Archives mensuelles : avril 2022

Politics of Participation in Urban Planning: The “Democratic Moment” of the Mumbai Development Plan 2014–2034

Richa Bhardwaj & Luca Pattaroni (2022)

In: Pattaroni, Luca/Bhide, Amita / Lutringer, Christine (eds.), Politics of Urban Planning. The Making and Unmaking of the Mumbai Development Plan 2014–2034. Cham: Springer, pp. 133–158.

Abstract. In urban planning, participation is a debated concept and through the analysis of the process of Mumbai Development Plan (MDP) 2014–2034, the authors argue that the large and intersectoral mobilization, mixing professional experts and grassroots movements, opened up a “democratic moment” around the making of the MDP, allowing to raise fundamental questions about the just ordering of the city. This democratic moment expanded through the widening and the thickening of the various participatory arenas where planning process deliverables became moments of heightened debate and demands for public participation. Forsaking the closed arenas of technocratic participation, planning was discussed directly on the ground through various participatory methods and community-based counter-projects. Formal arenas were also the locus of enriched participation while inhabitants came with their political convictions and attachments. This enlargement of participation made room for a wide range of knowledge-expert, situated, ecological, local game knowledge, planning professional knowledge, broader academic knowledge to build up critical knowledge allowing to reframe the stakes of Mumbai’s development. The authors complete the analysis of the multifaceted “politics of participation” by looking at what they call “the closure of the democratic moment” through the “(neo)liberal entrapment of participation”.

Extract: “Hence, the strategy adopted by the review committee was to have separate closed-door meetings with representatives of different stakeholder groups with discussions based on the constituency they represent. The approach was balancing the various stakeholders. There were constant opportunities for discussions provided with the review committee, however, at their own terms. These representatives were not allowed to give the details of the meeting to the media and in order to control the narrative around the DP, the revision committee sent out regular updates to the press while at the same time keeping continuous checks on the journalist and their stories. While the demands for more participatory planning were aimed towards a public, transparent, involved, decentralized approach, however, the revision led each group to work within its own domain. The approach to have more public deliberations at the local level was aimed to ensure opportunities for individuals and groups who otherwise are unable to engage in these processes which are imagined to be in “sarkari” domain, often unapproachable. Looking at the way the review committee proceeded, we see a double reduction leading to a liberal form of participation where differences are expressed and composed through the “negotiation” of “interests” (Thévenot, 2014). A first reduction consists in the co-optation of selected representatives of the broader civil society process formally invited to negotiate behind closed doors. As expected, the main collectives that contributed to the widening of participation, such as HSMA or UDRI, were invited along with other representatives of recognized professionals’ groups. Such plural collectives as HSMA had nevertheless the obligation to be represented by a limited number of spokespersons. In the process, minority groups—such as street vendors—were de facto excluded from the closed-door sessions. The second reduction consisted in the narrowing down of the field of expertise of each recognized stakeholder. Each representative was asked to reduce its claims to detailed demands and propositions within the recognized field of competence of its group. Hence, the substantial differences in attachments or convictions were reduced to “negotiable interests” building up what Laurent Thévenot calls “liberal grammar of commonalities” where politics is conceived as a trade-off process intended to produce achievable (and reasonable) objectives. In this perspective, the array of relevant knowledge is greatly reduced. Participation arenas aren’t intended as a place allowing to raise or evaluate political alternatives (critical knowledge) or yet to accommodate different forms of life (experiential knowledge) but rather to build up a balance of interests and technical solutions. Grassroots association are still valued in relation to their situated knowledge but only to make sure the “needs” are well expressed or the measures are realistic but they are not expected to voice critical knowledge or even bring in their “local game” knowledge. In this neoliberal entrapment of participation, grassroots movements and other agonistic groups were either included as some new kind of local expert or simply excluded.” (p. 153-154)

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Speaking on behalf of the vulnerable? Voluntary translations of citizen needs to policy in community co-production

Ane Grubb & Morten Frederiksen (2021)

Public Management Review, Online first

Abstract. Vulnerable citizens often depend on volunteers or others to translate their needs into relevant concerns for policy makers. This is particularly so in the context of co-production of public service provision. However, knowledge of how this translation works in practice is scarce. Based on a qualitative study of co-production activities targeting vulnerable elderly citizens and refugees, this paper explores volunteers’ translations of citizen needs and identifies two forms of failure: entangled translations fail because municipal staff suspect volunteers of justifying volunteer interests as citizen needs, while restricted translations fail to justify citizen needs as collective concerns because volunteers draw excessively on anecdotal formats.

