Archives mensuelles : mai 2022

Verteilte Zurechenbarkeit. Die Bearbeitung von Störungen im Öffentlichen Verkehr

Distributed Accountability. The processing of disruptions in public transport

Tobias Röhl (2022)

Habilitation thesis. Frankfurt: Campus

Über das Buch. Störungen des öffentlichen Verkehrs sind nervenaufreibend. Doch wo beschwert man sich, wenn der Zug ausfällt? Beim Personal vor Ort oder gleich beim Unternehmen? Der ethnographische Blick ins Störungsmanagement der Verkehrsbetriebe zeigt: Jeweils für sich genommen ist keine der beiden Strategien hilfreich. Mit Rückgriff auf Forschungen zu Accountability und technischen Infrastrukturen zeichnet die organisationsethnographische Studie nach, wie Fragen der Verantwortlichkeit technisch vermittelt und zwischen verschiedenen Akteuren hin- und hergeschoben werden. Diese “verteilte Zurechenbarkeit” lässt sich nicht in einzelnen Individuen verorten, sondern findet sich im Zusammenspiel unterschiedlicher Akteure, in den Prozessen und Praktiken des Störungsmanagements.

Auszug: “Accounts sind Rechtfertigungen, die antizipierend oder retrospektiv auf die Abweichung von einer erwarteten Relevanztegel reagieren (Robinson 2016). Für Marvin B. Scott und Stanford M. Lyman (1968) liegt hierin ein Bindeglied zwischen der mikrosoziologischen Beobachtung von Gesprächen und grundlegend makrosoziologischen Fragen. Wofür und mit welchen Argumenten wir unser Handeln rechtfertigen, zeigt grundsätzlich, welchen gesellschaftlichen Sinn wir unserem Tun beimessen — und zwar jenseits lokaler Idiosynkrasien, denn die Argumente müssen sich nicht nur vor alter ego, sondern auch vor einem Tertius bewähren, um gesellschaftliche Geltung beanspruchen zu können (siehe hierzu Lindemann 2010). Damit sind auch hier Abweichungen dankbare Einfallstore für die soziologische Analyse gesellschaftlicher Seibstverständlichkeiten, die oft »seen but unnoticed« (Garfinkel 1967b, 36) bleiben. Einen bekannten Versuch, diese Repertoires des accounting za systematisieten, findet sich in Luc Boltanskis und Laurent Thevenots Überlegungen zur Rechtfertigung als soziale Praxis (Boltanski und Thévenot 2007). Die dort entwickelte Soziologie der Konventionen findet — mit reichlich zeitlicher Verzögerung — seit einigen Jahren auch in der deutschsprachigen Soziologie einigen Nachhall (siehe etwa Diaz-Bone 2011; Bogusz 2018). Zentrales Merkmal dieses Programms ist die Rehabilitierung der Kritikfähigkeit aller Akteure (Boltanski und Thévenot 2007). Im Rückgriff auf Ethnomethodologie und Pragmatismus begegnen uns hier kompetente Akteure, die in der Lage sind, die eigenen Handlungen zu rechtfertigen und die Handlungen Dritter zu kritisieren. Damit verfolgen Boltanski und Thévenot eine Soziologie der Kritik, die sich von einer kritischen Soziologie im Sinne Pierre Bourdieus abgrenzt (siehe hierzu Potthast 2004). Statt der Kritik der Soziologinnen steht nun die Kritik durch alle sozialen Akteure gleichermaßen im Mittelpunkt.” (S. 47/48) 

About the book. Public transportation disruptions are nerve-wracking. But where do you complain when the train is cancelled? To the staff on the spot or straight to the company? An ethnographic look at the disruption management of public transport companies shows: Neither strategy is helpful on its own. Drawing on research on accountability and technical infrastructures, the organizational ethnographic study traces how questions of responsibility are technically mediated and shifted back and forth between different actors. This “distributed accountability” cannot be located in single individuals, but is found in the interplay of different actors, in the processes and practices of incident management.

Extract: “Accounts are justifications that respond anticipatively or retrospectively to deviation from an expected rule of relevance (Robinson 2016). For Marvin B. Scott and Stanford M. Lyman (1968), this is a link between the micro-sociological observation of conversations and fundamentally macro-sociological questions. What we justify our actions for and with which arguments fundamentally shows what social meaning we ascribe to our actions – and this beyond local idiosyncrasies, because the arguments must prove themselves not only before alter ego but also before a tertius in order to be able to claim social validity (on this, see Lindemann 2010). Thus, here too, deviations are grateful gateways for the sociological analysis of social self evidences, which often remain “seen but unnoticed” (Garfinkel 1967b, 36). A well-known attempt to systematize these repertoires of accounting can be found in Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s reflections on justification as social practice (Boltanski and Thévenot 2007). The sociology of conventions developed there has also found some resonance – with ample delay – in German-language sociology in recent years (see, for example, Diaz-Bone 2011; Bogusz 2018). The central feature of this program is the rehabilitation of the critical capacity of all actors (Boltanski and Thévenot 2007). Drawing on ethnomethodology and pragmatism, we encounter here competent actors who are able to justify their own actions and criticize the actions of others. In this way, Boltanski and Thévenot pursue a sociology of critique that is distinct from a critical sociology in the sense of Pierre Bourdieu (on this, see Potthast 2004). Instead of criticism by sociologists, the focus is now on criticism by all social actors alike.” (p. 47/48) 

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Plattformen auf dem Arbeitsmarkt: Digitalisierung und Diversifizierung in der Beschäftigungsindustrie

Platforms in the Labour Market: Digitalization and Diversification of the Employment Industry

