of action crystallized by the Monimat index is rather that of an “embedded rationalization”. This first index represents a statistical object that is sufficiently refined to satisfy the claim of objectivity that it assumes and that a part of the stock market world seeks, and sufficiently coarse to be accessible to (and accepted by) this same public (of which the Monimat editors are very close, socially and physically, when they are not members). Seen as an “investment in form” [Thévenot, 1986], the stock market index is costly: economically (rights to use the data, work time, etc.), cognitively (in all statistics, “something is sacrificed (contingency, the multiplicity of singular cases)” [Desrosières, 2010, p. 139]), but also politically (the need, in order to become conventional, to discard alternative means of coordination). In this case, this last cost implied the downgrading of the then dominant mode of course evaluation: professional flair. In the corporatist regime of the stockbrokers, the apprentice – during a six-year training period – inherited a “sense of the market”: “By common initiation, one must understand not only a common knowledge of the rules of operation of the stock exchange games, but also a common formation of the intuition of the price to come” [Godechot, 2001, p. 39].”

Lien vers l’article / link to the article

Pour une socio-économie de l’État en recomposition

For a socio-economy of the State in recomposition

Sandrine Garcia & Jean-Marie Pillon (2021)

Revue française de socio-économie, n° 27, pp. 33-51.

Extract: “Le secteur public se démarque toutefois largement du privé par l’absence de recherche du profit et le caractère réduit du paiement du service délivré [Grall, 2004 ; Vatin, 2008]. Il y a un décalage entre le coût de production du service et le prix facturé – bien souvent inférieur au coût de production. Ainsi, l’État est tenu d’opérer une péréquation entre ses dépenses et ses ressources, issues de divers prélèvements [Steiner, 2014]. En l’absence de l’indicateur du prix, de la marge ou du chiffre d’affaires, des agents publics doivent « convenir » de ce qu’il faut compter comme étant utile, efficace ou performant, ce qui ouvre la voie à un ensemble de négociations potentiellement conflictuelles entre différentes conceptions de l’intérêt général [Desrosières, 1993]. Par ailleurs, la thèse de l’importation depuis le privé et de la marchandisation de l’État peut conduire à réifier la notion de secteur privé sans distinguer les entreprises par secteur, par taille et par statut de propriété. Or, l’ensemble des outils de gestion utilisés dans le secteur privé n’ont pas une visée marchande. Le secteur privé se distingue certes des services publics du fait de l’existence d’un profit. Mais l’économie des conventions a souligné la très grande hétérogénéité des modèles économiques, i.e des façons de générer un profit [Coriat et Weinstein, 1995; Salais et Storper, 1993].” (p. 27)

Excerpt: “The public sector is, however, largely distinguished from the private sector by the absence of profit-seeking and the reduced nature of the payment for the service delivered [Grall, 2004; Vatin, 2008]. There is a gap between the cost of producing the service and the price charged – often less than the cost of production. Thus, the state is obliged to equalize its expenditures with its resources, which come from various levies [Steiner, 2014]. In the absence of the price, margin or turnover indicator, public agents must “agree” on what to count as useful, efficient or effective, which opens the way to a set of potentially conflicting negotiations between different conceptions of the general interest [Desrosières, 1993]. Moreover, the thesis of the importation from the private sector and the commodification of the State can lead to a reification of the notion of the private sector without distinguishing between firms by sector, by size and by ownership status. However, all of the management tools used in the private sector are not market-oriented. The private sector is certainly different from public services because of the existence of a profit. But the economics of conventions has underlined the great heterogeneity of economic models, i.e. the ways of generating profit [Coriat and Weinstein, 1995; Salais and Storper, 1993].” (p. 27)

Lien vers l’article/ Link to the article

Le marché biface comme convention de production : deux études de cas d’organisations plateformes de transport de personnes

Two-sided market as a production convention: two case studies of passenger transport platform organizations

Mathilde Abel (2021)

Terminal, n° 131. Open access.

Résumé. Les effets de réseau croisés sont au fondement de la théorie des marchés bifaces (Rochet et Tirole 2003, 2006) et concernent des objets relativement nouveaux des sciences économiques : les plateformes numériques (Evans et Schmalensee, 2016). Celles-ci sont appréhendées dans la littérature comme trois objets distincts : comme marché en économie industrielle, comme organisation en théorie des organisations et comme système dans l’étude des systèmes d’information. Cet article propose d’analyser les capacités des plateformes numériques à travers l’approche de l’économie des conventions (Salais et Thévenot, 1986) qui nous permet d’envisager les marchés bifaces comme des conventions d’échange. Elle nous invite aussi à utiliser les outils forgés par les approches conventionnalistes de la performativité (Brisset, 2015a, 2016) afin d’analyser les conditions que les organisations-plateformes doivent remplir pour se positionner comme agent de coordination et exploiter les effets de réseau croisés. À partir d’études de cas de deux plateformes numériques du secteur de la mobilité, l’article conclut à deux conditions principales qui assurent à l’organisation la capacité d’exploiter les effets de réseau croisés. Première condition : l’interdépendance des niveaux d’utilité de chacun des versants du marché doit être envisagée comme option de référence par les plateformes numériques. La deuxième condition est que ces niveaux doivent faire l’objet de tests afin d’éprouver la pertinence du travail de la plateforme. Les deux études de cas présentent une réussite et un échec d’exploitation des effets de réseau croisés.

