Archives mensuelles : septembre 2022

The Substance of Conventions in Economics (of Convention)

Online-Lecture given by Guillemette de Larquier (via Zoom) at the Social Research Colloquium (University of Lucerne, Switzerland). 05 October from 16:15-17:00 (afterwards discussion).

Economics of convention (EC) became visible with the special issue of la Revue économique published in 1989, entitled “Économie des conventions.” It is remarkable that all the authors, Jean-Pierre Dupuy, Olivier Favereau, André Orléan, Robert Salais, and Laurent Thévenot, except François Eymard-Duvernay, cited in their respective articles the notions of convention developed by the philosopher David Lewis in 1969 and the economist John Maynard Keynes in 1936. These are clearly the economic references of EC. They have in common to study situations characterized by an infinite specularity of individual reasoning, and confronting the two approaches lead to question the hypothesis of rationality that was best suited to the plurality of coordination studied by EC (Diaz-Bone and Larquier, 2022).

The communication will follow this economic entry of EC. Actually, the concept of conventions leads economists to ask themselves three questions: 1/ What type of uncertainty (of the coordination)? 2/ What type of rationality (of the individuals)? What type of normativity (of the conventions)? The answers to these three questions reveal what the substance of a convention is for David Lewis (and Robert Sugden), for John Maynard Keynes and for EC. Also, it will be of great interest to understand what each approach can say about the dynamics of conventions.

”Maskipakko ja vähän äkkiä ” : Kasvomaskit Helsingin Sanomien mielipidekirjoituksissa vuonna 2020

“Make face masks mandatory, now” : Face masks as a topic in letters to the editor in Helsingin Sanomat during 2020

Riikka Elina Pasanen (2022)

MA thesis. Helsinki: University of Helsinki

Abstract. Tutkielma tarkastelee kasvomaskikeskustelua Helsingin Sanomissa julkaistuissa mielipidekirjoituksissa vuonna 2020. Sen tavoitteena on selvittää, miten kansalaiset argumentoivat kasvomaskien ja niihin liittyvien politiikkatoimivaihtoehtojen puolesta ja niitä vastaan. Covid-19-pandemia on ajankohtainen ja tärkeä tutkimuskohde. Suun ja nenän alueen peittävät henkilökohtaiset suojaimet eli maskit ovat pandemian keskeisiä symboleja. Tutkimuksen teoreettinen viitekehys on Luc Boltanskin ja Laurent Thévenot’n kehittämä julkisen oikeuttamisen teoria ja siihen kuuluvat seitsemän oikeuttamisen maailmaa. Tutkimuksen aineisto koostuu 66 mielipidekirjoituksesta, joita on analysoitu laadullisen sisällönanalyysin keinoin. Analyysissa on selvitetty, mitä oikeuttamisen maailmoja ja argumentteja kansalaiset käyttävät esittäessään kannatusta ja kritiikkiä kasvomaskin käyttöä kohtaan sekä sitä, miten kirjoittajat tuovat esille Suomen maskisuosituksen ja mahdollisen maskipakon etuja ja haasteita oikeuttamisen maailmojen valossa. Helsingin Sanomien mielipidekirjoitukset ovat olleet pääosin maskien käytön kannalla jo ennen virallista maskisuositusta. Helsingin Sanomiin kirjoittaville mielipidekirjoitus on yhteiskunnallisen vaikuttamisen kanava, jonka kautta kirjoittajat yrittävät vaikuttaa päättäjiin. Päättäjille viestivät lehdessä aktiivisesti niin asiantuntijat, edustajat kuin yksilötkin. Analyysin perusteella asiantuntijat kirjoittivat aktiivisemmin kasvomaskeista päättäjille kuin yksityishenkilöt. Kansalaisille osoitetut kirjoitukset tulivat useimmiten toisilta kansalaisilta. Asiantuntijoiden ja yksityishenkilöiden repertuaareissa ovat osin eri oikeutusmaailmat. Aineiston perusteella moni kirjoittaja on kokenut elokuun puolessa välissä voimaan tulleen virallisen maskisuosituksen riittämättömäksi. Solidaarisuuden puutteen tai maskittomien itsekkyyden narratiivi johtaa kansalaisuuden maailman perusteluihin nojaavat kirjoittajat kritisoimaan suosituksia ja kannattamaan kansalaiset tasa-arvoistavaa maskipakkoa. Viranomaisten ristiriitainen viestintä ja muuttuvat linjaukset kasvomaskeista ovat luoneet poikkeustilanteessa otollisen areenan kansalaiskeskustelulle, johon myös asiantuntijat osallistuvat. Tämä poliittisen sosiologian alalle sijoittuva tapaustutkimus on siis myös demokratian toteutumisen tutkimusta ja maskin käyttöön liittyneiden politiikkatoimien vaikutusten arviointia. Kasvomaskeja yhteiskuntatieteellisestä näkökulmasta käsitteleviä tutkimuksia on julkaistu toistaiseksi hyvin vähän Suomessa ja maailmalla. Tämä tutkimus valottaa toistaiseksi erittäin vähän tutkittua aihetta ja lisää tietoa Covid-19-pandemian yhteiskunnallisista vaikutuksista tarjoten kiinnostavia lähtökohtia jatkotutkimukselle.