Hans J. Pongratz (2022)

Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. Online first

Zusammenfassung. Vermittlungsprozesse auf dem Arbeitsmarkt verlaufen zunehmend unter Mitwirkung von Plattformunternehmen: Online-Stellenbörsen, Karrierenetzwerken, Gigwork- und Crowdworking-Plattformen oder Arbeitgeberbewertungsportalen. Auf der Basis explorativer Internetrecherchen und Dokumentanalysen wird ein Überblick über die Plattformmodelle und ihre Verbindungen zu etablierten Akteuren der Beschäftigungsindustrie, vor allem Zeitarbeitsfirmen und Personalberatungen, gegeben. Mit Bezug auf Theoriekonzepte der Plattformforschung und der Arbeitsmarktanalyse (Infrastruktur, Intermediarität, Ökosystem, Feld) werden Thesen zur Rolle der Plattformen innerhalb der Beschäftigungsindustrie formuliert. In Anbetracht etablierter Strukturen und spezifischer Anforderungen des Arbeitsmarkts finden sich Plattformen in diesem Feld in komplexen Akteurskonstellationen wieder, die sie nicht in der Weise dominieren, wie das von Plattformkonzernen wie Amazon, Facebook oder Google angenommen wird. Privatwirtschaftliche Dienstleistungen der Arbeitskraftvermittlung gewinnen erheblich an Relevanz: Neben der Verfügung über die Daten stellen vor allem das Expertenwissen der Personalberatungen und der politische Einfluss der Zeitarbeitsfirmen maßgebliche Machtressourcen am Markt dar. Die Analyse lässt auf multiple Entwicklungspfade der Plattformökonomie schließen – und auf die Notwendigkeit stärker vergleichender Forschung.

Auszug: ”Die französische Konventionentheorie richtet den Blick auf den Beitrag von Intermediären zur sozialen Konstruktion von Märkten („construction, maintenance, or expansion“, Bessy und Chauvin 2013, S. 84). Ihr Analysefokus liegt auf der Funktion der Wertbestimmung („valuation“) von Gütern und Diensten, indem Intermediäre kognitive Schemata zu ihrer Bewertung bereitstellen und Regeln und Konventionen für den Tausch definieren. Über die bloße Behebung von Informationsdefiziten hinaus verweisen sie auf die Entwicklung und Durchsetzung von Kriterien und Kategorien, die sich in Qualitätskonventionen abbilden (Diaz-Bone 2015). Arbeitsmärkte stellen dafür ein wichtiges Untersuchungsfeld dar, mit der Definition von Kompetenzen in Stellenanzeigen als frühem empirischem Analysefokus (Bessy und Eymard- Duvernay 1997; Bessy 2017). Nach ihrem Beitrag zum „valuation frame“ unterscheiden Bessy und Chauvin (2013, S. 96) vier Typen von Intermediären: „distributors“ regeln Verteilungsaufgaben (etwa als Handelsunternehmen), „matchmakers“ stiften Beziehungen (z. B. Künstleragenturen), „consultants“ machen spezialisierte Wertordnungen zugänglich (mit Modeberatung als Beispiel) und „evaluators“ nehmen „rankings or ratings“ (Bessy und Chauvin 2013, S. 101) vor. Diese Charakterisierungen lassen sich als Grundfunktionen verstehen, die sich im Leistungsangebot eines Intermediärs miteinander verbinden können.” (S. 11/12)

Abstract. Placement processes in the labour market increasingly involve platform companies: online job boards, career networks, gig work and crowdworking platforms, or employer review sites. Based on explorative internet research and document analysis, an overview of platform models and their relations to established actors in the employment industry, e.g., temporary employment agencies and executive search firms, is given. With reference to theoretical concepts of platform research and labour market analysis (infrastructure, intermediation, ecosystem, field), theses on the role of platforms within the employment industry are formulated. Given the established structures and specific requirements of the labour market, platforms find themselves in complex actor constellations in this field, which they do not dominate in the way that platform corporations such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google are assumed to. As a result, private-sector employment services are gaining considerable relevance. In addition to the availability of data, however, the expert knowledge of recruitment agencies and the political influence of temporary staffing firms represent significant power resources in the market. The analysis suggests multiple development paths for the platform economy—and the need for more comparative research.

Extract: “French convention theory focuses on the contribution of intermediaries to the social construction of markets (“construction, maintenance, or expansion,” Bessy and Chauvin 2013, p. 84). Their analysis focuses on the function of valuation of goods and services, in that intermediaries provide cognitive schemes for their valuation and define rules and conventions for exchange. Beyond simply addressing information deficits, they point to the development and enforcement of criteria and categories that are reflected in quality conventions (Diaz-Bone 2015). Labor markets represent an important field of inquiry for this purpose, with the definition of competencies in job advertisements as an early empirical focus of analysis (Bessy and Eymard-Duvernay 1997; Bessy 2017). Following their contribution to the “valuation frame,” Bessy and Chauvin (2013, p. 96) distinguish four types of intermediaries: “distributors” regulate distributional tasks (for example, as trading companies), “matchmakers” endow relationships (e.g., artists’ agencies), “consultants” make specialized value orders accessible (with fashion consulting as an example), and “evaluators” make “rankings or ratings” (Bessy and Chauvin 2013, p. 101). These characterizations can be understood as basic functions that can combine in an intermediary’s service offering.” (p. 11/12)

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From Reality to World. A Critical Perspective on AI Fairness

Jean‑Marie John‑Mathews, Dominique Cardon & Christine Balagué (2022)

