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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…
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.
The purpose of our article is to contribute to the further understanding of individual responses to pluralism, by studying in particular the role played by critiques and…
The purpose of our article is to contribute to the further understanding of individual responses to pluralism, by studying in particular the role played by critiques and compromises in the formulation of such responses. Drawing on theoretical insights from the sociology of conventions, we look at the various modes of justification publicly advanced by French co-operators when engaging with co-operative principles. Our analysis allows us to identify three main instantiations, that is situated and flexible enactments, of these principles: pragmatic, reformist, and political. Our contribution to the understanding of pluralism and its instantiations by organizational members is threefold. First, in contrast with studies drawing on an institutional-logics perspective, our study shows that individual instantiations of pluralism rely not only on positive affirmations of logics but also on critical mobilizations of competing logics. Second, our study shows that pluralism can be understood not only as co-existing multiple logics, but also as different possible instantiations of the same logic, the ambiguity of which allows compromises to be settled with other logics. Third, we suggest that organizational members’ responses to pluralism often involve more than two logics, which are combined into a complex set of interdependent judgments. In addition, in relation to co-operative studies, our proposed typology provides a mapping that usefully extends the range of possibilities found in co-operators’ instantiations of co-operative principles, thus furthering our understanding of the diversity of the co-operative movement.
How is moral legitimacy established in pluralist contexts where multiple moral frameworks co-exist and compete? Situations of moral multiplexity complicate not only…
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
– This paper aims to explore gender and legitimacy in family business succession.
This paper aims to explore gender and legitimacy in family business succession.
Within the theoretical framework of French pragmatic sociology, the authors conceptualise the family business as the locus where two regimes of engagement are present, generating the co-presence of two orders of worth, namely the domestic and the industrial. Taking a processual approach to entrepreneuring, and using case studies of small enterprises in Italy, this paper explores the case of daughters taking over the family firms.
The paper shows how the daughters’ perceived gender inequality in the succession process is justified and how the justification work and the production of legitimacy are accomplished, shifting from one order of worth to the other.
The value of the contribution consists in pointing to how gender inequality is reproduced and justified inside the family business. The dual regime of engagement is what justifies the reproduction of a specific gender regime within the family business. Moreover, the paper adds a “gender” perspective to French pragmatist sociology.
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…
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.
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.