Abstract. The study examines the face mask debate in opinion pieces published in Helsingin Sanomat in 2020. It aims to explore how citizens argue for and against face masks and related policy options. The Covid-19 pandemic is a timely and important research topic. Personal protective masks covering the mouth and nose are key symbols of the pandemic. The theoretical framework of the study is the theory of public justification developed by Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot and its seven worlds of justification. The data consists of 66 opinion pieces analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The analysis has explored which worlds of justification and arguments are used by citizens to express support and criticism of the use of face masks, and how the authors present the advantages and challenges of the Finnish mask recommendation and a possible mask ban in the light of the worlds of justification. Helsingin Sanomat’s male-bias articles have been largely in favor of mask use even before the official mask recommendation. For those writing for Helsingin Sanomat, opinion writing is a channel of social influence through which writers try to influence decision-makers. Experts, representatives and individuals alike actively communicate with decision-makers in the paper. Based on the analysis, experts were more active in writing about growth issues to decision-makers than individuals. Writing to citizens was most often from other citizens. The repertoires of experts and private individuals are in part based on different worlds of legitimacy. The material suggests that many authors felt that the official mask recommendation, which came into force in mid-August, was inadequate. The narrative of a lack of solidarity or the selfishness of the masked leads authors who rely on the arguments of the world of citizenship to criticize the recommendations and to advocate a masquerade that equates citizens. The contradictory communication and changing policies of the authorities on growth masks have created an exceptional arena for civil debate, in which experts are also involved. This case study in the field of political sociology is thus also a study of the implementation of democracy and an evaluation of the effects of policy measures associated with the use of the mask. So far, very few studies on growth masks from a social science perspective have been published in Finland and abroad. This study sheds light on a topic that has been very little studied so far and adds to the knowledge on the social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing interesting starting points for further research.

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Estatísticas e gestão política do primeiro ano da pandemia de COVID-19 na Argentina

Statistics and political management during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic in Argentina

Claudia Daniel, Natalia Romero Marchesini & Cecilia T. Lanata-Brione (2022)

Sociologias, 24(60), pp. 16-49. Open access (Español & English)

Resumo. A pandemia de Covid-19 estimulou a geração e ampla circulação de estatísticas de saúde. Este artigo examina o papel assumido pelas estatísticas da Covid-19 na gestão política da emergência sanitária na Argentina, país que se caracterizou por adotar medidas precoces, um confinamento social estrito inicial e subsequentes flexibilizações que significaram um desafio de coordenação em uma sociedade em crise. A pesquisa adotou uma estratégia metodológica qualitativa apoiada na análise sistemática de diversas fontes: regulamentos, relatórios governamentais, imprensa e registros em vídeo de coletivas de imprensa presidenciais. Por um lado, o artigo explora a trama institucional de elaboração dessas estatísticas, detendo-se em alguns pontos dessa cadeia como as classificações estatísticas, e destaca a série de tensões a que foi exposta. Por outro lado, mostra como as estatísticas foram usadas para conferir legitimidade às decisões da autoridade política, encenadas por meio de verdadeiros rituais de quantificação, ao mesmo tempo em que serviram de instrumento para o exercício dessa autoridade. Além de atribuir significado à experiência compartilhada, os indicadores estatísticos faziam parte de um dispositivo de coordenação da ação à distância e a partir do centro, que restringia as margens de ação discricionária das autoridades subnacionais e funcionava como um mecanismo externo e impessoal de regulação em uma sociedade convulsionada por uma situação tão excepcional quanto a pandemia.

