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Accepted Paper:

Orders, situations, boundaries: exploring sorting practices from different pragmatist perspectives  
Bettina Grimmer (Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich)

Short abstract:

This contribution discusses the concepts of order, situation, and boundary in American and French pragmatism. Focusing on sorting as a practice that deals with orders, I argue that different conceptions of order and boundaries have consequences for empirical research.

Long abstract:

Empirical studies that draw on pragmatist methodologies most often refer to American pragmatism in the tradition of Chicago school and symbolic interactionism (Strauss 1978, 1993; Clarke et al. 2018). In recent years, however, another variety of pragmatism has gained importance – namely French pragmatism with a more structuralist tradition (Boltanski & Thévenot 2006; Boltanski 2011).

In contrast to other social theories, pragmatism understands order as both a context of action and an outcome of action. It is interested in how people deal with orders as well as how they reshape and transform them. Consequently, from the perspective of pragmatism, there is not a single social or situational order, but a plurality of different and sometimes conflicting orders.

Focusing on sorting as a practice of dealing with orders, I argue that both pragmatist traditions share a similar and broad conception of situation as a relation of socio-material phenomena, but differ significantly in their conception of order. While American pragmatism focuses on how people enact and reshape orders through action, French pragmatism asks how people refer to different (existing) orders in different situations. I will highlight these differences with reference to sorting practices in American (Bowker & Star 1999) and French (Boltanski & Thévenot 1983; Lamont 2012) pragmatism, and discuss the consequence of the different relations of orders and boundaries (Star 2010; Lamont & Molnar 2002) for empirical research.

Traditional Open Panel P167
World-making and pragmatism: research practices in dialogue
  Session 1 Tuesday 16 July, 2024, -