Archives par étiquette : Salais

Special Issue « Conventions and Quantification – Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Statistics and Classifications » Historical Social Research

Rainer Diaz-Bone & Emmanuel Didier (Eds.) (2016)

Historical Social Research, 41(2).

In the last few decades, the field of “quantification” – namely the “sociology of quantification” – has evolved and it has shown an impressing development. There are many different strands of science contributing research on processes of quantification and the impact of quantification within social contexts. The concept of quantification is positioned at the crossroad linking approaches such as accounting theory, convention theory (économie des conventions), sociology and history of statistics, analysis of commensuration, sociology of standards and of standardization, analysis of benchmarking, and others.

Alain Desrosières was an internationally renowned scholar in the fields of sociology of quantification and history of statistics. His work can be regarded as the most important contribution to this field. Desrosières was also a “compagnon de route” of the French movement of the so-called “économie des conventions” which postulated the convention-based (and therefore social) nature of qualities, categories and quantities. Consequently, Desrosières’ work was also one of the main inspirations for this HSR Special Issue.

This HSR Special Issue presents recent and transdisciplinary research on the history and sociology of quantification. Building upon the work of Desrosières, this issue includes contributions on the history of science from the eighteenth century to today, covering topics such as: the millennium development goals, financial quantification, and quantification in higher education environments. All in all, the contributions work out the “political economy” as well as the “political sociology” of statistics, categorization, and quantification.

Furthermore this HSR contains a Mixed Issue with one article on „Societal Malaise and Ethnocentrism in the European Union: Monitoring Societal Change by Focusing on EU Citizens’ Perceptions of Crisis ».


Convention theory in the Anglophone agro-food literature: Past, present and future

Stefano Ponte (2016)

Journal of Rural Studies, 44, pp. 12-23.

Abstract. In the past two decades, convention theory has been applied in various branches of agro-food studies, providing analytical and theoretical insight for examining alternative food networks, coordination and governance in agro-food value chains, and the so-called ‘quality turn’ in food production and consumption. In this article, I examine convention theory applications in the Anglophone literature on agro-food studies through the review of 51 relevant contributions. I highlight how CT has helped explain different modes of organization and coordination of agro-food operations in different places, and how it has provided new venues of approaching quality – in view of understanding how exchange of agro-food products takes place and with what social and power dynamics. I trace two main analytical streams of this literature: one focussing on agro-food adaptations of the ‘worlds of production’ framework (Salais and Storper, 1992; Storper and Salais, 1997); and another applying the ‘orders of worth’ approach of Boltanski and Thevenot (1991[2006]) and further elaborations of ‘quality conventions’. After tracing broad trajectories and the significance of new developments in this literature, I highlight its current limitations and suggest some directions for future research.

Link to the document

Special Issue « Law and Conventions from a Historical Perspective » Historical Social Research

Rainer Diaz-Bone, Claude Didry & Robert Salais (Eds.) (2015)

Historical Social Research, 40(1).

The institutional approach of economics of convention (in short, EC) has been established in France over the last three decades and since then received growing international recognition. From its beginnings, EC has introduced a pragmatic as well as a historical perspective on economic coordination and economic institutions. Also, EC has included law in its analysis from the start. EC conceives law not as an external constraint, but as internal to action and coordination open to interpretive and situational adoption by competent actors. Consequently, for the socio-historical analysis of law, EC analyzes the meaning of law from the standpoint of actors which rely in their coordination on conventions. This HSR Special Issue demonstrates that the approach of EC in the socio-historical analysis of law can be a real transdisciplinary alternative to approaches such as “Law & Economics” or economic neo-institutionalism.

  • Rainer Diaz-Bone, Claude Didry & Robert Salais: Conventionalist’s Perspectives on the Political Economy of Law. An Introduction.
  • Rainer Diaz-Bone: Institutionalist and Methodological Perspectives on Law – Contributions of the Economics of Convention.
  • Claude Didry: The Institutional Foundations of “Labor Conventions” in France between the Wars.
  • Christian Bessy: The Dynamics of Law and Conventions.
  • Michela Barbot: When the History of Property Rights Encounters the Economics of Convention. Some Open Questions Starting from European History.
  • Frédéric Marty: Towards an Economics of Convention-Based Approach of the European Competition Policy.
  • Edward Lorenz: Work Organization Conventions and the Declining Competitiveness of the British Shipbuilding Industry, 1930-1970.
  • Lisa Knoll: The Hidden Regulation of Carbon Markets.
  • Noel Whiteside: Who were the Unemployed? Conventions, Classifications and Social Security Law in Britain (1911-1934).
  • Simon Deakin: Juridical Ontology: The Evolution of Legal Form.
  • Robert Salais: Europe, Laboratory for A-Democracy?

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