Abstract. The Covid-19 pandemic triggered the generation as well as the ample circulation of health statistics. This article examines the role that Covid-19 statistics acquired in the management of the Argentine health emergency. Argentina adopted lockdown measures early and initially had a strict social confinement with subsequent relaxations that became a coordination challenge in a society in crisis. This research followed a qualitative methodological strategy supported by systematic analysis of regulations, government reports, press articles, and presidential press conferences. On the one hand, the article explores the institutional structure behind the elaboration of Covid-19 statistics, focusing on statistical classifications, and underlines the tensions to which it was exposed. On the other hand, it shows how statistics were used to bestow legitimacy to the decisions of the political authority, staged in true rituals of quantification, as they were a means through which that authority was exercised. In addition to attributing meaning to a shared experience, statistical indicators became a device for coordinating action at a distance and from the center, restricting the margins of discretionary action of the subnational authorities and operating as an external and impersonal mechanism of regulation in a society disrupted by an exceptional situation.

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A virada material nos estudos organizacionais: contribuições da Teoria das Justificações

The material turn in organizational studies: contributions of Justification Theory

Priscila Keller Pires & Graziela Dias Alperstedt (2022)

Cadernos EBAPE.BR, pp. 1-22. Open access

Resumo. O objetivo deste ensaio é o de contribuir para o debate sobre a “virada material” nas ciências sociais e, mais especificamente, a respeito da sociomaterialidade nos estudos organizacionais, incluindo a espacialidade. Defendemos a proposição da Teoria das Justificações, que preconiza que os momentos de disputa vivenciados nas organizações não se reduzem apenas aos discursos, mas se valem de objetos e espaços para reafirmar sua lógica de ação. Para isso, abordamos a Teoria das Justificações aplicada ao estudo das organizações, com destaque para o engajamento de objetos, coisas e espaços que são acionados nesses momentos de disputa ou de prova, tão presentes nas organizações, contribuindo para os avanços dessa perspectiva de análise. Com isso, oferecemos uma perspectiva que se soma às pesquisas existentes sobre sociomaterialidade nos estudos organizacionais, em diferentes níveis de análise. Depois de discutir a Teoria da Justificação, suas lógicas morais, a sociomaterialidade e o espaço nos estudos organizacionais, mostramos estudos correlacionados e apontamos caminhos e reflexões para uma agenda de pesquisa sobre o tema. O debate em torno da temática auxilia na compreensão da interação da materialidade com a cognição, o discurso e o comportamento nas diferentes dinâmicas organizacionais.

Abstract. The aim of this essay is to contribute to the debate about the “material turn” in the social sciences and, more specifically, about socio-materiality in organizational studies, including spatiality. We defend the proposition of the Justifications Theory, which advocates that the moments of dispute experienced in organizations are not only reduced to discourses, but make use of objects and spaces to reaffirm their logic of action. To this end, we address the Theory of Justifications applied to the study of organizations, with emphasis on the engagement of objects, things and spaces that are triggered in these moments of dispute or proof, so present in organizations, contributing to the advances of this perspective of analysis. In doing so, we offer a perspective that adds to existing research on sociomateriality in organizational studies at different levels of analysis. After discussing Justification Theory, its moral logics, sociomateriality and space in organizational studies, we show correlated studies and point paths and reflections for a research agenda on the theme. The debate around the topic assists in understanding the interaction of materiality with cognition, discourse and behavior in different organizational dynamics.

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Dissecting communities of renewable energy: a comparative investigation in New Aquitaine (France)

Claudia Colombarolli & Luca Storti (2022)

Review of Social Economy, Online first, pp. 1-28

Abstract. Market liberalization in the energy sectors has created several regulatory gaps that ‘heterodox forms’ of economic experiences – such as Community Renewable Energy Organizations (hereinafter, CREOs) – can fill. CREOs are cooperatives or corporations, financing the installation of energy devices. But how do CREOs establish themselves? What are the different ‘social features’ that CREOs assume over time? To deal with these questions, the paper investigates several CREOs through comparative case studies located in the region of New Aquitaine (France). With this aim, we argue that it is useful to cross-fertilize two streams of the literature of economic sociology: the first is the theory of conventions; the latter is that of embeddedness. We will show that CREOs assume distinctive ‘social features’ based on different aggregations of conventions driving social actions, the interaction patterns between the participants and the interactions with local institutions.