Extract: “This paper contributes knowledge of these practices by investigating the following research questions: How do volunteers and voluntary organizations engage in translating the needs of vulnerable citizens to policy makers, turning needs into common concerns for community co-production? What factors ensure or impede that such translations successfully become common concerns for community co-production? The paper is based on an extensive, qualitative investigation of community co-production of services targeting refugees and vulnerable elderly people. The analysis focuses on situations in which volunteers seek to translate a need observed among vulnerable citizens into a cause for concerted cross-sector action. To this end, we draw on Thévenot’s (2007) theory of engagement, which provides an analytical framework for investigating both the process of translation from experienced need to justified cause for concerted action and the form of engagement at each step of this translation process.” (p. 2)

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Bancbigny 2013-

Yves Mettler & Laurent Thévenot (2021)

In: Yves Mettler (ed.), Atlas Europe Square, MIT Press, pp. 120-145.

Extract: “A course on urban anthropology, directly linked to his interest in urban space and his artistic practice of writing and narration, completed the curriculum, for which he also had to choose two external Masters’ seminars to attend. Having followed Marc Abélès’s seminar on the anthropology of globalisation, Mettler turned, for the second, to Laurent Thévenot’s sociology of action. Abélès’s seminar had introduced some powerful tools for thinking about globalisation and constructing a theory of how cultures react to this process. But Thévenot’s pragmatic sociology, attentive to the engagements of the individual ranging from the intimate to the public, seemed to respond directly to the questions Mettler was posing as to how a person’s modes of participation could be evaluated. It was the remarkably fine-grained attention to the attachments involved in very different contexts (advertising, WWF round tables, urban parks) and the pursuit of a language capable of speaking about such attachments, that made Mettler listen keenly to Thévenot’s seminar at EHESS.” (p. 154)

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Transformation durch Bildungsdigitalisierung? Zur Governance der digitalen Schulwelt

Transformation through Educational Digitization? On the Governance of the Digital School World

Mario Steinberg (2021)

SWS Rundschau, 61(4), pp. 431-451

Digitalisierung hat spätestens mit der COVID-19-Pandemie in den Schulen Einzug gehalten. Doch bereits vor den pandemiebedingten Schulschließungen waren Bildungsinstitutionen Gegenstand zahlreicher Digitalisierungsformen. Der vorliegende Beitrag analysiert aus einer akteur*innenzentrierten Perspektive, wie Akteur*innen auf verschiedenen Ebenen den Umgang mit Digitalisierung rechtfertigen, den Wert des Digitalen für ihre Lebenspraxis beurteilen und damit an der Umsetzung von Digitalisierungsreformen mitwirken. Exemplarisch dargestellt werden Rechtfertigungspraxen von Lehrpersonen, Schulleiter*innen und „innovativen“ Lehrpersonen, die unter dem Begriff des „Educators“ zusammengefasst werden. Die Analyse erfolgt unter Zuhilfenahme der Soziologie der Konventionen. Der Beitrag diskutiert, wie sich institutionelle Beziehungen und Praktiken im Governance-Regime der Digitalisierung konstituieren und welche Akteur*innen die digitale Transformation auf der Ebene der  Akteur*innen wie beeinflussen.

Abstract. Digitalization and digitization have found their ways into schools at the latest with the COVID-19 pandemic. But even before the pandemic-related school closures, educational institutions were the subject of numerous digitization reforms. The article analyses from an actor-centred perspective how actors at different levels of the education system justify the use of digitization, assess the value of the digital for their life practices and thus participate in the implementation of digitization reforms. Exemplary justification practicies of teachers, head teachers and „innovative“ teachers, who can be summarized under the term „educreator“, are being reviewed. The analysis is carried out with the support of the sociology of conventions. The article discusses how institutional relations and practices are constituted in the governance regime of digitization, and more particularly, which actors influence the digital transformation at the actor level and how.

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The Quantification of Bodies in Health: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Btihaj Ajana, Joaquim Braga & Simone Guidi (2021)

Bingley: Emerald Publishers.

