This article thematizes singularity as a new theoretical object of sociology. On the basis of a clear distinction between singularity and particularity, it argues that sociology has historically privileged generality, given its nomothetic orientations, and in doing so the articulation between the general and the particular. The only singularity underlined in this perspective was the singularity of the occidental historical trajectory, but it was itself understood in a global way. Considering singularity as a new object for sociology implies to highlight the combined effect of internal developments of the discipline (critique of the reduction of the singular to the particular or of the confusion between singularity and homogeneity) and of sociohistorical transformations. The analysis is deepened through three main entries: the singularity of the individual, the singularity of the actional and interactional dynamics and the historical singularity.
The Individuation of the Social and the Sociological Status of the Individual Part of the French sociology refers today to a “sociology of the individuals”. Having been widely dominated by an approach granting to the “social structures” an explanatory power in the final analysis, the contemporary sociology grants, sometimes, this power to the individuals. The article suggests understanding this epistemological sliding by a kind of adaptation of the sociological approach to our societies become “individualists” – that is valuing and granting to the individuals a dominating place in the way of being in society. The sociological discipline will have explicitly made it by promoting a epistemic individual and implicitly by adopting qualitative methods. The article will also discuss the question to know if there are there really an advantage as for what suggests reaching the sociological discipline.
With the advent of globalization, the current societal hegemon of classical sociology would be in decline to benefit of the rise of individuality. The later now occupy an analytical centrality within the sociology of postmodernity. This article aims to trace the processual emergence of the individual subject within sociological discipline, before raising some challenges facing his current search on the coming-society. At the heart of this slow rise of subjectivity, the new sociology of the individual seem to carry the load to draw up the theoretical and conceptual contours of the new complex configuration of human societies that, for many, remains has to be written. It also goes into the epistemological become of this original approach to new social processes.
Although sociologists have worked extensively on related topics, the study of
borders continues to be a field dominated by geographers and political scientists. They are
the ones who have suggested that we should study borders not as spatially located physical
objects, but as assemblages of practices performed by various actors. We argue that by
adopting a pragmatic approach to the study of borders, one that would pay attention to the
multiple actors involved, their socio-temporal practices and their jurisdictional games,
sociologists are poised to push the limits of this field of research. Furthermore, by urging
sociologists to study the spatial, temporal, and jurisdictional dimensions of social
practices, the “sociology of borders” presented in this article may promote a renewal of
sociological analysis by helping us to avoid reifying the social, but also to avoid
distinguishing it, a priori, from the spatial, the temporal, and the legal.
For about twenty years, spatial mobilities have become a central phenomena in
contemporary societies. Spatial mobilities in general and daily mobilities in particular
have been left out for a long time by the sociology. Our contribution will show that they
move from oblivion to excess in the history of sociology. Then, analysing recent francophone
researches, we will demonstrate that daily mobilities are strong social analyzing tools and
that they lead to renew three classical fields in sociology: work, socialisation and social
By placing the relationship between action and reality at the center of social theory, the article aims to explore possible new directions for sociological work. The first question of sociology must be for a social world, in which whatever the force of coercion might be, it is always possible to act otherwise. Facing the elasticity of social life, and to confront the vertigo generated by the non-limitation of the action, societies have instituted various impassable limits of reality. Four major areas giving shape to different regimes of reality have historically performed this function (religion, politics, economics, ecology), articulating imaginary assumptions and effective experiences. In contemporary societies, it is Economy, the current hegemonic regime of reality, and partly to Ecology, that operate this function. The recognition of the specifics of this dimension opens new sociological issues.
Time saving involves, since its emergence in the middle of the1990’s, a growing share of the industrialized countries’employees. Two major kinds of time capitalization exist. The first, thetime banks, allow accumulating and swapping of time within a community.The second, are the companies’ time saving accounts, which offerthe possibility for the employees to accumulate and manage, throughaccounts, their working time. Our article deals with this last kind oftime saving with an empirical study of companies’ bargaining andindividual practices. We propose to question working timecapitalization as a diversification of work temporalities and socialtimes, inherited from industrialization. First we will describe thetemporalities’ individualisation process that provides theemployees with the ability, but also the responsibility and the riskassociated with the social times conciliation. Then we will supportthat this process does not produce atomization, but gathers differentcategories of employees around their time practices. Finally, wepropose a reflexion on the role that capitalisation plays on thesecularisation process of temporal norms, with the principle of timeand money reversibility.
If one follows Saussure’s perspective, according to which the angle creates the object, for a sociological issue to be “novel” requires at least as much a renewal of approach than an “intrinsic novelty” of the topic. In this article, we prefer this first track of innovation, by examining an old issue by an old approach. Against a tendency towards the fragmentation of the discipline into small specialisations, we demonstrate the heuristic value of considering a profession as a social space which takes its meaning only when related to the broader field in which it takes part. Largely feminised and partially dominated, the profession of nursing is analysed by a theory which is normally used to study male and dominating groups: the theory of fields of Pierre Bourdieu.
The increasing number of users of smart drugs on university campus, go-pills in the
army or coast-to-coast meds in long-distance truckers is a invitation to revisit the growing
legitimacy of the «adaptive use » of psychostimulants through a reinterpretation of the
traditional categories through which functionalists and interactionists tried to understand
the legitimate modes of adaptation and social inadaptation. Could we envisage new categories
of deviance «by excess » of integration such as the over-obedience or hyper-responsibility ?