Journal of Business Ethics, Online first

Abstract. Fairness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) decisions has become a big challenge for governments, companies, and societies. We offer a theoretical contribution to consider AI ethics outside of high-level and top-down approaches, based on the distinction between “reality” and “world” from Luc Boltanski. To do so, we provide a new perspective on the debate on AI fairness and show that criticism of ML unfairness is “realist”, in other words, grounded in an already instituted reality based on demographic categories produced by institutions. Second, we show that the limits of “realist” fairness corrections lead to the elaboration of “radical responses” to fairness, that is, responses that radically change the format of data. Third, we show that fairness correction is shifting to a “domination regime” that absorbs criticism, and we provide some theoretical and practical avenues for further development in AI ethics. Using an ad hoc critical space stabilized by reality tests alongside the algorithm, we build a shared responsibility model which is compatible with the radical response to fairness issues. Finally, this paper shows the fundamental contribution of pragmatic sociology theories, insofar as they afford a social and political perspective on AI ethics by giving an active role to material actors such as database formats on ethical debates. In a context where data are increasingly numerous, granular, and behavioral, it is essential to renew our conception of AI ethics on algorithms in order to establish new models of responsibility for companies that take into account changes in the computing paradigm.

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Ethical Values in a Post-Industrial Economy: The Case of the Organic Farmers’ Market in Granada (Spain)

Alfredo Macías Vázquez & José Antonio Morillas del Moral (2022)

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 35(9), pp. 1-19.

Abstract. The importance of the collective management of immaterial resources is a key variable in the valorisation of products in a post-industrial economy. The purpose of this paper is to analyse how, in post-industrial economies, it is possible to devise alternative forms of mediation between producers and consumers, such as organic farmers’ markets, to curb the appropriation of rent by transnational and/or local business elites from the value created by immaterial resources. More specifically, we analyse those aspects of the collective management of ethical values that, in the case of organic farmers’ markets, can be a strategic source of competitive advantage for local producers. In this paper, the Ecomercado de Granada is studied as an example of mediation between production and consumption in a post-industrial economy.

Extract: “Thus, common immaterial resources are the result of the historical crystallisation of a set of practices, social relationships, physical qualities, and ideas developed by a human group, which can be perceived by other groups, markets or states as ‘different’, and therefore be subject to a process of enhancement (Kaljonen, 2006).
This is what Boltanski and Esquerre (2017) call “enriched objects”. Goods are not valued for their utility or resistance, as is the case of standard industrial products, but for being new or different. They are often associated with national identity markers, to guarantee their “authenticity”. There is an intense demand for differentiation and demassification, as the capitalist system undergoes a process of endogenization (Boltanski & Chiapello, 2002). In order to claim a label of authenticity, goods need to come from outside the material sphere, in the so-called “deposits of authenticity”, which are spaces outside the commercialised sphere and, in most cases, can be linked to the traditions and customs of the different societies (Boltanski & Chiapello, 2002). Enriched objects coming from a deposit of authenticity are given, at least tacitly, a higher value than that of products of the commercial sphere. An immaterial aspect is also attached to them making them interesting during the process of commercialisation (Boltanski & Esquerre, 2017). The commercialisation of the authentic products enables a re-launch of the transformation process of a non-commercialised sphere into a capitalistic one, which is one of the main drivers of capitalism, in order to face the threat of the mass consumption crisis looming since the 1970’s (Boltanski & Chiapello, 2002).” (p. 5)

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Sozialstrukturanalyse. Grundlagen und Modelle

Social structure analysis. Foundations and models

Christoph Weischer (2022)

2nd edition. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Über das Buch. In dieser Einführung in die Sozialstrukturanalyse wird zum einen grundlegend nach den Ursachen sozialer Differenzierung und der relativen Stabilität von Ungleichheitsstrukturen gefragt. Hierzu wird das Zusammenspiel verschiedener differenzierungsrelevanter Arenen (gesellschaftliche Produktion, Nationalstaat, private Haushalte) in theoretischer wie empirischer Perspektive analysiert. Dabei werden auch jene Instanzen dargestellt, die zur Reproduktion ungleicher Lebenslagen beitragen. Zum anderen werden verschiedene Modelle der neueren (z.B. Intersektionalität) und der klassischen Sozialstrukturanalyse vorgestellt.

About the book. This introduction to social structure analysis asks, first, fundamentally about the causes of social differentiation and the relative stability of inequality structures. To this end, the interplay of different arenas relevant for differentiation (social production, nation-state, private households) is analyzed from both a theoretical and empirical perspective. In this context, the instances that contribute to the reproduction of unequal living conditions are also presented. Second, various models of recent (e.g., intersectionality) and classical social structure analysis are presented.

