A science of life together in the world

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A science of life together in the world
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  A SCIENCE OF LIFE TOGETHER IN THE WORLD Laurent Thévenot 1 European Journal of Social Theory  , Vol 10, No 2, May 2007, pp.233-244. Borrowing Hannah Arendt' phrae !to li"e together in the world!#Arendt 1$%& (or the title o( thi )ontri*+tion i a way o( it+ating the)ien)e o( o)iety within the poterity o( oral and politi)al philoophy,while at the ae tie )hooing an a+thor parti)+larly eniti"e to thereality o( thi politi), in the two(old ene o( a pra)ti)al +ndertaing ando( a propitio+ aterial en"ironent. And adding )ien)e a theo*e)ti"e i a way o( aing iediately a+di*le the di)ordan)yipli)it in the proe)t o( )ien)e o( o)iety. /hat the two ter )lahwhen they are paired i what Arendt tro"e to )on"in)e + in theipla)a*le indi)tent that he (or+lated againt the o)ial )ien)e. /he thei et (orth +arily in thi )ontri*+tion, oitting oredetailed arg+ent de"eloped elewhere, i that thi di)ordan)y i theo+r)e o( a renewal o( the )ien)e o( li(e in o)iety re+lting (ro areappraial o( the )riti)al point in their srcinal proe)t. /hi thei willtae on )oniten)y in the )o+re o( anwer oered, one *y one, to the(r+it(+l +etion +*itted to + *y Alain aill. 1. WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE SCIENCES OF SOCIETY? n order to )hara)teri5e what diting+ihe o)iology,  will re"iewtwo de)ii"e eparation6 1 the (o+nding get+re thro+gh whi)h theo)ial )ien)e deta)hed theel"e (ro oral and politi)al philoophy2 the eparation *etween o)iology and e)onoi) )ien)e. /he di"idingline do not )orrepond tri)tly to di)iplinary *o+ndarie in)e anya+thor o( the o)iologi)al tradition are alo politi)al and oralphiloopher #8aint-8ion, /o)+e"ille, 9e*er, :+rhei... while otherhare area o( interet or odel o( analyi with e)onoit #Mar;,9e*er, <areto, <aron.... Ne"erthele, ea)h o( thee two eparationhelp pe)i(y the proe)t o( o)iology. 1.1. The break wth !o"t#a" !h"o$o!h% an& the #onver$on nto$#en#e =et + )heati5e the (o+nding get+re o( the o)ial )ien)e *y)onidering the etaorphoi o( a proe)t6 the hi(t (ro an in+iry 1  >ro+pe de 8o)iologie <oliti+e et Morale #?)ole de Ha+te ?t+de en 8)ien)e 8o)iale et entre National de la @e)her)he 8)ienti+e et :parteent de la @e)her)he #ntit+t National de la 8tatiti+e et de ?t+de ?)onoi+e.Beide the tranlator Mar Anpa)h,  a grate(+l to Ay a)o* (or her )aring and at+te ad"i)e. 1  into the )ondition (or )i"il pea)e and the politi)al odel )apa*le o( preer"ing the good o( a h+an )o+nity, to a ear)h (or reg+laritieo*er"a*le in the e)onoy or o)iety. /he tran(oration ret onoperator (or t+rning politi) or oral into )ategorie whi)h t )ienti)pro)eing. /hoe operator red+)e the dip+ta*le norati"ity whi)hpre"ail in politi)al philoophy to the ea+ra*le reg+larity whi)hgro+nd o*e)ti"ity in the o)ial )ien)e. /he notion o( a law i one o( thee, with it two (a)e o( whi)h one )on)ern the +rit and the otherthe )ientit, +ita*le (or o"ing (ro a reCe)tion on good go"ernentto a di)o"ery o( reg+laritie. 8till ore widely +ed *y a"ant o( o)iety than the notion o( a law, that o( a nor )oonly (a)ilitate a+*tle hi(t (ro the proe)t o( oral and politi)al philoophy to theo*e)t o( the o)ial )ien)e. Between the +ridi)al nor and the o)ialnor, there i the ae d+ality that there i *etween the law o( thelegilator and that o( the a"ant *+t the nor i ore perni)io+ in ita*ig+ity in)e it tend to ind+)e a )on(+ion, than to the operator o( a"erage, *etween what i (re+ent and what i ideal. 