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The Legitimacy of Performance-Related Pay in Swedish Public Sector Organisations

Bengt Larsson, Ylva Ulfsdotter Eriksson & Petra Adolfsson (2022)

Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, 26(1), pp. 45-65. Open access

Abstract. This study analyses the legitimacy of different pay determination principles in Swedish public sector organisations. The aim is to explore what dimensions of worth exist in pay determination and to analyse the extent to which differences in legitimacy can be explained by organisational position, professional identity and organisational context. Theoretically, the article is influenced by “valuation studies” and the “institutional logics” and “orders of worth” approaches in analysing the existence of multiple dimensions of pay determination. Empirically, the study is based on surveys to employees and managers. The main results are that individual performance is the most legitimate dimension of worth, although job requirements and employee behaviour also have a high level of legitimacy. Formal individual competence and market value have a somewhat lower level of legitimacy, while organisational results is the dimension that has least legitimacy. In addition, the perceptions of legitimacy are shown to vary somewhat with position, profession and organisational context.

Extract: “A plurality of legitimate pay principles?
From the above, one might assume that in terms of pay there is one legitimate way to determine the worth of work. However, what norms and values are institutionalised and applicable may vary between institutional contexts and situations. To elaborate on this, we turn to the theories of institutional logics (Thornton et al. 2012) and the orders of worth approach (Boltanski and Thévenot 2006). Even though these approaches differ slightly in ontology and epistemology, they both make it possible to discuss a plurality of legitimate (pay) principles (Cloutier and Langley 2013). Thereby, such an approach differs from studies that ask only about the PRP principle (Hellgren et al. 2017; Sverke et al. 2004, Wallenberg 2012), or studies that examine different pay principles without trying to find out the plural dimensionality of them (Karlsson Håål and Hedin 2015; Stenberg 2011). However, it should be noted that “institutional logics” and “orders of worth” are used here as “sensitizing” rather than as fixed classifications (cf. Blumer 1954). The reason is that the empirically existing dimensions of legitimate pay principles may vary from the theoretical classifications (cf. Stamer 2018).” (p. 47)

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Konturen einer praxistheoretischen Professions- und Entscheidungsforschung

Outline of a practice-based perspective on professional decision-making

Stephan Dahmen (2022)

Empirische Pädagogik, 36(1), pp. 31-47

Zusammenfassung. Ausgehend von der Problematisierung eines individualistischen Begriffs von Entscheidung referiert der Beitrag eine praxistheoretische Perspektive auf Entscheidungen in pädagogischen Kontexten mit dem Zweck, die Sensitivität für deren empirische Erforschung, insbesondere im Rahmen qualitativ-rekonstruktiver Forschung zu erhöhen. Die praxistheoretische Perspektive auf Soziale Wirklichkeit wird anhand von drei perspektivischen Verschiebungen des Entscheidungsbegriffs diskutiert: Erstens, der Frage der raum-zeitlichen Verortung und Beobachtbarkeit von Entscheidungen, zweitens, der praxistheoretischen Dezentrierung des Entscheidungs- und Handlungssubjekts und drittens, anhand der Frage der Rationalität von Entscheidungen. Der Beitrag argumentiert diesbezüglich für eine analytische Abkehr von präskriptiven Modellen professionellen Entscheidens als reflexiv-intentionale Verknüpfung von Diagnose, Inferenz und Behandlung und plädiert dafür, den Untersuchungsfokus vom individuellen Akteur zum situierten, prozesshaften Vollzug von Handlungen in ausgestatteten, formatierten und vernetzten Situationen zu verschieben.