Auszug: “Worlds of Production
Robert Salais und Michael Storper haben ein Modell zur Unterscheidung verschiedener idealtypischer Welten der Produktion entwickelt. Diese Welten sollen unterschiedliche Handlungsrahmen skizzieren, in denen sich Produzenten und Nutzer dieser Produkte bewegen. Ein wichtiges differenzierendes Moment ist das der Ungewissheit: »In the process of producing and exchanging, each person confronts uncertainty with respect to his or her own actions and those of others. This uncertainty takes radically different forms for each type of product, posing different dilemmas for actors with respect to others, but it must be resolved for production to succeed. This means that, for a given type of product, each actor must have the particular competence and resources needed to get around uncertainty by acting in ways expected and understood by others involved in the same productive effort. The result is a process of economic coordination« (1997, S. 26). Der Ansatz von Salais und Storper ist der ›Ökonomie der Konvention‹ zuzurechnen; dieser handlungsorientierte Ansatz interessiert sich dafür, wie Akteure in ökonomischen Beziehungen mit spezifischen Ungewissheiten z. B. in den Tauschbeziehungen umgehen. Die Lösung dieser Probleme wird darin gesehen, dass die Akteure auf bestimmte Konventionen, eine Art von ›Handlungsgrammatiken‹, zurückgreifen, die die Koordinierung von Interaktion, die Einschätzung von Objekten und Personen unterstützen und die so Interaktionen ermöglichen. […]  Im Kontext der Sozialstrukturanalyse interessieren insbesondere die verschiedenen Formen von Arbeits-Konventionen, die mit diesen Produktionswelten verknüpft sind. Wie oben bereits skizziert, liegt ein zentrales Problem aller Arbeitsbeziehungen darin, dass die Leistungen des Arbeitgebers über die vereinbarte Form und Höhe der Entlohnung mehr oder weniger präzise bestimmt sind. Demgegenüber sind die von den Beschäftigten zu erbringenden Gegenleistungen weitaus schwerer zu bestimmen; sie sollen gemäß ihrem Arbeitsvermögen effektiv zur Erstellung eines spezifischen marktgängigen Produkts beitragen. ‘For workers, this convention resides in work routines, customs and traditions, the development of shared expectations, learning, and the transmission of skills; use of material objects (equipment, tools) and work rules contributes to the convention by encouraging and stabilizing certain behaviors’ (S. 58). […] Die Vorteile dieses von Salais und Storper entwickelten Modells liegen auf zwei Ebenen; auf der Theorieebene bietet der Ansatz der ›Ökonomie der Konventionen‹ eine wichtige Erweiterung des puristischen ökonomischen Instrumentariums, indem die Rolle von Routinen und Institutionen in die Modellierung wirtschaftlichen Handelns einbezogen wird. Das vor diesem Hintergrund entwickelte Modell verschiedener Produktionswelten bietet eine grundsätzliche Alternative zu Phasenmodellen verschiedener Art – vom traditionellen Handwerk zur modernen Industrie, vom Fordismus zum Postfordismus etc. Es wird deutlich, welche Rahmenbedingungen dazu beitragen, dass ganz unterschiedliche Produktionswelten eine je rationale Lösung gegebener Problemkonstellationen liefern können.” (S. 132-136)

Extract: “Worlds of Production
Robert Salais and Michael Storper have developed a model to distinguish between different ideal-typical worlds of production. These worlds are supposed to outline different frames of action in which producers and users of these products move. An important differentiating moment is that of uncertainty: “In the process of producing and exchanging, each person confronts uncertainty with respect to his or her own actions and those of others. This uncertainty takes radically different forms for each type of product, posing different dilemmas for actors with respect to others, but it must be resolved for production to succeed. This means that, for a given type of product, each actor must have the particular competence and resources needed to get around uncertainty by acting in ways expected and understood by others involved in the same productive effort. The result is a process of economic coordination” (1997, p. 26). The approach of Salais and Storper belongs to the ‘economy of convention’; this action-oriented approach is interested in how actors in economic relations deal with specific uncertainties, e.g. in exchange relations. The solution to these problems is seen in the fact that the actors resort to certain conventions, a kind of ‘grammars of action’, which support the coordination of interaction, the estimation of objects and persons, and which thus make interactions possible. […] In the context of social structure analysis, the various forms of work conventions linked to these worlds of production are of particular interest. As already outlined above, a central problem of all labor relations is that the benefits provided by the employer are more or less precisely determined by the agreed form and amount of remuneration. In contrast, the quid pro quos to be provided by workers are far more difficult to determine; they are expected to contribute effectively to the creation of a specific marketable product in accordance with their work capacity. “For workers, this convention resides in work routines, customs and traditions, the development of shared expectations, learning, and the transmission of skills; use of material objects (equipment, tools) and work rules contributes to the convention by encouraging and stabilizing certain behaviors” (p. 58). […] The advantages of this model developed by Salais and Storper lie on two levels; on the theoretical level the approach of the ‘economy of conventions’ offers an important extension of the purist economic toolkit by including the role of routines and institutions in the modeling of economic action. The model of different production worlds developed against this background offers a fundamental alternative to phase models of different kinds – from traditional craft to modern industry, from Fordism to post-Fordism, etc. The model is based on the concept of the ‘economy of conventions’. It becomes clear which framework conditions contribute to the fact that quite different production worlds can each provide a rational solution to given problem constellations.” (pp. 132-136)

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Zur Integration des Modells der Rechtfertigungsordnung in die Wissenssoziologische Diskursanalyse

On the Integration of the Justification Order Model into the Sociology of Knowledge Discourse Analysis

Arne Böker (2022)

In: Bosancic, Sasa/ Keller, Reiner (eds.), Diskurse, Dispositive und Subjektivitäten. Anwendungsfelder und Anschlussmöglichkeiten in der wissenssoziologischen Diskursforschung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 15-29.