1.'. The rea"t% o( $o#a" or&er$ an& o( the "aw$ o( )arkete*#han+e ( the di)ipline whi)h t+dy li(e together ai at *eing )ienti), whatwo+ld *e the nat+re th+ re"ealedD 9hat nat+re did they di)o"er, *ywhat pathD Ero ohn 8t+art Mill thro+gh Adolphe F+telet to ?ile:+rhei, a )ien)e o( ore wa )ontr+)ted +pon the potential (orreg+laritie oered *y the aggregation o( indi"id+al in ae,)olle)ti"itie or o)ial gro+p. 2  /he reg+lar )olle)ti"ity i ordered *y o)ialnor whi)h are *aed on e*erhip and whi)h lead to the lining-+po( pra)ti)e and repreentation.   B+t another path opened +p (or thereali5ation o( a phyi) o( o)iety, whi)h 8t+art Mill ree)ted on thegro+nd o( e;)ei"e indi"id+al dieren)e. n thi e)ond poi*ledire)tion, e;plored *y =on 9alra, the eleentary +nit o( analyiwhi)h ha"e *een )ra(ted to t )ienti) law are not aggregate. /he+nit are indi"id+al whoe di"ere a)tion till lead to an e+ili*ri+,another (or o( order odelled ot )opletely *y the di)ipline o( e)onoi). /o a))oplih thi, the e)onoit +t poit a et o( pe)i)ation (or indi"id+al a)tion, (or the intereted ip+le *ehindthe and (or the yteati) relation aong the. +t a the reali o( the o)iologit t+rn the good whi)h i the o*e)t o( dip+te into a o)ialnor deterining pra)ti)e, o the reali o( the e)onoit+ndertand indi"id+al interet a the ip+le dri"ing a *eha"ior inteado( re)ogni5ing in it the deliitation o( a (orat o( good )orreponding toa li*eral graar o( p+*li) and pri"ate, and +pported *y the +ridi)alapparat+ o( pri"ate property. /hi yteati) o( an e+ili*ri+ o( indi"id+al a)tion i not the onopoly o( e)onoit. Many o)iologitha"e taen +p the ae proe)t, not witho+t re"iing it to in)orporatere(eren)e to "al+e, and e"en to lo)al order o( !negotiated intera)tion! 2  Eor a ore )oplete a))o+nt o( thi o"e, ee /h"enot 200G, )hap. 2. 2  whi)h ha"e no pla)e in the tri)tly e)onoi) )on)eption o( thee+ili*ri+ o( a aret o( good and er"i)e. 1.,. The $%$te)at# a)bton- (un#ton$ /ow$ $tru#ture$network$  /he )ienti) ai o( the o)ial )ien)e appear to *e attainedon)e pi)t+re o( o)iety ha"e *een prod+)ed whoe )ienti) o*e)ti"ityi (ree o( any "al+e +dgent. /o do thi, "ario+ (or+la propoe anintegration o( eleentary e)hani into a)roo)ial ora)roe)onoi) )ong+ration.Ma)roe)onoi) integration ee the eaiet in that it relie onCow6 Cow o( )ooditie or o( (a)tor o( prod+)tion, *+t a*o"e allnan)ial Cow whi)h the onetary edi+ ae it poi*le to ea+ree;a)tly. Ne"erthele, thi (or o( integration +er (ro a la) o( )oheren)e with the i)roe)onoi) odel o( indi"id+al a)tion6 theerely not on Cow that )ir)+late, *+t on )ontra)t that )oordinate.ntegration with the help o( a edi+, inpired *y the onetary odel,ha tepted o)iologit. /he idea de"eloped *y /al)ott <aron o( a)oheren)e o( phere go"erned *y the )ir)+lation o( a ingle edi+ ledNila =+hann to )on)ei"e a reara*ly integrated ytei) odel.More re)ently, networ odel *elonging to other ytei) graar)ontr+)t o"erall )hea o+t o( eleentary lin (or+lated in di"ereanner, (ro Br+no =ato+r' and Mi)hel allon' odel o( a)tor tothe e"ol+tionit odel o( e)onoit. ?"en in o)iologi)al theorie thatopted (or the aggregation o( indi"id+al in )olle)ti"itie, the yte tillneed to a)hie"e )lo+re thro+gh (+n)tional di"iion #:+rhei ore)hani (or tr+)t+ral reprod+)tion #Bo+rdie+.9hat i the t+*ling *lo) in the way o( thi type o( yteati)inherited (ro the nat+ral )ien)eD 9e are (ailiar with the anwer thatp+t (orward the )ategory o( a)tion and point to it parti)+laritie areaon to do+*t the +))e o( tranpoition )+linating in yteati)o"er"iew. A well-nown te;t *y <eter 9in)h already highlighted theedi)+ltie hal( a )ent+ry ago #9in)h 1$%&. <re"io+ly, the approa)h to a verstehende  o)iology ina+g+rated *y Ma; 9e*er already )alled (or thedenition and dierentiation o( eaning(+l o)ial a)tion and not o( reg+lar *eha"ior. loer to +, @ayond Bo+don, Mi)hel ro5ier andAlain /o+raine aigned a prie role to a)tion in their o)iologi)altheorie, whi)h doe not top the (ro re(erring to tr+)t+ral orytei) e)hani. More re)ently yet, we ee the a)tion ande;perien)e o( an agent )oe to the (ore in the reear)he o( Han oaor EranIoi :+*et. n +, the )ien)e o( o)iety wo+ld appear to *editing+ihed (ro the )ien)e o( nat+re *y the ne)eity (oro)iologi)al theorie to *alan)e the role o( the a)tor and that o( theyte or tr+)t+re. :oen't the proo( o( thi lie in the (a)t that thea+thor ot atta)hed to ytei) o"er"iew are rel+)tant to a*andonthe "o)a*+lary o( a)tionD /he ot reg+lari5ed a)tion i indeed )alled!o)ial pra)ti)e! and e"ol+tionit yte are *+ilt on !ro+tine.!3  2. THREE CRITICAL POINTS FOR THE RENEWAL OFCONTEMPORARY SOCIOLOGIES  Jet the ret+rn to a)tion doe not +)e to )hara)teri5e the renewalo( )onteporary o)iologie.  will indi)ate three pla)e that ee to eto ar thi renewal. By re)alling the (o+nding get+re o( the )ien)e o( o)iety, we will *e a*le to re)ogni5e in ea)h o( the a )riti)al point inthi (o+ndation. /han to the reear)h eort +nderway in thee pla)e,the proe)t o( )ien)e o( li(e in o)iety i p+t *a) into +etion or, atthe "ery leat, re)onidered and tho+ght thro+gh ore deeply. '.1. Goo&$ n 0ue$ton  /he rt o( thee )riti)al point ha to do with the red+)tion thata"ant o( o)iety operated in order to ne+trali5e )onideration a*o+tgood, e"en tho+gh +)h )onideration o))+py a )entral poition in thedeign o( oral and politi)al philoophy. n the (a)e o( o)iologit whoad"o)ate the ne+trality o( the di)ipline, other aert a re(orit intent,a di"iion e;eplied in Eran)e *y the oppoition *etween Bo+don and /o+raine. t i yptoati) o( thi )riti)al point that the a"ant' politi)al)oitent o(ten doinate attention to the detrient o( that o( theo)ial agent and o( hi relationhip to the good in dip+te. /he o)iologyo( <ierre Bo+rdie+, and a widely dieinated (or o( )riti)al o)iology ingeneral, ha"e a))+toed + to o)ial theorie that er"e a intr+ento( den+n)iation witho+t, howe"er, taing into a))o+nt the )riti)al)apa)itie o( the agent. Jet other o)iologi)al theorie ha"e et)hed o+t way to e)ape(ro thi parado;i)al it+ation. 9e are o*"io+ly inde*ted to KrgenHa*era (or ha"ing (orged a o)ial theory in whi)h di)+ion andde*ate e;tend to o)ial nor a a re+lt, thee no longer appear to *ee;ternal deterinant o( *eha"ior. Alain aill "igoro+ly ar that theintereted indi"id+al i no longer the ot intereting e*odient o( theh+an *eing in o)iety, howing + the perennial poition o))+pied *ygi(t-gi"ing in the )onteporary world. >ood other than indi"id+alinteret ha"e *een a*le to win a pla)e in o)iologi)al t+die. /hen thetie with oral and politi)al philoophy are renewed. Modelling the eneo( right and o( the )oon good that aniate ordinary dip+te, =+)Boltani and  ha"e re)onidered )ontr+)tion o( politi)al philoophiee+ipped *y aterial world, a))ording the the tat+ o( graar o( p+*li) diagreeent #Boltani and /h"enot 200G L1$$1.ne o( the o*e)ti"e o( the o)ial )ien)e in thi area i to *ringattention to the