Extrait: “Les outils d’analyses des entretiens nous permettent d’appréhender dans quelles conditions les plateformes parviennent à être et à exploiter des marchés bifaces. Si nous reprenons notre cadre théorique, la plateforme pourra être un agent de coordination et faire exister une convention si elle remplit les conditions suivantes :
– Fournir aux acteurs sociaux une représentation de leur monde social afin de choisir parmi plusieurs actions ;
– Indiquer un choix jugé pertinent par les acteurs sociaux lorsque la convention est généralisée ;
– Être compatible avec l’ensemble des conventions constituant l’environnement social.”

Abstract. Cross-network effects are the basis of the theory of two-sided markets (Rochet and Tirole 2003, 2006) and concern relatively new objects in economics: digital platforms (Evans and Schmalensee, 2016). These are understood in the literature as three distinct objects: as a market in industrial economics, as an organisation in organisational theory, and as a system in the study of information systems. This article proposes to analyse the capacities of digital platforms through the convention economy approach (Salais and Thévenot, 1986), which allows us to consider two-sided markets as exchange conventions. It also invites us to use the tools forged by conventionalist approaches to performativity (Brisset, 2015a, 2016), in order to analyse the conditions that platform organisations must fulfil in order to position themselves as coordinating agents and exploit cross-network effects. Based on case studies of two digital platforms in the mobility sector, the article concludes that there are two main conditions ensuring organisations’ ability to exploit cross-network effects. The first condition is that the interdependence of the utility levels of each side of the market must be considered as a reference option by the digital platforms. The second condition is that these levels must be tested to see if the platform’s work is relevant. The two case studies present a success and a failure in exploiting cross network effects.

Extract: “The tools used to analyze the interviews allow us to understand the conditions under which platforms manage to be and operate two-sided markets. If we return to our theoretical framework, the platform can be a coordinating agent and bring a convention into existence if it meets the following conditions:
– Provide social actors with a representation of their social world in order to choose among several actions;
– To indicate a choice considered relevant by the social actors when the convention is generalized;
– Be compatible with the set of conventions constituting the social environment.”

Link to the article

Strengthening Theory through Isolation and Subsequent Confrontation. The Case of French Convention Theory

Abdul A. Rasheed, Richard L. Priem & Anne-Catherine Provost (2022)

In: Michael Pirson, David M. Wasieleski & Erica L. Steckler (eds.), Alternative Theories of the Firm. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 184-216.

Abstract. This chapter revisits French Convention Theory (FCT) to inform the theory of the firm. This chapter argues that geographically or otherwise isolated scholarly communities, initially, can benefit from closure that allows them to nurture nascent theories. Subsequent confrontation with theories representing other scholarly communities is necessary, however, for the full development of robust new theories. Instead, academic parochialism leads scholarly communities to rally around their long-cherished views and avoid confrontation with new ideas. This chapter illustrates the potential benefits of even an incremental step toward increased intellectual engagement among scholars representing differing theory traditions. FCT, developed in relative isolation, serves as an example of a theory that could productively confront both economics-based and behaviorally based North American organization theories. The chapter first describes FCT and then shows how institutional theory and stakeholder theory each could benefit from a confrontation with it, because of potential new theory development, theory extension, or theory reinforcement. Lastly, this chapter discusses the benefits and implications of such theory confrontations for strengthening organization science.

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Rückzug als Widerstand. Dissidente Lebensformen in der globalen Politik

Retreat as Resistance. Dissident lifestyles in global politics

Philip Wallmeier (2021)

PhD thesis. Bielefeld: Transcript. Open access.

Zusammenfassung. Angesichts globaler Krisendiagnosen setzen einige Aktivist*innen nicht primär auf Reformen innerhalb der bestehenden Verhältnisse – sie träumen von einer komplett anderen Ordnung. Oftmals ziehen sie sich deswegen aus bestehenden Institutionen und dem Alltag der Mehrheitsgesellschaft zurück. Anstelle von Eskapismus kann es sich bei ihrem Rückzug aber auch um radikalen Widerstand handeln. Philip Wallmeier stellt ein Netzwerk an Aktivist*innen in den Mittelpunkt seiner empirischen Studie, die zwischen den frühen 1970er Jahren und der Jahrtausendwende in den USA in »Kommunen«, »intentionale Gemeinschaften« und »Ökodörfer« zogen. Die Analyse zeichnet die historischen Veränderungen nach und beschreibt anschaulich, welche Widersprüche sich in der Praxis für die Aktivist*innen bei dem Versuch ergaben, alternative Lebensformen zu entwickeln, um so die Verhältnisse grundlegend zu transformieren.

