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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Simon Susen

The main purpose of this essay is to reflect on the nature of justification. To this end, the analysis draws on Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s De la justification

Abstract

The main purpose of this essay is to reflect on the nature of justification. To this end, the analysis draws on Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s De la justification. Les économies de la grandeur 1 [On Justification: Economies of Worth 2 ]. More specifically, the article aims to examine the extent to which Boltanski and Thévenot’s conceptual framework, widely known as ‘the sociology of critical capacity’, 3 permits us to demonstrate that processes of justification 4 are vital to the symbolically mediated construction – that is, to both the conceptual and the empirical organization 5 – of social life. In order to prove the validity of this contention, the inquiry explores the meaning of ‘justification’ in relation to the following dimensions: (1) existence, (2) ethics, (3) justice, (4) perspective, (5) presuppositions, (6) agreement, (7) common worlds, (8) critique, (9) practice and (10) justification itself. By way of conclusion, the article maintains that processes of justification constitute an essential ingredient of human reality.

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Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Roger Friedland and Diane-Laure Arjaliès

On Justification: Economies of Worth (Boltanski & Thévenot, 1991/2006) was a synthetic and comprehensive parsing of common goods, goods that could and had to be justified…

Abstract

On Justification: Economies of Worth (Boltanski & Thévenot, 1991/2006) was a synthetic and comprehensive parsing of common goods, goods that could and had to be justified in public. In response to Bourdieu’s critical sociology, they rather provided a robust and disciplined sociology of critique, the situated requirements of justification. They refused power and violence as integral to the operability of justification. They emphasized the ways in which conventions of worth afforded coordination, not their constitution of or by domination. They refused to make either capitalism, or the state, into primary motors of social order. Indeed, they refused social sphere, structure, or group as the ground of the good. They emphasized the cognitive capacities of agents. There was no passion, no desire, no bodily affect in these justified worlds. There wasn’t even any account of production of value, of children, or of money. And while they recognized the metaphysical aspect of the good and even used Christianity as a template for one of their cités, they rigorously excluded religion. The theory was designed to analyze moments of controversy, not quiescence or quietude. In his subsequent work, Boltanski aimed to address these absences. In this essay, we examine how Boltanski sought to restore love, violence, religion, production, and institution across five texts: Love and Justice as Competences (1990/2012), The New Spirit of Capitalism, co-authored with Eve Chiapello (1999/2007), The Foetal Condition: A Sociology of Engendering and Abortion (2004/2013), On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation (2009/2011), and La «Collection», Une Forme Neuve du Capitalisme – La Mise en Valeur Economique du Passé et ses Effets (2014) co-authored with Arnaud Esquerre.

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Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Charlotte Cloutier, Jean-Pascal Gond and Bernard Leca

This volume presents state-of-the-art research and thinking on the analysis of justification, evaluation and critique in organizations, as inspired by the foundational…

Abstract

This volume presents state-of-the-art research and thinking on the analysis of justification, evaluation and critique in organizations, as inspired by the foundational ideas of French Pragmatist Sociology’s economies of worth (EW) framework. In this introduction, we begin by underlining the EW framework’s importance in sociology and social theory more generally and discuss its relative neglect within organizational theory, at least until now. We then present an overview of the framework’s intellectual roots, and for those who are new to this particular theoretical domain, offer a brief introduction to the theory’s main concepts and core assumptions. This we follow with an overview of the contributions included in this volume. We conclude by highlighting the EW framework’s important yet largely untapped potential for advancing our understanding of organizations more broadly. Collectively, the contributions in this volume help demonstrate the potential of the EW framework to (1) advance current understanding of organizational processes by unpacking justification dynamics at the individual level of analysis, (2) refresh critical perspectives in organization theory by providing them with pragmatic foundations, (3) expand and develop the study of valuation and evaluation in organizations by reconsidering the notion of worth, and finally (4) push the boundaries of the framework itself by questioning and fine tuning some of its core assumptions. Taken as a whole, this volume not only carves a path for a deeper embedding of the EW approach into contemporary thinking about organizations, it also invites readers to refine and expand it by confronting it with a wider range of diverse empirical contexts of interest to organizational scholars.

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Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Marcia Annisette, Gillian Vesty and Thierry Amslem

This article will consider the various ways in which accounting can be conceptualized within Boltanski and Thévenot’s economies of worth theoretic. Drawing on two case…

Abstract

This article will consider the various ways in which accounting can be conceptualized within Boltanski and Thévenot’s economies of worth theoretic. Drawing on two case illustrations, a not-for-profit welfare agency and a government-owned water utility, we follow the unfolding of disputes and the variety of outcomes in which accounting is implicated. We illustrate the role of accounting in justificatory actions and the ways in which it “holds things together” in compromise arrangements. We also illustrate the situations which challenge the “test” of worth and the innovative accounting responses that either facilitate coordination and agreement or become controversial and be the object of organizational and institutional dispute.

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Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Article
Publication date: 26 February 2020

Corinne Cortese and Jane Andrew

Multinational resource companies (MRCs) are under pressure to become responsible corporate citizens. In particular, stakeholders are demanding more information about the…

Abstract

Purpose

Multinational resource companies (MRCs) are under pressure to become responsible corporate citizens. In particular, stakeholders are demanding more information about the deals these companies negotiate with the host governments of resource-rich nations, and there is general agreement about the need for industry commitment to transparency and the benefits that a mandatory disclosure regime would bring. This paper examines the production of one attempt to regulate disclosures related to payments between MRCs and the governments of nations with resource wealth: Section 1504 of the Dodd–Frank Act.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on Boltanski and Thévenot's (2006) Sociology of Worth, the authors examine the comment letters of participants in this process with a view to revealing how stakeholder groups produce justifications to promote their positions vis-à-vis transparency to regulators.

