On Justification: Economies of Worth

On Justification: Economies of Worth

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by Luc Boltanski, Laurent Thevenot
     
 

"Boltanski and Thvenot's On Justification is one of the most important contributions to the field of economic sociology in the past decade. It does not fit neatly into any of the major theoretical perspectives that currently dominate the field—institutionalism, organizational ecology, network analysis, rational choice, or transaction-cost economics. But

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Overview

"Boltanski and Thvenot's On Justification is one of the most important contributions to the field of economic sociology in the past decade. It does not fit neatly into any of the major theoretical perspectives that currently dominate the field—institutionalism, organizational ecology, network analysis, rational choice, or transaction-cost economics. But precisely because it is so original, it has great potential to chart new territory and enliven debates. The book has already had an enormous impact in France, where it is one of the founding documents of the 'economics of conventions' school. It is sure to have a big impact in sociology in the United States and Britain too. I could list at least twenty major sociologists who have asked me when the book will be translated."—David Stark, Columbia University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691125169
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/27/2006
Series:
Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Luc Boltanski is Professor at L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He is the author of "Distant Suffering: Morality, Media and Politics, Le Nouvel Esprit du Capitalisme", and (with Laurent Thevenot) "Les Economies de la Grandeur". Laurent Thevenot is Professor at L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. He is the author of "L'action au pluriel: Sociologie des regimes d'engagement", coauthor of "Les Economies de la Grandeur", and coeditor of "Les Objets dans L'Action, Cognition et Information en Societe", and (with Michele Lamont) "Rethinking Comparative Cultural Sociology: Repertoires of Evaluation in France and the United States"

Table of Contents

PREFACE
How We Wrote This Book 1 Generalizing Field Observations and Producing Statistical Equivalency 1

Ordinary Identification and Scientific Qualification 3

From Comparison to Judgment 4

Construction of Proofs and Tension between the General and the Particular 7

The Tension between Different Forms of Generality 8

Attention to Critical Operations 10

Generality and the Common Goo d: Concepts of Worth in Political Philosophy 12

The Search for a Common Model 14

The Social Bond Put to the Test of Things 16

The Line of Argument 18

PART ONE: THE IMPERATIVE TO JUSTIFY 23

CHAPTER ONE: The Social Sciences and the Legitimacy of Agreement 25

The Critique of Sociology's Lack of Realism 26

Individualis m: A Different Social Metaphysics 27

Political Metaphysics as a Social Science 28

The Question of Agreement 31

Association and Forms of Generality 32

The Order of the General and the Particular 35

The Requirement of General Agreement and the Legitimacy of Order 37

The Reality Test and Prudent Judgment 40

CHAPTER TWO: The Foundation of Agreement in Political Philosophy: The Example of the Market Polity 43

A Social Bond Based on an Inclination toward Exchange in One's Own Interest 44

Individuals in Concert in Their Lust for Goods 48

The Sympathetic Disposition and the Position of Impartial Spectator 53

PART TWO: THE POLITIES 63

CHAPTER THREE: Political Orders and a Model of Justice 65

Political Philosophies of the Common Good 66

The Polity Model 74

An Illegitimate Orde r: Eugenics 80

CHAPTER FOUR: Political Forms of Worth 83

The Inspired Polity 83

The Domestic Polity 90

The Polity of Fame 98

The Civic Polity 107

The Industrial Polity 118

PART THREE: THE COMMON WORLDS 125

CHAPTER FIVE: Judgment Put to the Test 127

Situated Judgment 127

The Polity Extended to a Common World 130

Tests 133

Reporting on Situations 138

A Framework for Analyzing the Common Worlds 140

The Sense of the Commo n: The Moral Sense and the Sense of What Is Natural 144

The Arts of Living in Different Worlds 148

CHAPTER SIX: The Six Worlds 159

The Inspired World 159

The Domestic World 164

The World of Fame 178

The Civic World 185

The Market World 193

The Industrial World 203

PART FOUR: CRITIQUES 213

CHAPTER SEVEN: Worlds in Confiict, Judgments in Question 215

Unveiling 215

Causes of Discord and the Transport of Worths 219

Clashes and Denunciations 223

The Monstrosity of Composite Setups 225

Setting Up Situations that Hold Together 228

The Humanity of an Equitable Judgment 231

Free Wil l: Knowing How to Close and Open
One's Eyes 232

EIGHT
The Critical Matrix 237

Critiques from the Inspired World 237

Critiques from the Domestic World 241

Critiques from the World of Fame 247

Critiques from the Civic World 251

Critiques from the Market World 261

Critiques from the Industrial World 269

PART FIVE: ASSUAGING CRITICAL TENSIONS 275

CHAPTER NINE: Compromising for the Common Good 277

Beyond Testing to Compromising 277

The Fragility of Compromises 278

An Example of a Complex Figur e: Denunciation
Supported by Compromise 282

Composing Compromises and Forming Polities 283

Developing a State Compromis e: Toward a
Civic-Industrial Polity 285

CHAPTER TEN: Figures of Compromise 293

Compromises Involving the Inspired World 293

Compromises Involving the Domestic World 304

Compromises Involving the World of Fame 317

Compromises Involving the Civic World 325

Compromises Involving the Market World 332

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Relativization 336

Private Arrangements 336

Insinuation 338

Flight from Justification 339

Relativism 340

Violence and Justification 343

Afterwor d: Toward a Pragmatics of Reflection 347

The Place of Justifications in the Gamut of Actions 347

Below the Level of Public Judgment: Determining the Appropriate Action in Light of a Snag 348

From Anger to Crisis 350

The Moment of Truth in Judgment 351

The Tension of Judgment and the Qualification of Ungraspable Persons 352

Judgment between Power and Oblivion 354

The Humane Use of Judgment and Tolerance in Action 355

Knowledge about Actions 356

NOTES 359

WORKS CITED 375

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