On Justification: Economies of Worth

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2006 - Political Science - 389 pages
2 Reviews

A vital and underappreciated dimension of social interaction is the way individuals justify their actions to others, instinctively drawing on their experience to appeal to principles they hope will command respect. Individuals, however, often misread situations, and many disagreements can be explained by people appealing, knowingly and unknowingly, to different principles. On Justification is the first English translation of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot's ambitious theoretical examination of these phenomena, a book that has already had a huge impact on French sociology and is likely to have a similar influence in the English-speaking world.

In this foundational work of post-Bourdieu sociology, the authors examine a wide range of situations where people justify their actions. The authors argue that justifications fall into six main logics exemplified by six authors: civic (Rousseau), market (Adam Smith), industrial (Saint-Simon), domestic (Bossuet), inspiration (Augustine), and fame (Hobbes). The authors show how these justifications conflict, as people compete to legitimize their views of a situation.

On Justification is likely to spark important debates across the social sciences.

 

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Contents

The Social Sciences and the Legitimacy of Agreement
25
The Critique of Sociologys Lack of Realism
26
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
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
Knowing How to Close and Open Ones Eyes
232
THE CRITICAL MATRIX
237
Critiques from the Domestic World
241

The Reality Test and Prudent Judgment
40
The Foundation of Agreement in political philosophy The example of the Market Polity
43
A Social Bond Based on an inclinationtoward Exchange in Ones Own Interest
44
Individuals in Concert in Their Lust for Goods
48
The Sympathetic Disposition and the Position of Impartial Spectator
53
THE POLITIES
63
Political Orders and a model of Justice
65
Political Philosophies of the Common Good
66
The Polity Model
74
Eugenics
80
Political Forms of Worth
83
The Domestic Polity
90
The Polity of Fame
98
The Civic Polity
107
The Industrial Polity
118
THE COMMON WORLDS
125
Judgment put to the test 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 Moral Sense and the Sense of What Is Natural
144
The Arts of Living in Different Worlds
148
THE SIX WORLDS
159
The Domestic World
164
The World of Fame
178
The Civic World
185
The Market World
193
The Industrial World
203
CRITIQUES
213
World in conflict Judgments in question
215
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
ASSUAGING CRITICAL TENSIONS
275
Comprimising for the common good
277
The Fragility of Compromises
278
Denunciation Supported by Compromise
282
Composing Compromises and Forming Politics
283
Toward a CivicIndustrial Polity
285
FIGURES OF COMPROMISE
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
RELATIVTZATION
336
Insinuation
338
Flight from Justification
339
Relativism
340
Violence and Justification
343
Toward Apragmatics of reflection
347
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
Work cited
375
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About the author (2006)

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

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