Auszug: “Insbesondere der französische Neopragmatismus, welcher zentrale Prämissen mit der Praxistheorie Schatzkis teilt (siehe dazu Dahmen, 2021), konzipiert Akteur*innen als ausgestattet mit einer „critical capacity“ (Boltanski & Thévenot, 1999, S. 359). In dieser Perspektive wird von einer hochgradig situierten Form der „interpretativen Rationalität“ (Knoll, 2012, S. 81) ausgegangen. So streben Akteur*innen in unsicheren Handlungssituationen nach Rationalität im Sinne einer konsistenten und anerkannten Handlungsweise, da diese jedoch jeweils erst auf der Grundlage eines Repertoires gemeinsamer Deutungen in den jeweiligen Einzelsituationen herzustellen ist, ist Rationalität primär eine „empirische Größe, die hochgradig lokal“ (ebd., S. 81) ist. Diese Rationalität wird deswegen als interpretativ bezeichnet, da die Entscheidungsregeln „im Prozess der Handlung erst interpretiert und so handlungspraktisch vollzogen“ (Diaz-Bone, 2018, S. 373) werden.” (S. 42)

Abstract. Starting from a problematization of an individualist model of decision-making, the article describes a practice-theoretical perspective on decisions in pedagogical contexts with the purpose of increasing sensitivity for empirical, qualitative-reconstructive research studies. The practice-theoretical perspective on social reality is discussed in terms of three perspectival shifts in the concept of decision-making: First, the question of the spatio-temporal location and observability of decisions; second, the practice-theoretical decentering of the decision and action subject; and third, the question of the rationality of decisions. In this regard, the paper argues for a departure from prescriptive models of professional decision-making as a reflexive-intentional linking of diagnosis, inference, and treatment, and argues for shifting the focus of inquiry from the individual actor to situated, processual enactment of actions in equipped, formatted, and networked situations.

Extract: “In particular, French neopragmatism, which shares central premises with Schatzki’s praxis theory (see Dahmen, 2021), conceives of actors as endowed with a “critical capacity” (Boltanski & Thévenot, 1999, p. 359). In this perspective, a highly situated form of “interpretative rationality” (Knoll, 2012, p. 81) is assumed. Thus, actors in uncertain action situations strive for rationality in the sense of a consistent and recognized way of acting, but since this can only be established in each case on the basis of a repertoire of shared interpretations in the respective individual situations, rationality is primarily an “empirical quantity that is highly local” (ibid., p. 81). This rationality is therefore referred to as interpretive, since the decision rules are “first interpreted in the process of action and thus accomplished in action-practical terms” (Diaz-Bone, 2018, p. 373).” (p. 42)

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Making Better Coffee: How Maya Farmers and Third Wave Tastemakers Create Value

Edward F. Fischer (2022)

Oakland: University of California Press

About the book. An anthropologist uncovers how “great coffee” depends not just on taste, but also on a complex system of values worked out among farmers, roasters, and consumers.
What justifies the steep prices commanded by small-batch, high-end Third Wave coffees? Making Better Coffee explores this question, looking at highland coffee farmers in Guatemala and their relationship to the trends that dictate what makes “great coffee.” Traders stress material conditions of terroir and botany, but just as important are the social, moral, and political values that farmers, roasters, and consumers attach to the beans.
In the late nineteenth century, Maya farmers were forced to work on the large plantations that colonized their ancestral lands. The international coffee market shifted in the 1990s, creating demand for high-altitude varietals—plants suited to the mountains where the Maya had been displaced. Edward F. Fischer connects the quest for quality among U.S. tastemakers to the lives and desires of Maya producers, showing how profits are made by artfully combining coffee’s material and symbolic attributes. The result is a complex story of terroir and taste, quality and craft, justice and necessity, worth and value.

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CfP: Economic Organizations, Uncertainty, and Risk: Sociological Analyses of Economic Organizations in Times of Crises

The past 15 years represent an era of capitalism in crises. Phenomena like the global financial crisis (2007-2009), followed by the European sovereign debt crisis in 2010, major political occurrences such as the Brexit referendum (2016), or Covid-19 have challenged economic and political reality that likewise engendered critics towards it. Furthermore, the danger of an ecological collapse is omnipresent. And with respect to the ongoing war in Ukraine it is currently impossible to foresee what humanitarian and social catastrophe is looming.

We are looking for papers dealing with different coping modes of organizations such as conventions, translation processes or how techniques of quantification might have an impact on organizational behavior in risk management.

