The Sociology of Critical Capacity

  title={The Sociology of Critical Capacity},
  author={Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thevenot},
  journal={European Journal of Social Theory},
  pages={359 - 377}
This article argues that many situations in social life can be analyzed by their requirement for the justification of action. It is in particular in situations of dispute that a need arises to explicate the grounds on which responsibility for errors is distributed and on which new agreement can be reached. Since a plurality of mutually incompatible modes of justification exists, disputes can be understood as disagreements either about whether the accepted rule of justification has not been… 

Tables from this paper

L'institution du libre-arbitre : critique sociale du jugement métaphysique

Most contemporary political philosophies are underpinned by compatibilist metaphysics (which combines ontological determinism with practical free will). The present research is a sociological

Remarks on the Nature of Justification: A Socio-Pragmatic Perspective

The main purpose of this essay is to reflect on the nature of justification. To this end, the analysis draws on Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thevenot’s De la justification. Les economies de la grandeur

The false promise of the better argument

Effective argumentation in international politics is widely conceived as a matter of persuasion. In particular, the ‘logic of arguing’ ascribes explanatory power to the ‘better argument’ and promises

Four normative languages of welfare: a pragmatic sociological investigation

ABSTRACT This article explores the normative languages used by ordinary citizens to measure ongoing welfare state transformations in Denmark. Empirically, the article turns to qualitative data from a

The Social Theory of Mass Politics

This paper argues the study of mass politics is currently weakened by its separation from debates in social theory. A preliminary attempt at reconnection is made. The implications of an

Evaluating legality: Toward a cultural approach to the study of law and social change

The role of law in social change has been a subject of many academic debates. However, not much attention has been given to the contradictory ways in which activists for social change justify or

The Passion of Luc Boltanski: The destiny of love, violence and institution

Abstract On Justification: Economies of Worth (Boltanski & Thevenot, 1991/2006) was a synthetic and comprehensive parsing of common goods, goods that could and had to be justified in public. In

On Justification and Critique: Luc Boltanski’s Pragmatic Sociology and International Relations

Luc Boltanski is one of the most important contemporary social theorists. Whether and how his sociology matters for International Relations (IR) theory has, so far, not been explored. Boltanski’s

Justice in reality: overcoming moral relativism in Luc Boltanski’s pragmatic sociology of critique

ABSTRACT In recent years, the pragmatic sociology of critique developed by French sociologist Luc Boltanski in cooperation with such authors as Laurent Thévenot and Éve Chiapello has received

Competing orders of worth in extraordinary consumption community

ABSTRACT This article argues that tension and conflicts during consumption can be analysed through the lens of convention theory, which is preoccupied with the justification of action under the



The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism before Its Triumph

In this volume, Albert Hirschman reconstructs the intellectual climate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to illuminate the intricate ideological transformation that occurred, wherein the


Le plan est une forme de l'action collective organisee, de politique ou de management. Il est aujourd'hui critique car les theories contemporaines de l'action ne supposent ni la memorisation ni la

La Politique des Statistiques : Les Origines Sociales des Enquêtes de Mobilité Sociale

Le propos de cet article est d'examiner la généalogie des enquêtes de mobilité sociale, en s'intéressant principalement aux enquêtes réalisées en France durant les années 1950-1970. Cette période est

The Passions and the Interests