prin)iple o( the go"ernent o( h+an )ond+)t and +dgent witho+t reaining )onned to the ot o)ial ite o( thigo"ernent. /h+, erey Ale;ander *reathe new li(e into the <aronianlega)y *y taing erio+ly the dynai) o( +dgent lo)ated at the hearto( )i"il o)iety. /he growing iportan)e o( pla)e (or deli*eration whi)h,o+tide the traditional politi)al arena o( repreentati"e deo)ra)y,*ring together a)tor who are heterogeneo+ and not ne)earilypredipoed to the p+*li) pa)e, ha led to the ela*oration o( new(raewor o( analyi that do not red+)e the a)ti"ity in thee pla)e to4  a negotiation o( interet. =ato+r preent a reara*ly open pi)t+re o( the repreentation o( entitie in a politi) o( nat+re, while at the aetie et)hing o+t the odalitie o( their )on(rontation allon,=a)o+e and Barthe t+dy the de*ate *etween e;pert and non-e;pert in the !hy*rid (or+! that *ring the together ore and oreo(ten nowaday.:oe the ret+rn to an in+iry into good and prin)iple (orerlydi+alied *y the )riti+e o( ideologie, or red+)ed to the tate o( arelati"ely ar*itrary polythei o( o)ial "al+e and indi"id+al opinion orpre(eren)e, prod+)e a regreion at the ae tie that it renew tiewith the parent di)iplineD :oe it lead to a lo o( the identity proper tothe )ien)e o( o)ietyD ne )annot aert thi i( one re)ogni5e in whatway the o*e)t dier, in)e the a"ant o( o)iety i dealing with thereali5ation o( h+an )ond+)t. t reain to *e pe)ied what i eant*y !reali5ation! to a"oid (alling *a) into the oppoition *etween thetr+th o( o)ial pra)ti)e and the ill+ory or rhetori)al nat+re o( ideologi)al (raewor. /o do o, one +t top and loo at the way inwhi)h the re(eren)e to good i p+t to the tet in the )o+re o( li(e ino)iety. /he reali5ation doe not depend olely on the nat+re o( thegood and prin)iple in +etion, *+t alo on te)hni)al or ateriale+ipent that o)iology +t in)orporate into it re+ireent (orreali. Here we )oe to what will *e o+r ne;t )riti)al point. /he otinno"ati"e oral and politi)al o)iologie, in)l+ding thoe alreadyentioned, interpret thi re+ireent (or reali a deanding orethan the )on(rontation *etween ideal and the reality o( pra)ti)e. /heeo)iologie prod+)e a))o+nt o( the way in whi)h h+an politi)al)o+nitie integrate a te)hni)al and nat+ral en"ironent, a een inparti)+lar in the theorie o( Olri)h Be), or o( ohn =aw and Anne-MarieMol #=aw and Mol 2002. '.'. A rea"t% n 0ue$ton  /he e)ond )riti)al point ha to do with reali. Onlie the pre"io+one, thi point ho+ld poe no pro*le in)e a iple anwer arie o+to( the ad+tent o( the )ien)e o( o)iety to the )ien)e o( nat+re andthe re+lting denition o( a )ienti) reali. B+t hitory ha +n(olded ina ore )opli)ated (ahion, ino(ar a one o( the ot reara*lee;aple o( the re)ent e;panion o( o)iology ha )on)erned )ienti)a)ti"ity itel(. 9ith all the )onden)e deri"ing (ro their di)o"ery o( aditin)ti"e o)ial o*e)t, o)iologit ha"e not heitated to atta) the*ation o( )ien)e and te)hnology. /he ad"an)e in thi doain ha"eade it poi*le to lo)ate thee a)ti"itie within the o)ial order, and toprod+)e +)h ore realiti) a))o+nting o( the than a"ant do todeontrate their re+lt. Howe"er, the weapon did not (ail to t+rn *a)againt the +er6 what wa the nat+re o( the )ien)e o( o)iety that)on(erred on it the ean to de)ontr+)t that o( nat+reD /he progra o( the !o)ial )ontr+)tion o( reality,! a it e;tended to the point o( diol"ing into a now-(ailiar "+lgate, pro"oed li"ely de*ate a*o+t it)oheren)e or it pen)hant (or relati"i.%
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