Extract from the Introduction (p. 1-12): “But often, consciously or unconsciously, one tends to be ‘oriented’ towards particular norms or conventions that are not wholly self-generated but originating from external sources and standardised measures – for instance, the recommendation to eat five vegetables or fruits a day and walk 10,000 steps per day which became the baseline for healthy active lifestyle. A similar argument could be made vis-à-vis the design of self-tracking devices and apps, which is mostly decided by technology companies themselves who introduce and embed new standards and categories which determine what is measured and why (Cappel, 2021, p. 240). As Diaz-Bone (2021, p. 305) postulates: ‘The categories (and algorithms) have been implemented by technology companies and the resulting categories and data are in many cases neither controlled nor understood by users or adopted to their health practices and their health situation. The underlying measurement conventions are invisible for users and in case the data is transferred to the provider of the app, there is also an informational asymmetry in data analysis and its economical exploitation.’ Herein lies one of the challenges and limits of contemporary forms of digital body quantification and self-tracking. Despite the promise of individual autonomy and agency, users are still bound by the design choices of product developers, by existing norms around health and by the market forces of data capitalism.” (p. 6)

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Frames of reference in managing employment from the perspective of economics of conventions

Julia Brandl (2022)

Industrial Relations. Online first

Abstract. In their contribution to this symposium, John W. Budd, Dionne Pohler, and Wei Huang provided directions for understanding how conflicts and human resource (HR) practices are influenced by framing processes. The current literature on frames in the field of human resources and industrial relations tends to view individual actors as representatives of theories on employment relationship, and it focuses on the formal side of HR practices. These features limit scholars’ scope and ability to address the agency of the actors involved in framing processes, particularly employees. Therefore, this article develops an analytical perspective based on the economics of conventions to help realize the promise of Budd, Pohler, and Huang’s work for a deeper understanding of the co-construction of frames and changes in HR practices in work organizations.

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Familiar strangers – managing engagements in public-private partnerships in education

Mathilde Hjerrild Carlsen (2021)

Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, pp. 1-14.

Abstract. Various forms of public-private collaborative organizations have been emerging in the education sector, a development that has made managing public-private partnerships an unavoidable imperative for school managers today. Addressing interactions between the partnership manager of and partners in a public-private innovation partnership, this article explores the attachments public and private actors establish in the framework of such partnerships. While formal structures often bind partnerships together, open innovation partnerships have a more fluid organization in which the participants have to establish the ground for their common work. Specifically, the article presents a study of a Danish partnership project aimed at developing a new secondary school. Drawing on the sociology of engagements, the article sketches out the differing forms of mutual engagements at stake between the actors involved and the challenges they face. As the partnership studied lacked formal agreements, the manager’s and partners’ locally performed acts of proximity became a means of binding the partnership together. In these acts, a mutual explorative engagement intertwined with a familiar engagement, thus creating a distinct attachment of familiar strangers between the public and private actors – an attachment through which ideas on education and common educational visions could traverse the public and private sectors.

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The Place of Greening: Comparing Civic Engagement Scenes of Urban Natures across Danish Cities

Anders Blok, Amanda K. Juvik, Anna Helene Kvist Møller, Jonas Skjold Raaschou-Pedersen & Jakob Laage-Thomsen (2022)

City & Community. Online first

Abstract. As elsewhere in Europe, cities in Denmark have witnessed a surge in civic urban nature engagement, such as place- and practice-based initiatives (e.g., public-access community gardens, organic food collectives, and grazing associations that enhance biodiversity). While this expansion of urban green communities, as we call them, is widely noted in the literature, less attention has been paid to the comparative variability of their local civic expression. In this article, we use digital methods to map out the group styles, the spatial intergroup networks, and the cultural-political value landscapes of 130 urban green communities across the four largest cities in Denmark. To compare results, we develop the concept of “civic engagement scenes” as a way of responding to recent developments in cultural and political sociology. Overall, we show how this notion allows for interpreting civic greening groups: they are neither neighborhood-based endeavors nor hubs of social movement mobilization, but rather geographies of co-engagement that span cities while also forge new senses and practices of place.

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International Large-Scale Assessments and Education System Reform. On the Power of Numbers

Melanie Ehren (2021)

In: Nilsen, Trude/Stancel-PiątakJan, Agnes/Gustafsson, Eric (eds.), International Handbook of Comparative Large-Scale Studies in Education. Perspectives, Methods and Findings. Springer Living Edition. Online

