Historical Social Research

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Laurent Thévenot: From Social Coding to Economics of Convention: A Thirty-Year Perspective on the Analysis of
Qualification and Quantification Investments 

Among the contributions to the presently growing sociology of quantification, a long-standing French tradition has built on an approach to the "politics of statistics" based on the formatting practices of the transformative chain that leads to data. It resulted from statistician-economists who, in the critical spirit of the 1960s, were reflexive and largely open to the social sciences, and cooperated with historians and sociologists. The article offers a 30 years’ perspective on the avenue of research that began with the article "L’économie du codage social" which goes from labour designation and qualification to ways of making occupation worthy. It leads to the broader notion of "investments in forms" which produce equivalence and economies of coordination. While making available in English large extracts of the original paper, the author adds comments from today perspective on the development of this trend which has fuelled both On Justification (co-authored with Luc Boltanski) and convention theory more generally.

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