Findings

The authors show how justifications were mobilised by various constituents in an effort to shape the definition of transparency and the regulatory architecture that governs disclosure practices. In this case, the collective recognition of desirability of transparency enabled the SEC to suture together the views of constituents to create a shared understanding of the role of the common good as it relates to transparency.

Originality/value

This paper explores an alternative approach to the consideration of comment letters advanced during the process of disclosure-related rule-making. The authors show how a sophisticated regulator may be able to draw together elements stemming from different constituents in a way that appeals to a shared sense of the “common good” in order to produce Final Rules.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Benjamin Taupin and Marc Lenglet

In this article, we make the point that managerial domination as described by pragmatic sociology is an appropriate notion to make sense of complex forms of domination in…

Abstract

In this article, we make the point that managerial domination as described by pragmatic sociology is an appropriate notion to make sense of complex forms of domination in contemporary organizations. Based on Lemieux’s work on ‘grammars’, we complement approaches of complex domination put forward by pragmatic sociologists such as Boltanski and Thévenot. We illustrate these ideas by means of an ethnographic study of the financial intermediation industry. Our analysis sketches out an alternative conceptualization of power in such environments, and by so doing, helps us delineate the features that characterize complex financial domination. We conclude by arguing that this type of domination is the result of specific contradictions inherent to the grammars of financial intermediation.

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Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Juliane Reinecke, Koen van Bommel and Andre Spicer

How is moral legitimacy established in pluralist contexts where multiple moral frameworks co-exist and compete? Situations of moral multiplexity complicate not only…

Abstract

How is moral legitimacy established in pluralist contexts where multiple moral frameworks co-exist and compete? Situations of moral multiplexity complicate not only whether an organization or practice is legitimate but also which criteria should be used to establish moral legitimacy. We argue that moral legitimacy can be thought of as the property of a dynamic dialogical process in which relations between moral schemes are constantly (re-)negotiated through dynamic exchange with audiences. Drawing on Boltanski and Thévenot’s ‘orders of worth’ framework, we propose a process model of how three types of truces may be negotiated: transcendence, compromise, antagonism. While each can create moral legitimacy in pluralistic contexts, legitimacy is not a binary variable but varying in degrees of scope and certainty.

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Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2011

Marcia Annisette and Alan J. Richardson

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and illustrate the insights of the sociology of worth as advanced by sociologist Luc Boltanski and his collaborator…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and illustrate the insights of the sociology of worth as advanced by sociologist Luc Boltanski and his collaborator economist/statistician Laurent Thévenot in their works, including their path‐breaking book De la justification published in 1991.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores the basic tenets of this “new sociology” and draws on it to render a reinterpretation of Ansari and Euske's study of cost accounting in a military depot.

Findings

The sociology of worth complements extant sociological approaches to accounting by providing a language and a conceptual tool‐box for understanding the multiple rationalities in which accounting is implicated. In addition, given its pragmatic micro level approach to accounting, it has the potential to act as a bridge between institutional theory and practice theory.

Originality/value

This paper is the first known to render an extensive discussion of Boltanski and Thévenot's work in the accounting literature and to apply insights from this work to accounting research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 4 December 2018

Régis Barondeau and Brian Hobbs

Boltanski and Thevenot’s Economies of Worth framework and the project world introduced by Boltanski and Chiapello are well known in the fields of sociology and

Abstract

Purpose

Boltanski and Thevenot’s Economies of Worth framework and the project world introduced by Boltanski and Chiapello are well known in the fields of sociology and organization theory, but have been largely ignored in the project management literature. The purpose of this paper is to introduce them into the literature on projects and projectification.

Design/methodology/approach

The framework and the project world are described in detail and compared with two streams of writings that are well known in the field of project management: Making Projects Critical and the project as a complex self-organizing emergent network.

Findings

The paper shows that the framework and the project world are relevant to research in project management and the understanding of the projectification of society.

Research limitations/implications

The framework and the concepts presented could be used in both conceptual and empirical research in project management, particularly the analysis of projects in which disputes occur among stakeholders. Several paths that future developments could follow are identified.

Practical implications

The framework can be used to better understand disputes and identify how they can be resolved or compromises can be found.

Social implications

The analysis by Boltanski and Chiapello showed that the evolution of management practice is linked to changes in society and in the dominant ideology.

Originality/value

The paper introduces a very valuable framework into the project literature.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2019

Peter Skilling and Helen Tregidga

The purpose of this paper is to analyse justifications for, and accounting’s role in, arguments for and against the living wage.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse justifications for, and accounting’s role in, arguments for and against the living wage.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic content analysis of arguments made for and against the living wage in a range of secondary data sources is conducted. Boltanski and Thévenot’s typology of “orders of worth” provides the framework for analysis.

Findings

Arguments for a living wage are found to draw on a range of orders of worth. These arguments hold that while market signals have a valid role in informing wage decisions, such decisions should also take into account the civic order’s emphasis on collective outcomes, the industrial order’s emphasis on long-term organisational performance, and an emphasis on the inherent dignity of the human worker drawn from the domestic and inspired orders. Business arguments against a living wage hold that the current weight given to the tests and objectives of the market order is optimal and that a living wage would undermine firm competitiveness and, ultimately, collective well-being. Justifications of existing low-wage practices are shown to be reflected in, and naturalised by, accounting discourses and practices.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the emergent literature on the relationship between accounting and inequality. It elucidates accounting’s role in supporting the market order of worth and thus the stabilisation and perpetuation of income inequalities. Its analysis of the orders of worth invoked by those calling for a living wage contribute to the task of imagining and constructing an alternative, more equitable, accounting discourse and practice.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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1 – 10 of 182