Abstract. International large-scale assessments, such as PISA and TIMSS, have had a profound effect on educational policy and school accountability. In an open letter to the OECD in 2014, a large number of academics expressed their concerns over the continuous cycle of global testing and how it negatively affects student’s well-being and impoverishes classrooms, as it inevitably involves more and longer batteries of multiple-choice testing, more scripted “vendor”-made lessons, and less autonomy for teachers. Others have pointed to the ways in which international large-scale assessments have opened up education systems and built country’s assessment capacities. This chapter reviews the ways in which international standardized assessments permeate national policy and school-level decision-making, drawing on the sociology of numbers to understand the appeal of standardization and benchmarking. The OECD initiative “PISA for Schools” is described and how it potentially extends the influence of international assessments on the classroom. An alternative project within the OECD (the “Strategic Education Governance” project) is presented and how the approach of case studies and learning seminars allows countries to learn more holistically about how to hold schools accountable and improve education. Openness, situational awareness, and a consideration for the complexity of successful reform are presented as necessary “habits of mind” to successfully improve learning outcomes. The final conclusion reflects on the limitations and potential usage of international large-scale assessments for effective education reform.

Extract: “The Power of Numbers
The appeal of international large-scale assessments and their rankings is a topic that has been studied for a number of years. Various studies on “the sociology of quantification” (e.g., Espeland and Stevens, 1998, 2008; Espeland and Sauder, 2007; Frey et al., 2013) talk about the “power of numbers and rankings” and how these have legitimacy over more qualitative information. One of the groundworks in the field is Desrosières’ (1998) book The Politics of Large Numbers which questions the relationship between quantification and government and analyzes the processes of production and communication of numbers and numeric data in relation to the political power they unleash (Diaz-Bone and Didier, 2016). Subsequent studies, such as by Espeland and colleagues, further regarded the way societies produce their own categories and nomenclature, how numbers are used and change our understanding of diffuse qualities, and how quantitative information has become an increasingly dominant form of information to coordinate, evaluate, and value.” (p. 7)

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(Be-)rechenbare Zukunft: Digitale Selbstvermessung und ihre Bewertungsordnungen

Predictable future: digital self-measurement and its assessment orders

Karolin Eva Kappler & Eryk Noji (2022)

In: Eryk Noji, Uwe Vormbusch, Arndt Neumann & Uwe Steiner (eds.), Figurationen von Unsicherheit. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 161-190

Zusammenfassung. Der Beitrag untersucht, wie Nutzer*innen von Selbstvermessungsapplikationen zum Zwecke der Selbstinspektion und -arbeit diese in ihren Alltag integrieren, wie sie diese Integration praktisch rechtfertigen und so mit Sinn versehen. Wir tun dies empirisch mithilfe einer Heuristik, die sich an der Soziologie der Kritik und der Ökonomie der Konventionen orientiert. Gegenwartsdiagnostisch analysieren wir die Selbstvermessung als eine spezifische, durch Daten und Quantifizierung vermittelte Antwort auf normative und kognitive Unsicherheiten. Selbstvermessung repräsentiert insofern ein für die Gegenwart paradigmatisches Handlungsfeld, als die Ausdehnung des gesellschaftlichen Zahlengebrauchs die Voraussetzung und das Medium darstellt, systemisch stabilisierte Handlungszwänge (der ‚Steigerung‘ ebenso wie der ‚Entdeckung‘) mit dem modernen Leitmotiv individueller Sorge um sich zu verbinden.

Abstract. This paper investigates how users of self-measurement applications for the purpose of self-inspection and self-work integrate them into their everyday lives, how they practically justify this integration, and how they thus endow them with meaning. We do this empirically using heuristics inspired by the sociology of critique and the economics of convention. In terms of contemporary diagnosis, we analyze self-measurement as a specific response to normative and cognitive uncertainty mediated by data and quantification. Self-measurement represents a paradigmatic field of action for the present insofar as the expansion of society’s use of numbers provides the precondition and medium for linking systemically stabilized constraints on action (of ‘increase’ as well as ‘discovery’) with the modern leitmotif of individual concern for oneself.

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Des compétences aux qualités professionnelles. Les repères de la sélection des candidats à l’emploi et leur évaluation

From Skills to Professional Qualities
Job Selection Markers and their Evaluation

Guillemette de Larquier & Emmanuelle Marchal (2020)

Travail et emploi, 2020/4 – published 2022, no 163, pp. 5-43

Résumé. L’enquête Offre d’emploi et recrutement (Dares, 2016) permet d’analyser les déclarations spontanées des recruteurs pour préciser ce qui détermine la sélection des candidats à l’emploi: de un à trois critères sont cités avec une grande variété de formulations (N =18 788 occurrences). Une analyse de données met en évidence leur agencement d’après les niveaux de qualification. Trois registres de sélection, traduisant des attentes distinctes à l’égard de la main-d’œuvre, sont identifiés : les capacités à s’investir dans son travail, à évoluer dans l’entreprise et à interagir avec autrui. Selon la mobilisation séparée ou conjointe des registres, nous dégageons quatre classes de recrutement, décrites d’après les caractéristiques des entreprises, des emplois et des profils de candidats recrutés. Enfin, nous mettons en évidence les méthodes de recrutement et de sélection associées à ces différentes classes. Les résultats soulignent l’importance des contextes de recrutement dans le choix des qualités valorisées par les recruteurs, et mettent à mal l’idée d’une transversalité des compétences nécessaire à l’occupation des emplois.

