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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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Book part
Publication date: 2 September 2019

Philip Balsiger and Simone Schiller-Merkens

Moral struggles in and around markets abound in contemporary societies where markets have become the dominant form of economic coordination. Reviewing research on morality…

Abstract

Moral struggles in and around markets abound in contemporary societies where markets have become the dominant form of economic coordination. Reviewing research on morality and markets across disciplinary boundaries, this introductory essay suggests that a moral turn can currently be observed in scholarship, and draws a direct connection to recent developments in the sociology of morality. The authors introduce the chapters in the present volume “The Contested Moralities of Markets.” In doing so, the authors distinguish three types of moral struggles in and around markets: struggles around morally contested markets where the exchange of certain goods on markets is contested; struggles within organizations that are related to an organization’s embeddedness in complex institutional environments with competing logics and orders of worth; and moral struggles in markets where moral justifications are mobilized by a variety of field members who act as moral entrepreneurs in their striving for moralizing the economy. Finally, the authors highlight three properties of moral struggles in contemporary markets: They (1) arise over different objects, (2) constitute political struggles, and (3) are related to two broader social processes: market moralization and market expansion. The introduction concludes by discussing some of the theoretical approaches that allow particular insights into struggles over morality in markets. Collectively, the contributions in this volume advance our current understanding of the contested moralities of markets by highlighting the sources, processes, and outcomes of moral struggles in and around markets, both through tracing the creation, reproduction, and change of underlying moral orders and through reflecting the status and power differentials, alliances, and political strategies as well as the general cultural, social, and political contexts in which the struggles unfold.

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The Contested Moralities of Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-120-9

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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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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Thomas D. Beamish and Nicole Woolsey Biggart

This article traces the regimes of worth that defined energy for centuries as a productive force of human and animal labor, an understanding that transformed in the 18th…

Abstract

This article traces the regimes of worth that defined energy for centuries as a productive force of human and animal labor, an understanding that transformed in the 18th century to an “industrial-energy” regime of worth supporting an economy of mass production, consumption, and profit and more recently one centered on market forces and price. Industrial and market energy and the conventions and institutions that support them are currently in a period of discursive and material ferment; they are being challenged by different higher order principles of worth. We discuss eight emergent energy justifications that argue what kind of energy is – and is not – in the best interests of society.

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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

David Stark

This article takes its point of departure from the intellectual milieu in the mid-1980s that gave rise to Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s book, On Justification

Abstract

This article takes its point of departure from the intellectual milieu in the mid-1980s that gave rise to Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s book, On Justification: Economies of Worth. It shows how exposure to ideas and concepts in that book came to take varied forms as they were elaborated and modified in the work of an American sociologist across several decades of research in diverse empirical settings.

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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: 10 July 2021

Carlos Noronha, Jieqi Guan and Sandy Hou In Sio

While the COVID-19 virus has been spreading worldwide, some studies have related the pandemic with various aspects of accounting and therefore emphasized the importance of

Abstract

Purpose

While the COVID-19 virus has been spreading worldwide, some studies have related the pandemic with various aspects of accounting and therefore emphasized the importance of accounting research in understanding the impact of COVID-19 on society as a whole. Recent studies have looked into such an impact on various industries such as retail and agriculture. The current study aims at applying a sociological framework, sociology of worth (SOW), to the gaming industry in Macau, the largest operator of state-allowed gambling and entertainment in China, which will allow for its development during the COVID-19 pandemic to be charted.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses the theory of SOW as a framework and collects data from various sources, such as the government, gaming operators and the public, to create timelines and SOW frameworks to analyze the impact of the virus on the gaming industry and the society as a whole.

Findings

Detailed content analysis and the creation of different SOW matrices determined that the notion of a “lonely economy” during a time of a critical event may be ameliorated in the long term through compromises of the different worlds and actors of the SOW.

Practical implications

Though largely theory-based, this study offers a thorough account of the COVID-19 incident for both the government and the gaming industry to reflect on and to consider new ways to fight against degrowth caused by disasters or crises.

Social implications

The SOW framework divides society into different worlds of different worths. The current study shows how the worths of the different worlds are congruent during normal periods, and how cracks appear between them when a sudden crisis, such as COVID-19, occurs. The article serves as a social account of how these cracks are formed and how could they be resolved through compromise and reconstruction.

Originality/value

This study is a first attempt to apply SOW to a controversial industry (gaming) while the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are ongoing. It offers a significant contribution to the social accounting literature through its consideration of the combination of unprecedented factors in a well-timed study that pays close attention to analyses and theoretical elaboration.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 12 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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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: 13 June 2018

Gillian Maree Vesty, Chao Ren and Sophia Ji

The purpose of this paper is to provide practical insights into a senior manager’s engagement with integrated reporting (IR). This paper theorises IR as an accounting…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide practical insights into a senior manager’s engagement with integrated reporting (IR). This paper theorises IR as an accounting compromise and test of worth in an Australian IR pilot organisation.

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth interviews with the chairman of the IR pilot organisation are analysed in the context of Boltanski and Thévenot’s (1991, 2006) economies of worth (EW). A personal narrative approach was used to privilege the voice of an individual actor at the heart of decision making.

Findings

In contributing to van Bommel’s (2014) use of EW to examine IR as an accounting compromise, the authors find that ambiguity in IR does not mean that reporting is getting harder to operationalise. Instead, IR is getting harder to justify. The relativism issues that IR has revealed suggest that if all views are met, any significant contributions would not stand out. Interviews reveal that the challenge for IR is to provide the means to report on the organisation’s broader societal impacts, which go beyond measures of IR value creation.

Practical implications

This paper contributes to the accounting academy with practical insights on a dual-purpose organisation’s experiences with IR. The authors demonstrate how a chairman of the board uses accounting to navigate competing priorities and justify management decisions.

Originality/value

This study offers unique insights from the chairman of an IR pilot organisation. A personal narrative approach contributes to the limited empirical literature in accounting using EW as a micro-level analytic.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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