Should we encourage the use of mid-ethical and mid-sociological oxymorons to characterize
practices increasingly common but whose legitimacy is problematic such as “conformist
innovation,” or the practice of “appropriate doping” ? Through the case study of smart
drugs, we mobilize the concepts of pharmaceuticalization and biosociality to identify some
of the sociological features of the ideal-typical figure of the insider (both avant-garde
consumer, hypersocialized individual, responsible innovator, etc.) which is, in principle,
the reverse image of the famous Howard Becker’s outsider.
The article analyses the interest of the research in education regarding the education and training of the elites which has emerged since the end of the 20th century. Without ignoring the influence of Neoconservative thought in the Anglo-Saxon countries, it tries to situate the debate in a longer perspective, going back at least to the Enlightenment. The question of “How can schools ensure both the education of all and the promotion of the best”, constitutes a classic of the political philosophy of education. In order to reply to it, each period has devised compromises regarding the representation that society has of itself and dynamics that it wishes to promote. In particular, the text focuses on the manner in which tension is managed today in the perspective of “inclusive societies” and the decline of a definition of the elite linked to the cultural tradition in favour of a project management-based philosophy.
This article explores how the sociology of the usage of communication
technologies first emerged as an outcome of simple impact studies into
the effect of technologies on society to become, at least in part, a
sociology of experience.In turn, the latter deals specifically with the question of how and to
what extent, in this world where these technologies irrigate nearly the
totality of the surfaces of our lives, the contemporary individual
stays in control.In particular it poses the question of the autonomy of the self-subject
(reflexive and in retreat) regarding the self-object (constantly
tracked, calibrated and metabolized through an ensemble of indicators
from those self same technologies). As a consequence it challenges
sociology to deal with one of the central issues of the hypermodern
The sociology of games and play is underdeveloped. Its main works are getting old (j. Huizinga in the 1930s; R. Caillois in the 1950s), and recent approaches as games studies do not contribute to their renewal. In this paper, live action role-playing games (LARPs) are used as a case to update theoretical frames on three levels: social research on games and plays in general; sociological concepts as the social construction of reality and frame analysis (P. Berger et Th. Luckmann; G. Bateson & E. Goffman); cross disciplinary discussion with narratology, focusing on the articulation between game and fiction (J-M. Schaeffer).
This article ponders over the revival of storytelling as a social object and as oral performance. It intends to restructure the storytelling world, providing insights both into our way of collectively experiencing the social world and the many challenges linked to the transformation of this narrative practice and know-how. Indeed, the trend towards the professionalization of this art form is deeply reshaping shared experiences and socio-political issues. This article aims to redefine the sociological perspectives of storytelling, as a creative and collective voice in order to grasp the specificities of places, practices and trends that contribute to characterizing this art form renewal in Quebec, Brazil and France. This approach provides sociology with a fresh outlook, examining oral performance and public speaking in these three countries.
If sociology can make its object of every social phenomenon, it cannot
ignore apprehension, perception and representation changes that
intervene between relevant actors. Yet, indigenous dramaturgy
necessitate a visual shift to appreciate an aesthetic model that, if it
fits well in the genre occidental schemata, propose an aesthetic
anchored in cultural knowledge that escape its principles and values.
As such, the dramaturgy study lies at the confluence of various
disciplines it mobilizes such as sociological, anthropological,
political, theatrical, post-cultural or theological studies. By
challenging the knowledge legitimacy, it requires new methodological
tools to account for the contemporary realities of diversity and its
impact on life in society.
From a sociological research on today’s working conditions and
social status of artists in visual arts, this article presents a
reflection on the Ethos concept in sociology. Beyond its long history,
this concept still seems relevant nowadays, specifically for its
analytical potential to link the study of practices and values, to
conjugate individual subjectivity with common culture in the age of
normative plurality. The article proposes secondly an overview of the
heuristic potential of the concept of Ethos in the context of a
sociological survey - inspired by ethnography in this case - that I
conducted between 2008 and 2013 about visual artists who evolve in the
Province of Quebec and in French speaking Belgium.
To answer the question of whether sociology must change to meet the challenge of societies in motion, the author proposes a methodological detour through the sociology of transformations experienced by French society since the postwar period. After summing up the background, she proposes an analysis of the characteristics and conditions of production. This allows her to update the obstacles that sociologists must overcome to be able to capture the movement of societies.
Chernobyl is a founding event, opening a new and long-lasting world, which has the
characteristic of being, according to Günther Anders, both subthreshold, too low signal to
be perceived, such as low-dose contamination, and supra-threshold, that is to say, too big
to be tackled, such as the lifetime of radioactive elements (for hundreds of thousands
years). One of the main lessons of the studying of such “objects” is that disasters,
paradoxically, unify the mankind. This, undoubtedly, lead to renewing sociology and
questioning the capabilities of the “sociological tradition” to link Chernobyl, Fukushima,
GMOs, the bionic body, the “new farmers”, the “decreasing” and displaced populations, which
must now be considered together. The reality of the disaster seems to have undermined our
ability to represent it. The new object “nuclear disaster” lead the anthropological approach
to re-examine the critical foundations of modernity.