Extrait: “En économie des conventions (Larquier, 2016), on considère que la compétence des travailleurs n’est pas une donnée naturelle qu’il s’agit juste de communiquer à un employeur potentiel (via des canaux de recrutement efficaces) ou de révéler (grâce à des méthodes de sélection fiables et non biaisées) ; le recrutement est « un processus de construction des compétences, et non un processus de révélation de celles-ci » (Marchal, 2015, p. 15). Ce qu’est un bon candidat relève d’un jugement fondé sur des conventions de compétences plurielles en fonction des emplois, des entreprises, des professions, des activités, etc.” (p. 6)

Abstract. The Offre d’emploi et recrutement Survey (Dares, 2016) analyses the spontaneous declarations of recruiters to specify what determines the selection of job candidates: from 1 to 3 criteria are cited with a wide variety of formulations (N=18,788 occurrences). Data analysis highlights their dispersion according to qualification levels. Three selection registers, reflecting different expectations about the workforce, are identified: the abilities to involve oneself in one’s work, to evolve within the firm and to interact with others. According to the separate or joint mobilization of these registers, we identify four recruitment classes, described according to characteristics of firms, jobs and the profiles of recruited candidates. Finally, we highlight the recruitment and selection methods associated with these different classes. The results underline the importance of recruitment contexts in the choice of qualities valued by recruiters, and undermine the idea of the transversal nature of the skills required to be employed.

Excerpt: “In economics of convention (Larquier, 2016), workers’ competence is not considered a natural given that it is just a matter of communicating to a potential employer (via efficient recruitment channels) or revealing (through reliable and unbiased selection methods); recruitment is “a process of constructing competences, not a process of revealing them” (Marchal, 2015, p. 15). What a good candidate is is a judgment based on plural conventions of competencies according to jobs, companies, professions, activities, etc.” (p. 6)

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Koordination und Kompromiss in föderalen Bildungssystemen. Umkämpfte Institutionalisierung eines neuen Zugangswegs in die Lehrpersonenbildung

Coordination and compromise in federal education systems.
Embattled institutionalization of a new access route into teacher education

Sandra Hafner (2022)

Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Open access.

Über das Buch. In vielen Ländern bereitet traditionell das Gymnasium auf die Lehramtsausbildung vor. Diese multimethodische Open Access Studie befasst sich mit der umkämpften Institutionalisierung eines zweiten, alternativen Zugangswegs (Fachmittelschule) in die Lehrpersonenbildung in der Schweiz. Mit der Analyse von Kritik, Konflikt und Kompromiss werden Prozesse der Harmonisierung von Bildung bei gleichzeitiger Bewahrung von regionalen Eigenheiten untersucht. Die Studie leistet damit einen Beitrag zur Erklärung von bildungspolitischer Handlungskoordination in föderalen Bildungssystemen.
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 beiden Schultypen für die Lehrpersonenbildung erklären. Damit wirft die Studie eine neuen, konventionensoziologischen Blick auf Schulkultur(en) als Wertigkeitsdispositive und ermöglicht eine institutionelle Perspektive auf die Formung von Berufs- und Studienwahlmotiven.”

About the book. In many countries, the Gymnasium traditionally prepares students for teacher education. This multi-method open access study addresses the contested institutionalization of a second, alternative entry route (Fachmittelschule) into teacher education in Switzerland. By analyzing critique, conflict, and compromise, the study examines processes of harmonizing education while preserving regional characteristics. The study thus contributes to the explanation of education policy action coordination in federal education systems.
The study also takes a comparative look at the Fachmittelschule and the Gymnasium as school dispositives. Case studies are used to show how the school actors involved construct and (de-)valorize these dispositives, and how this results in different socialization environments for young people. On this basis, the different importance of the two types of schools for teacher education can be explained. Thus, the study casts a new gaze from sociology of conventions on school culture(s) as dispositives of value and enables an institutional perspective on the shaping of career and study choice motives.

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