Auszug: “2.3 Rechtfertigungsordnungen
Die Studienstiftung bildet einen Gegenort innerhalb des Bildungssystems zur reglementierten Massenhochschule, in der Leistungsdifferenzierungen verunmöglicht werden. Es soll nun der Frage nach den Qualitäten nachgegangen werden, die diesen Gegenort auszeichnen. Boltanski und Chiapello (2003) bieten mit ihren Ausführungen zum „Geist des Kapitalismus“ einen geeigneten theoretischen Ausgangspunkt zur Rekonstruktion dieser Qualitäten: „Der Geist des Kapitalismus verkörpert (…) eine (…) Gesamtheit von Glaubenssätzen, die mit der kapitalistischen Ordnung verbunden sind und zur Rechtfertigung dieser Ordnung, zur Legitimation und mithin zur Förderung der damit zusammenhängenden Handlungsweisen und Dispositionen beitragen.“ (Boltanski & Chiapello, 2003, S. 46) Die Gesamtheit von Glaubenssätzen lässt sich auch als Rechtfertigungsordnung bezeichnen. Akteure können darauf zurückgreifen, wenn sie Kritik ausgesetzt sind und sich genötigt sehen, sich zu rechtfertigen. Zugleich ist es möglich, auf Basis von Rechtfertigungsordnungen das Engagement für eine Sache plausibel zu begründen. Wenn also die Qualitäten der Studienstiftung untersucht werden sollen, so lässt sich nach ihrem Geist, nach ihren Glaubenssätzen beziehungsweise nach ihren Rechtfertigungsordnungen fragen.” (S. 21)

Extract: “2.3 Orders of Justification
The Studienstiftung forms a counter-place within the educational system to the regimented mass university, in which performance differentiations are made impossible. The question of the qualities that characterize this counter-place will now be explored. Boltanski and Chiapello (2003) offer a suitable theoretical starting point for the reconstruction of these qualities with their remarks on the “spirit of capitalism”: “The spirit of capitalism embodies (…) a (…) set of beliefs that are connected with the capitalist order and contribute to the justification of this order, to the legitimation and consequently to the promotion of the modes of action and dispositions associated with it”. (Boltanski & Chiapello, 2003, p. 46) The set of beliefs can also be called the justificatory order. Actors can fall back on it when they are exposed to criticism and feel compelled to justify themselves. At the same time, it is possible to plausibly justify one’s commitment to a cause on the basis of justification orders. Thus, if the qualities of the Study Foundation are to be examined, it is possible to ask about its spirit, its beliefs, and its orders of justification, respectively.” (p. 21)

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In der „Anti-Brennpunktschule “? Neopragmatische Perspektiven auf pädagogisches Unterscheidungswissen, schulische Leistungsordnungen und kategoriale Ungleichheiten

In the “Anti-hot spot school”? Neopragmatic Perspectives on Pedagogical Discernment, School Achievement Orders, and Categorical Inequalities

Kenneth Horvath (2022)

In:  Oleschko, Sven/Grannemann, Katharina/Szukala, Andrea (eds.), Diversitätssensible Lehrer*innenbildung. Theoretische und praktische Erkundungen. Münster: Waxmann, pp. 33-56. Open access.

Auszug. “Als wichtigste theoretische Bezugspunkte dienen diesem Ansatz neopragmatische Perspektiven, wie sie speziell in den französischen Sozialwissenschaften im Kontext der „Soziologie der Konventionen“ und der „Soziologie der Kritik“ entwickelt wurden (Barthe et al., 2016; Boltanski, 2010; Boltanski & Thévenot, 1999, 2007; Diaz-Bone, 2018; Imdorf, Leemann & Gonon, 2019). Die zentrale Anregung dieser Perspektiven liegt darin, professionelle Wissensformen sowohl in ihren logisch- argumentativen als auch in ihren praktisch-situativen Bezügen zu analysieren (also zu untersuchen, in welche übergreifenden Vorstellungen einer „guten und gerechten Schule“ sie eingebettet sind und wie sie für die Definition und Bewältigung konkreter problematischer Situationen genutzt werden): Unterscheidungen wie soziale Herkunft , Begabung oder Migrationshintergrund werden nicht vorab als relevant gesetzt, sondern in ihrer Einbettung in Argumentationen und Situationsdefinitionen rekonstruiert.” (S. 33-34)

Extract. “Neopragmatic perspectives, as developed specifically in the French social sciences in the context of the “sociology of conventions” and the “sociology of critique,” serve as the main theoretical reference points for this approach (Barthe et al., 2016; Boltanski, 2010; Boltanski & Thévenot, 1999, 2007; Diaz-Bone, 2018; Imdorf, Leemann & Gonon, 2019). The central suggestion of these perspectives is to analyze professional knowledges in terms of both their logical-argumentative and practical-situational references (i.e., to examine the overarching notions of a “good and just school” in which they are embedded and how they are used to define and address concrete problematic situations): Distinctions such as socia-le origin , giftedness, or migration background are not set as relevant in advance, but are reconstructed in their embedding in argumentations and situational definitions.” (pp. 33-34)

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Adult Education at Auction: On Tendering-Based Procurement and Valuation in Swedish Municipal Adult Education

Diana Holmqvist (2022)

PhD thesis. Linköping: University of Linkööping. Open access.

Abstract. Our understanding of adult education’s purpose and value is linked to how we think ‘good’ education should be organised and provided. This thesis explores the interplay between organisation and values by looking at how conceptualisations and valuations of adult education are affected when private providers become involved in public education.

For this purpose, the study draws on the example of Swedish municipal adult education (MAE). On the one hand, Swedish adult education is organised to compensate for structural inequalities and mitigate barriers to participation in education for citizens. On the other hand, private providers are allowed to make profits from their involvement in public education. Sweden’s combined commitment to universal welfare and the market make this a particularly interesting case to examine. Mainly contracted through tendering-based procurement, for-profit companies (and to a lesser extent non-public organisations) now service almost half of all MAE course participants. The thesis explores how municipalities construct the value and purpose of MAE when placing orders with private providers, and how teachers working in MAE reflect upon the purpose and value of MAE.