Submission of abstracts: 31 October 2022

For the full call and timeline please visit: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/scandinavian-journal-of-management/forthcoming-special-issues/economic-organizations-uncertainty-and-risk-sociological-analyses-of-economic-organizations-in-times-of-crises

Organizers: Konstanze Senge, Alberto Cevolini, Bernadette Hof, Markus Lange and Audrey Terracher-Lipinski

Nutzungskonflikte um öffentlichen Raum im Umfeld des digitalen Parkraummanagements

Conflicts of use for public space in the environment of digital parking management

Anne-Kathrin Gahl (2022)

In: Proff, Heike (Hrsg.), Transforming Mobility – What Next? Wiesbaden: Springer VS, S. 781–795.

Zusammenfassung. Ein wesentliches Merkmal von Urbanisierung lässt sich mit einer Verdichtung im (inner-) städtischen Bereich benennen. Unterschiedliche Akteure treffen auf begrenztem Raum mit verschiedenen Zielen und Möglichkeiten sowie mit teils widersprüchlichen Interessenlagen aufeinander. Im Zuge einer auf Attraktivität und Nachhaltigkeit bedachten Stadtentwicklung sind divergierende Ansprüche an den Raum und die Nutzung öffentlich verfügbarer Flächen ein wesentlicher Baustein im Spektrum wachsender Interessenkonflikte.

Extract: “Aus platz- und informationsökonomischen Gründen wird in diesem abschließenden Abschnitt ausschließlich das Forschungsinteresse und das empirische Beispiel sowie – kurz – das geplante methodische Vorgehen im begonnene Dissertations- bzw. Forschungsprojekt dargestellt. Mit Verweis auf die theoretische Grundlage der Arbeit sei an dieser Stelle lediglich auf die wirtschaftssoziologischen  (Handlungs-) Theorien der Konventionenökonomie (économie des conventions, EC) nach Laurent Thévenot, der Soziologie der kritischen Urteilskraft nach Luc Boltanski und Laurent Thévenot (Boltanski/Thévenot, 2018/1991) und den „neue[n] Geist des Kapitalismus“ von Luc Boltanski und Ève Chiapello (Boltanski/Chiapello, 2018/1999) verwiesen.” (S. 791)

Abstract. An essential characteristic of urbanization can be described as a densification in the (inner) urban area. Different actors meet in a limited space with different goals and possibilities as well as with partly contradictory interests. In the course of urban development aimed at attractiveness and sustainability, diverging demands on space and the use of publicly available areas are an essential component in the spectrum of growing conflicts of interest.

Extract: “For reasons of space and information economy, this concluding section presents exclusively the research interest and the empirical example as well as – briefly – the planned methodological procedure in the initiated dissertation or research project. With reference to the theoretical basis of the work, the economic sociological (action) theories of the economy of conventions (économie des conventions, EC) according to Laurent Thévenot, the sociology of critical judgment according to Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot (Boltanski/Thévenot, 2018/1991) and the “new[n] spirit of capitalism” by Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello (Boltan-ski/Chiapello, 2018/1999). ” (p. 791)

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Financialized Berlin: The Monetary Transformation of Housing, Architecture and Polity

Anne Kockelkorn (2022)

Architectural Theory Review, Online first

Abstract. A financialized real estate market is both an abstraction of global capital flows and a localized driver of gentrification. Under this premise, architectural form and urban design become a performance of contradicting value formations. Drawing on the methods of urban history, geography, architectural criticism and performative writing strategies, this paper develops a theoretical perspective on the architecture of financialized rental housing based on a relational understanding of architecture and social space. The paper’s point of departure is the financialization of Germany’s social rental housing stock. Recent housing projects undertaken in the metropolitan region of Berlin by the real estate investment companies Vonovia SE and Deutsche Wohnen SE serve as case studies. The analysis identifies five strategies for cost-optimization that, taken together, outline the characteristics of an ideal city of financialization which promotes the destruction of social cohesion in the interests of shareholders.