Auszug: “Um das Konzept des »widerständigen Rückzugs« an der Welt zu schärfen und dabei gleichzeitig soziale Verhältnisse zu entschlüsseln, stütze ich mich hauptsächlich auf das Instrumentarium der »Soziologie der Kritik« (vgl. Boltanski und Thévenot 2006, Boltanski 2011, Blokker 2011). Dieses wurde von französischen Soziologen entwickelt, um nachzuvollziehen, wie Personen Kritik üben, sich rechtfertigen und dabei die Welt ordnen. Diese Perspektive erscheint mir besonders angemessen, um die kritische Alltagspraxis von Kommunard*innen zu verstehen.” (S. 69)

Abstract. In the face of global crisis diagnoses, some activists do not primarily focus on reforms within the existing conditions – they dream of a completely different order. Often they withdraw from existing institutions and the everyday life of the majority society. Instead of escapism, however, their withdrawal can also be radical resistance. Philip Wallmeier focuses his empirical study on a network of activists who moved into “communes,” “intentional communities,” and “ecovillages” in the United States between the early 1970s and the turn of the millennium. The analysis traces the historical changes and vividly describes the contradictions that arose in practice for activists as they attempted to develop alternative ways of living in order to fundamentally transform conditions.

Extract: “In order to sharpen the concept of “resistant retreat” on the world while deciphering social relations, I rely mainly on the instruments of the “sociology of critique” (cf. Boltanski and Thévenot 2006, Boltanski 2011, Blokker 2011). This was developed by French sociologists to trace how people criticize, justify themselves, and thereby order the world. This perspective seems to me particularly appropriate for understanding the critical everyday practices of communards.” (p. 69)

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Selektionsmechanismen/Reproduktion sozialer Ungleichheit/Bildungsmobilität im Hochschulwesen

Leonie Bisang (University of Lucerne)

Lecture in the colloquium social research 15 December 2021 via Zoom

Zusammenfassung. Inwieweit spielen Habitus und Reflexivität beim Übertritt von der Sekundarstufe II in die Tertiärstufe eine Rolle? Mit der Einführung der Fachhochschulen wurde eine binäre Struktur geschaffen: Es wird ein universitärer und ein nicht-universitärer Bereich differenziert. Die gymnasiale Maturität ist seither sozial stärker geschlossen und Personen aus sozial tieferen Schichten werden in die Berufsbildung, die ihnen weniger aufwendig und riskant erscheint, «abgelenkt». Es gibt jedoch Maturandinnen und Maturanden, die sich für ein Fachhochschulstudium entscheiden, obschon sie sich prüfungsfrei an einer Universität einschreiben könnten. Wie entscheiden sich angehende Studierende für den Hochschultyp? Haben sie eine Wahl oder handelt es sich um eine «non-decision», zumal der Entscheidungsraum a priori eingeschränkt ist? Wie funktionieren Selektionsmechanismen? Um Fragen nach Selektionsmechanismen, sozialer Ungleichheit und Bildungsmobilität zu untersuchen, enthalten sowohl der Ansatz von Bourdieu als auch die Économie des Conventions spannende Aspekte. Durch Einbezug beider Ansätze wird das Spannungsfeld von Habitus und reflexiver Wahl sichtbar und analysierbar.

Abstract. To what extent do habitus and reflexivity play a role in the transition from upper secondary to tertiary education? With the introduction of universities of applied sciences, a binary structure was created: A university and a non-university sector are differentiated. Since then, the gymnasiale Matura has become more socially closed, and people from socially lower classes are “diverted” into vocational training, which seems less costly and risky to them. However, there are high school graduates who decide to study at a university of applied sciences even though they could enroll at a university without having to take any exams. How do prospective students decide on the type of university? Do they have a choice or is it a “non-decision”, especially since the decision space is limited a priori? How do selection mechanisms work? In order to investigate questions about selection mechanisms, social inequality and educational mobility, both Bourdieu’s approach and the Économie des Conventions contain exciting aspects. By including both approaches, the tension between habitus and reflexive choice becomes visible and analyzable.

Cuneiform Exceptionalism? – Justifying the Study and Publication of Unprovenanced Cuneiform Tablets from Iraq

Neil Brodie (2021)

In: Naomi Oosterman & Donna Yates (eds.), Crime and Art. Sociological and Criminological Perspectives of Crimes in the Art World. Cham: Springer, pp 103-117.

Abstract: “Through the 1990s and 2000s thousands of cuneiform tablets were looted from archaeological sites in Iraq and acquired by private collectors. Since then, scholars with expertise in reading cuneiform inscriptions (who call themselves Assyriologists) have been studying and publishing the texts. This scholarly engagement with what is generally understood to be illicitly-traded material has been controversial, and many Assyriologists have made public statements justifying their work. This chapter presents a brief overview of the controversy over publication, before using Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s theory of justification to examine the justificatory statements of Assyriologists for what they reveal about their reasons for engaging with illicitly-traded material. The chapter concludes by considering the harms such scholarship might cause to Iraq.”

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