Drawing on empirical data from both procurements and interviews, the study shows that municipalities use tendering-based procurement to shape the public-private partnership and promote different values. On a national level, this creates a heterogenous landscape of adult education provision and valuations. Furthermore, the study shows that there are tensions between MAE teachers’ professional self-conceptualisations and the realities put forth by policy or constructed in the procurement process. Analysing how teachers navigate these tensions, the study shows that teachers work to resist reformation, while they also become complicit in enforcing values promoted through policy and procurement.

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Avaliação, Classificação e Decisões sobre Embriões In Vitro: As (Re)Apropriações das Normas pelos Embriologistas

Evaluation, Classification and Decision-Making on In Vitro Embryos: The (Re)Appropriations of Norms by Embryologists

Catarina Delaunay & Luís Gouveia (2021)

Antropolítica, 52, pp. 94-118

Resumo. Este artigo descreve, analisa e discute as formas de relação dos embriologistas com as normas padronizadas que orientam a sua prática profissional no âmbito das técnicas de Procriação Medicamente Assistida em termos de avaliação, classificação e tomada de decisão sobre o embrião humano criado in vitro. Com base em entrevistas realizadas com embriologistas de centros públicos e privados de Procriação Medicamente Assistida, problematizamos as formas de adesão e conformação à governança pela norma, ou, como contraposto, às modalidades de composição, adaptação, negociação, ressignificação e crítica das normatividades estandardizadas por parte desses profissionais de saúde de acordo com os seus próprios esquemas cognitivos, saberes experienciais e padrões normativos. Sistematizamos os critérios usados na decisão sobre os embriões a transferir, congelar ou descartar e propomos uma gramática de lógicas em termos de atitudes  e posicionamentos, mais ou menos rígidos, dos embriologistas diante dos standards e guidelines de avaliação e da classificação dos embriões.

Abstract. This article describes, analyzes and discusses the ways in which embryologists relate to the standardized norms that guide their professional practice in the field of Medically Assisted Procreation techniques in terms of evaluation, classification and decision-making about the human embryo created in vitro. Based on interviews conducted with embryologists from public and private Medically Assisted Procreation centers, we problematize the forms of adherence and conformation to governance by the norm, or, as a counterpoint, the modalities of composition, adaptation, negotiation, re-signification and critique of standardized normativities by these health professionals according to their own cognitive schemes, experiential knowledge and normative standards. We systematize the criteria used in deciding which embryos to transfer, freeze or discard, and propose a grammar of logics in terms of embryologists’ more or less rigid attitudes and stances towards embryo evaluation and classification standards and guidelines.

Extract: “Informação e conformidade, enquanto investimentos em formas (THÉVENOT, 1984, 1986) que geram formas do provável (THÉVENOT, 2002) associadas à grandeza industrial (BOLTANSKI; THÉVENOT, 2006) em termos de eficácia técnica (avaliação da qualidade e potencial de evolução do embrião) remetem para formas convencionais de coordenação da ação (entre embriologistas, médicos e beneficiários).
Alguns desses profissionais definem-se como “pragmáticos” (Entrevista B7.1), vinculando-se mais aos standards de avaliação técnico-científica dos embriões e procedimentos padronizados de seleção e rejeição, sem que essa decisão suscite em si qualquer tipo de inquietação. Como analisamos mais à frente, outros embriologistas introduzem uma maior complexidade de variáveis na descrição que fazem da tomada de decisão sobre os embriões gerados em laboratório (descarte, criopreservação, transferência etc.). Se a estandardização, ao produzir garantias públicas, em termos de regulação e objetividade, pode engendrar a pressão e opressão de um regime de envolvimento sobre outro (THÉVENOT, 2009), alguns embriologistas entrevistados contrariam essa sobreposição da norma padronizada mediante formas de envolvimento compósitas.” (p. 102)

Extract: “Information and conformity, as investments in forms (THÉVENOT, 1984, 1986) that generate forms of the probable (THÉVENOT, 2002) associated with industrial grandeur (BOLTANSKI; THÉVENOT, 2006) in terms of technical efficacy (evaluation of the embryo’s quality and potential for evolution) refer to conventional forms of action coordination (among embryologists, physicians and beneficiaries).
Some of these professionals define themselves as “pragmatic” (Interview B7.1), binding themselves more to the standards of technical-scientific evaluation of embryos and standardized procedures of selection and rejection, without this decision itself raising any kind of inquiry. As we analyze later, other embryologists introduce a greater complexity of variables in their description of decision making about laboratory-generated embryos (discard, cryopreservation, transfer, etc.). If standardization, by producing public guarantees, in terms of regulation and objectivity, can engender the pressure and oppression of one involvement regime over another (THÉVENOT, 2009), some interviewed embryologists counter this superimposition of the standardized norm by composite forms of involvement.” (p. 102)”

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Steuerung von Bildungseinrichtungen – Theoretische Analysen erziehungswissenschaftlicher Organisationsforschung

Governance of educational institutions. Theoretical analyses of educational organization research

Matthias Alke & Timm C.Feld (eds.)(2022)

Wiesbaden: Springer VS

Über das Buch. Eine Voraussetzung für die erfolgreiche Realisierung lebenslangen Lernens liegt in Bildungseinrichtungen, die den Rahmen für die professionelle Begleitung und Unterstützung individueller Lern- und Bildungsprozesse schaffen. Mit Blick auf die organisationale Ebene rücken dann Steuerungsfragen in den Fokus, die auch auf eine Erneuerung oder Verbesserung der strategischen, strukturellen, kulturellen sowie angebotsbezogenen Merkmale und Prozesse der Bildungseinrichtungen zielen. Der Sammelband zielt darauf ab, Potentiale als auch Grenzen unterschiedlicher grundlagentheoretischer Zugänge (Systemtheorie, Neo-Institutionalismus, Soziologie der Konventionen) aufzuzeigen, um steuerungsbezogene Fragen von Bildungseinrichtungen zu analysieren und empirisch zu untersuchen.