Extract: “Perhaps the most important tool in increasing the asset value of the housing stock, however, is to ensure a continuous increase in rents. This can be achieved through the strategic assessment of rent-gaps, which is a core driver of gentrification, as demonstrated by Laura Calbet i Elias. Continuously rising land prices and rental indexes are not only drivers of gentrification, but also represent a favorable business environment for the future increase of value. Another instrument for securing rental increase is the modernization of amenities—that is, the comprehensive renovation of housing in order to increase its energy efficiency and comfort, the costs of which, unlike maintenance, can be passed on by raising the rent. Modernization can also be combined with ‘patrimonialization,’ such as the targeted renewal, staging and commodification of cultural heritage, as described by the sociologists Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre. This approach figures among the strategies of Deutsche Wohnen SE as exemplified by the modernization of the former railway housing estate in Elstal, fifteen kilometers west of Berlin, in keeping with heritage requirements for the preservation of historic monuments; or the modernization of the housing estate Onkel-Toms Hütte designed by Bruno Taut in Zehlendorf, labeled as an ‘architectural jewel’ on Deutsche Wohnen SE’s website.” (p. 13)

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Subjects of Quantum Measurement: Surveillance and Affect in the War on Terror

Italo Brandimarte (2022)

International Political Sociology. Online first

Abstract. The idea of measurement (of bodies and identities) is a guiding principle of globalized surveillance in the War on Terror. Nevertheless, this inherently scientific notion is so naturalized in public and academic discourse that its meaning and implications are left undiscussed. This paper builds on quantum theory to present an immanent critique of measurement in surveillance. Foregrounding surveillance’s transdisciplinary conceptual foundations, it argues that a notion of identity measurement centered on ambiguity and embodiment, rather than fixity and abstraction, reshapes the scope for political action and opens new avenues for critique. I suggest that a lack of critical engagement with the concept of measurement accounts for Surveillance Studies’ and International Political Sociology’s difficulty in exploring the relation between the material–affective dimension of surveillance and its identity-fixing function. Challenging unquestioned notions of measurement in social science, quantum theory highlights the interconnected importance of ambiguity and embodiment in processes of identity measurement. Through the case of airport security, I illustrate how quantum measurement departs from recent critical accounts of surveillance—concerned with the fixity of unambiguous identities and the digital abstraction of bodies—and foregrounds the ambiguity of affect to postulate new forms of agency and resistance to the politics of surveillance.

Extract: “Serious discussions around the sociological meaning of measurement only began to appear at the end of the twentieth century (see Hacking 1990; Porter 1995; Desrosières 1998), with increasingly numerous contributions being published only in the past decade (Mennicken and Espeland 2019, 224; see Espeland and Stevens 2008; Diaz-Bone and Didier 2016; Berman and Hirschman 2018). Most works considered measurement a key component in the emergence of statistics (e.g., Desrosières 1998; Porter 1995) and in a broader “sociology of quantification” (e.g., Espeland and Stevens 2008) whereby numbers populate, dissect, and control virtually all aspects of modern life. Exploring the application of quantitative methods to the sociopolitical sphere, such investigation unveiled a plurality of approaches to—and understandings of—measurement in social science, which can be ultimately reduced to two interpretations (see Desrosières 2001; Espeland and Stevens 2008, 417–18). On one end is the realist conception of measurement, directly inherited from astronomy and classical physics (Hacking 1990, 3; Porter 1995, 68–71; Desrosières 2001, 341).” (p. 7-8)

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Quality and Value Appropriation by Colombian Coffee Producers: Starting to Fill the Gap from a Gender Perspective

Quiñones-Ruiz, Xiomara F./Giraldo-Liévano, Tatiana (2022)

In: Manuela Larcher & Erwin Schmid (Hrsg.), Alpine Landgesellschaften zwischen Urbanisierung und Globalisierung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, S. 173–192. Open access.

Abstract. Gender – considered as an intersectional analysis unit – can bring further insights into global value chains from production and processing to retailing and final consumption. This article provides insights on gender-specific constructs from an intersectional research perspective to enrich the understanding of quality attributes and conventions along the global coffee value chain. The exploration uncovers the roles and positions as well as value appropriation of female and male Colombian producers – in particular rural female producers – as they enter the specialty coffee niche characterized by distinctive cup quality (taste of coffee). Recognizing and valuing the contribution of women in all social and economic fields is a fundamental right under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 to combat all forms of discrimination and enhance self-determination of women and girls as well as gender equality.”

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Tierwohlstandards für Milchkühe im Berggebiet: Haltungsform oder Werthaltung?

Animal welfare standards for dairy cows in mountain areas: husbandry or value husbandry?

