Laurent Thévenot (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris), will give a talk on the practical processes that need to develop to reach commonality and build the good for the community.
Politics require practical processes to reach commonality by making personal concerns more general, voicing and expressing difference in forms that are accepted for building the good of the community. The identification of grammars of commonality in the plural which govern these processes is all the more difficult that the categories and vocabularies of the social and political sciences depend on these grammars, with resulting bias in comparisons or even descriptions. Therefore the detour by abroad might be profitable not only to compare but to correct some bias of the used instruments. Within the collective French-Russian program that I named “From close ties to public places”, I conducted a comparative survey on learning politics in practice. The ethnographic investigation focused on transformations from personal familiarity to commonality and difference when living together in student residences (in Russia, United States, France, Brazil). The research also benefited from a cumulative set of contributions issued from this program or subsequent research using the same framework of the so-called French “Pragmatic Sociology”. In the context of the rise of populist politics which, in the East as in the West, tap into personal attachments, the talk takes advantage of the detour by Russia to tackle the following questions: How are close attachment and personal familiarity taken into account in various constructions of commonality and difference? What are the tensions and possible combinations between a construction grounded on personal affinities to common-places and the democratic requirement of a contradictory public space? How are common-places transformed by populist politics?
Journal Article - 2018
Monograph - 2018