About the book. A prerequisite for the successful realization of lifelong learning lies in educational institutions that create the framework for the professional accompaniment and support of individual learning and educational processes. With a view to the organizational level, questions of control then come into focus, which also aim at a renewal or improvement of the strategic, structural, cultural as well as supply-related characteristics and processes of educational institutions. The anthology aims to show potentials as well as limitations of different basic theoretical approaches (systems theory, neo-institutionalism, sociology of conventions) to analyze and empirically investigate control-related issues of educational institutions.

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Production, Retailing and Consumption of Food. Commodity Chains before and after Covid-19

Conference 16./17.06.2022, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Organizers: Elmar Kulke, Linda Hering and Jakob Engel (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany), Nina Baur and Lara Espeter (Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)

Aims of the Conference

During the last decades, global economic interactions have been strongly influenced by the development of global commodity chains (GCC) which are linking different steps of production, transportation/logistics, retailing and consumption at different places all over the world. In the beginning, only manufacturing industries were organized on a global level. Today more and more fresh food, vegetables or flowers are coming from new-established export-oriented farming in countries of the Global South. All in all, in a globalizing world, how these global commodity chains are organized and develop is of great importance for the functioning of the economy and society. This is especially true for agricultural production in general and the production of fresh produce in particular which are especially sensitive sectors both for producers and consumers: While agriculture is only a minor economic sector in highly industrialized countries, in the Global South, agricultural production remains an important sector. Agriculture thus remains an important source of the livelihoods for large parts of the world population. Regional-, supra-regional and export-linkages open farmer reliable incomes and enable them to invest in improving the production; but they also have to obey social and ecological standards defined by retailing and consumption. However, the system also makes farmers vulnerable, if they face sudden changes through competition with new developing production clusters or external shocks like Corona. For highbrow consumers in the Global North, fresh produce such as flowers or exotic fresh fruit served out of season have been a source of distinction for a long time. More importantly, for not-so-well-off consumers, food is especially sensitive because eating is not only a necessity but in many parts of the world, poverty is still linked to lack of food. Even in Europe, the experience and fear of starvation is deeply engrained in cultural memory, as for long periods of European history, everyday lives were characterized by lack of food and famines. Before the Corona crisis, this seemed a thing of the past: Modern-day consumers experienced food and other fresh produce as a commodity like any other to be bought securely on a regular basis all over the year in the local stores without having to worry about their origins and availability. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought this seeming security to an immediate end: The sudden and ongoing lock-downs and restrictions of transport have shown how fragile and vulnerable global commodity chains in general and commodity chains of fresh agricultural products in particular are. Understanding how commodity chains, logistics, transport and communication for agricultural fresh products are organized and have been re-organized during the last decades, as well as comprehending the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on commodity chains thus is of utmost importance. Such analyses of should not only be based on theoretical considerations but also on empirical evidence and more detailed analyses. The conference will provide this empirical evidence. The main objective of the conference is to analyze how production, retailing and consumption of food interlock as well as how external shocks induce the (re-)organization of the commodity chains for agricultural fresh-products. We will particularly analyze the Covid-19 -down-induced) and the long-term (induced by attempts to establish of reliable and robust chains) positive and negative effects both on 2 the organization of commodity chains and the individual actors of the chain. We will inspect how the spatial distribution of commodity chains interacts with actors on the actor levels by combining the economic geography approaches of global value chains (GVC) and global production networks (GPN) with the economic sociological approaches of convention theory and world systems analysis. The Papers address one of the following questions:

  1. How were commodity chains organized and spatially structured before the Covid-19 crisis and what challenges did they face during the crisis?
  2. What are the driving forces of these changes? That is: Who are powerful actors in the chain(consumers, retailers, intermediaries, agricultural producers, policy-makers) and where are they located? Who acted when, why and with what effects as a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis?
  3. What short-term effects (during the crisis) and long-term effects (after the crisis) does this have on the spatial organization of the chain and on the actors of the chain? What effect does the organization?

Please register until 10.06.22. Contact: linda.hering@hu-berlin.de

Gesundheit – Konventionen – Digitalisierung. Eine politische Ökonomie der (digitalen) Transformationsprozesse von und um Gesundheit

Health – Conventions – Digitalization. A Political Economy of the (Digital) Transformation Processes of and around Health

Valeska Cappel & Karolin Eva Kappler (eds.) (2022)

Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Open access.

Ninth book in the series „Soziologie der Konventionen

Über das Buch. Die Open Access Publikation nimmt die Mobilisierung von Gesundheit als Kategorie in den Fokus. Dem pragmatischen Zugang zu Digitalisierung und Gesundheit der Économie des Conventions folgend, wird situativ aufgezeigt, welche Rolle bestehende und neue Formen, Konventionen und Objekte spielen, insbesondere im Zusammenhang mit digitalen Transformationen. Der Sammelband setzt sich damit von einer salutogenetischen oder pathologischen Betrachtungsweise, die den bisherigen soziologischen Blick auf Gesundheitsverhältnisse mitunter geprägt hat, ab und zeichnet die Pluralität der Konventionen im Gesundheitsfeld nach.

About the book. This open access publication focuses on the mobilization of health as a category. Following the pragmatic approach to digitalization and health of Économie des Conventions, it situationally highlights the role of existing and new forms, conventions, and objects, especially in the context of digital trans-formations. The anthology thus departs from a salutogenetic or pathological approach, which has sometimes shaped the sociological view of health relations to date, and traces the plurality of conventions in the field of health.