Markus Schermer (2022)

In: Manuela Larcher & Erwin Schmid (Hrsg.), Alpine Landgesellschaften zwischen Urbanisierung und Globalisierung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, S. 157–172. Open access

Zusammenfassung. Die Ankündigung eines österreichischen Lebensmitteldiskonters im Herbst 2018, dass Lieferantinnen und Lieferanten seiner Biomarke ab sofort allen Tieren ganzjährig mindestens zwei Stunden Auslauf pro Tag gewähren müssten und zudem ab 2021 nur noch Milch aus Laufstallhaltung angenommen würde, führte zu Protesten der betroffenen Betriebsleiterinnen und -leiter und feuerte eine allgemeine Debatte über Tierwohl in der alpinen Milchviehhaltung an. Während eine Gruppe die Laufstallhaltung als einziges zukunftsfähiges System befürwortet, verteidigt eine andere die traditionelle Kombinationshaltung (Anbindehaltung im Winter und Weidegang bzw. Alpung während der Vegetationsperiode). Der Beitrag soll zeigen, dass die beiden Positionen in den unterschiedlichen Bewirtschaftungs- und Denkstilen der Landwirtschaft verankert sind. Der Lebensmittelhandel argumentiert seine Vorgaben mit den gesellschaftlichen Erwartungen an das Tierwohl. Gleichzeitig prägt er damit diese Erwartungen und reduziert das Tierwohl auf eine Haltungsform. Zudem wirken diese privaten Standards performativ auf die Landwirtschaftsvertretung und die Vorgaben der öffentlichen Hand. Dies verstärkt den Strukturwandel in der Landwirtschaft, wodurch genau jene Betriebe zu verschwinden drohen, die in der Werbung präsentiert werden.

Auszug: “Die Einstellungen der Bäuerinnen und Bauern zum Tierwohl resultieren aus der Kombination ihrer prinzipiellen Werthaltungen, ihres Handlungsrepertoires im Rahmen der Betriebsorganisation sowie ihrer Argumente für eine bestimmte Haltungsform. Dieser Beitrag verbindet das Konzept der Landwirtschaftsstile („Farming Styles“, van der Ploeg 2012) mit der Theorie der Konventionen (Boltanski und Thévenot 1991), um die Reaktionen der Bäuerinnen und Bauern auf die Anforderungen des Lebensmittelhandels zu analysieren.” (S. 161)

Abstract. The announcement by an Austrian food discounter in the fall of 2018 that suppliers of its organic brand would have to allow all animals at least two hours of outdoor access per day all year round with immediate effect and that, in addition, only milk from loose housing would be accepted from 2021 onwards led to protests by the farm managers concerned and fueled a general debate about animal welfare in Alpine dairy farming. While one group advocates loose housing as the only sustainable system, another defends the traditional combination system (tethering in winter and grazing or alpine grazing during the growing season). The paper aims to show that the two positions are anchored in the different management and thinking styles of agriculture. The food trade argues its requirements with the social expectations of animal welfare. At the same time, it shapes these expectations and reduces animal welfare to one type of husbandry. In addition, these private standards have a performative effect on the agricultural representatives and the specifications of the public authorities. This reinforces structural change in agriculture, threatening to disappear the very farms that are presented in advertising.

Excerpt: “Farmers’ attitudes toward animal welfare result from the combination of their principled values, their repertoire of actions in the context of farm organization, and their arguments for a particular type of husbandry. This paper combines the concept of farming styles (“Farming Styles,” van der Ploeg 2012) with the theory of conventions (Boltanski and Thévenot 1991) to analyze farmers’ responses to the demands of the food trade.” (p. 161)

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The Value of Art Education – Cultural Engagements at the Swedish Folk High Schools

Henrik Fürst & Erik Nylander (2022)

Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

About this book. This book shows the continuing importance of art education. Art education attracts students who see multiple meanings and justifications for the worth of that education. Their engagement in art education is not limited to the uncertain prospects for jobs or routes into employment in the arts. Fürst and Nylander approach art education through a rich array of empirical examples derived from Swedish folk high school programs in music, visual arts, and creative writing. Based on an analytical framework of pragmatic sociology, the book allows the reader to understand the competences and critical capacities held by students and teachers. The book challenges the dominant public perception of art education and broadens our understanding of what it is good for. The Value of Art Education is essential reading for those defending the status of this vital sector of education, offering a deeper understanding of why people engage, what they gain, and the social importance of the arts.

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