Table of contents

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Learning for life: ESD, ecopedagogy and the new spirit of capitalism

Rikard Hjorth Warlenius (2022)

Journal of Environmental Education, Online first

Abstract. More than a decade ago, critical ecopedagogue Richard Kahn expressed his fears and hopes regarding Education for sustainable development (ESD). He feared that ESD would be short lived and marginalized and would develop an instrumental pedagogy of one-sided transmission of knowledge, yet hoped for ESD to encompass three types of “ecoliteracies”: technical/functional, cultural and critical. After an assessment of current ESD, as reported by UNESCO, this paper concludes that his two first fears were unfounded, while his hopes regarding ESD’s pedagogical content were largely not met. To better understand the result, Luc Boltanski’s and Éve Chiapello’s analysis of “the new spirit of capitalism” is mobilized. According to it, current capitalism integrates “artistic critique” on e.g., lack of autonomy and creativity with greater ease than “social critique” with respect to e.g., poverty and inequality. This might explain what ecoliteracies that are integrated into ESD.

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Digitalisierung und qualitative Bildungs- und Sozialforschung. Kommentierte Suchbewegungen und ein Entwurf zur Systematisierung des Einflusses des Digitalen

Digitization and qualitative educational and social research. Annotated Search Movements and a Draft for Systematizing the Influence of the Digital

Maria Kondratjuk (2022)

In: Maria Kondratjuk, Olaf Dörner, Sandra Tiefel & Heike Ohlbrecht (eds.): Qualitative Forschung auf dem Prüfstand. Beiträge zur Professionalisierung qualitativ-empirischer Forschung in den Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaften. Opladen: Barbara Budrich, pp. 47-63. Open access.

Auszug: “Eine der grundsätzlichen Problematisierungen, die mit der Digitalisierung einhergehen, ist die Veränderung der Sozialökologien, die durch die Digitalisierung „einflussreiche metaphysische und sozialtheoretische Grundlagen (nicht nur) der qualitativen Sozialforschung in Frage“ stellt (Diaz-Bone 2021, o.S.). Formen der Sozialität, Informalität, Materialität usw. (und damit zur Rolle von nicht-menschlichen Akteuren/Aktanten und digitalen Dingen9) werden neu und anders verhandelt und definiert.10 Es gibt Ansätze, die explizit auf einer methodologischen Reflexion gründen, wie die Akteur-Netzwerk- Theorie (z.B. Latour 2016), die Situationsanalyse (z.B. Clarke 2012), die relationale Netzwerkanalyse (Fuhse & Mützel 2010), Sozialweltanalysen (z.B. Kondratjuk 2017) oder die Theorie der Konventionen (Diaz-Bone & Thévenot 2010) als Kombination neostrukturalistischer und neopragmatischer Zugänge, die Perspektiven für die angeführten Problematisierungen eröffnen (vgl. dazu Diaz-Bone et al. 2020).” (S. 59)

Extract. “One of the fundamental problematizations associated with digitization is the change in social ecologies, which through digitization “calls into question influential metaphy-sical and social theoretical foundations (not only) of qualitative social research” (Diaz-Bone 2021, o.p.). Forms of sociality, informality, materiality, etc. (and thus to the role of non-human actors/actants and digital things9) are being renegotiated and defined differently.10 There are approaches explicitly grounded in methodological reflection, such as actor-network theory (e.g., Latour 2016), situation analysis (e.g., Clarke 2012), relational network analysis (Fuhse & Mützel 2010), social world analyses (e.g. Kondratjuk 2017) or the theory of conventions (Diaz-Bone & Thévenot 2010) as a combination of neostructuralist and neopragmatic approaches that open up perspectives for the problematizations cited (cf. Diaz-Bone et al. 2020).“ (p. 59)

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Producing decent work indicators: contested numbers at the ILO

John Berten (2022)

Policy and Society, Online first

Abstract. The article investigates the production of decent work indicators within the ILO, to demonstrate that developing measurement infrastructures in global policymaking requires political work. The concept of decent work responds to the perceived marginalization of the ILO in social and labor policy and was supposed to provide a new unifying normative framework for the organization. The article shows that creating decent work indicators encountered challenges due to its highly politicized production process. Proponents of quantification (mostly workers’ representatives) and opponents (mostly employers’ representatives) disagreed about the function of indicators: should they be country-specific or allow for universal assessment of progress from above. In effect, although indicators of decent work have been integrated into the Sustainable Development Goals—mostly as part of goal no. 8, many are still incomplete. As a result, the indicators did not establish a “framework of assessment,” which would have been guided by universal standards of progress allowing the ILO to “govern at a distance,” and could not initiate a paradigmatic policy shift, impeding the infrastructuralization of measurement. Theoretically, the article advances our understanding of policy formulation and design on the transnational level by showing the political foundation of knowledge-based instruments. Empirically, it rests on a Grounded Theory-based analysis of key ILO documents, including Governing Body minutes, conference and expert meeting reports, and official publications, mainly from the period from 1998 to 2015.

Extract: “Indicators usually make invisible how they are constructed (Merry, 2011, p. S86), but “standardization and evidence are both socially embedded and politically contested processes of knowledge creation” (Elgert, 2015, p. 342). According to Desrosières (2016, p. 184; emphasis in original), producing numerical knowledge “entails firstly, agreement, that is deciding on the conventions, choice of objects and modes of equivalence and then, once these conventions have been finalised, proceeding with the measurement operations proper.” However, to make something comparable is an “active” construction of similarity, requiring epistemic and political labor, including potential contestation […]” (p. 4)

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