Laurent Thévenot (born 1949) is a French sociologist, Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris) who co-initiated in France two trends which rejuvenated the critical social sciences, and reached a certain international audience. With Luc Boltanski, he co-authored On Justification 2006  which analyzes the most legitimate repertoires of evaluation governing political, economic and social relationships. It originated the French ‘Pragmatic sociology’ of critique. Thévenot is also one of the founders of the 'Convention School' which has developed analysis of economical, social and political conventions that regulate uncertain coordination.
His research later extended with a book published on the architecture of forms of life, agencies and the ways of engaging with the world: L'action au pluriel. Sociologie des régimes d'engagement (2006). It widens critical approaches to power through the analysis of oppressions on valued ways people are empowered through by engaging with the environment and with others, from intimacy to the level of public conventions.
This framework led to numerous articles and has also been developed and tested in collaborative and comparative research on the political and moral grammars used in differing and making things and issues common. Comparative projects included United States (Comparing Cultures and Polities: Repertoires of Evaluation in France and the United States, ed. with Michèle Lamont, 2000) and Russia.
Laurent Thévenot is co-editor of the journal Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales.
- 1 Selected publications in English
- 1.1 Pragmatic Sociology and the Extension of Critique: Sociology of Engagements
- 1.2 On Critique and Justification
- 1.3 Economic Sociology : Convention Theory, Coordination, Evaluation, Quantification
- 1.4 Political and Cultural Sociology in a Transnational Perspective: Grammars of Commonality in the Plural
- 2 References
- 3 External links
Selected publications in English
Pragmatic Sociology and the Extension of Critique: Sociology of Engagements
- 2015, "You Said 'Capital'? Extended Conceptions of Capital and the Analysis of Inequalities and Dominant Powers", Annales Histoire Sciences Sociales 70(1) on line in English.
- 2013, "The Human Being Invested in Social Forms. Four Extensions of the Notion of Engagement", in M. Archer and A. Maccarini (ed.), Engaging with the World. Agency, Institutions, Historical Formations, Routledge.
- 2012, "Convening the Company of Historians to go into Conventions, Powers, Critiques and Engagements", Historical Social Research, 37(4).
- 2011, "Powers and Oppressions Viewed from the Sociology of Engagements: in Comparison with Bourdieu's and Dewey's Critical Approaches of Practical Activities", Irish Journal of Sociology, 19(1), special issue on "Keys Issues in Contemporary Social Theory".
- 2007, "The Plurality of Cognitive Formats and Engagements: Moving between the Familiar and the Public", European Journal of Social Theory, 10(3).
- 2002, “Which Road to Follow? The Moral Complexity of an 'Equipped' Humanity”, in J. Law John, Annemarie Mol (eds), Complexities: Social Studies of Knowledge Practices, Duke University Press.
- 2001, "Pragmatic Regimes Governing the Engagement with the World", in K. Knorr-Cetina, T. Schatzki, E. v. Savigny (eds.), The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory, Routledge.
On Critique and Justification
- 2014, ”Enlarging Conceptions of Testing Moments and Critical Theory. Economies of Worth, On Critique and Sociology of Engagements, in S. Susen and B. Turner (eds.), The Spirit of Luc Boltanski. Essays on the ‘Pragmatic Sociology of Critique’, Anthem Press.
- 2006  (with L. Boltanski), On Justification. The Economies of Worth, Princeton, Princeton University Press.
- 2000 (with L. Boltanski), "The Reality of Moral Expectations: a Sociology of Situated Judgment", Philosophical Explorations, 3(1).
- 1999 (with L. Boltanski), "The Sociology of Critical Capacity", European Journal of Social Theory, 2(3).
- 1983 (with L. Boltanski), "Finding One's Way in Social Space: A Study Based on Games", Social Science Information, 22(4-5).
Economic Sociology : Convention Theory, Coordination, Evaluation, Quantification
- 2016, "From Codage social to Economie des conventions: A Thirty Years Perspective on the Analysis of Qualification and Quantification Investments", Historical Social Research, 41(2).
- 2015, "Certifying the world. Power Infrastructures and Practices in Economies of Conventional Forms", in P. Aspers, and D. Dodd (eds.), Re-Imagining Economic Sociology, Oxford University Press.
- 2012, "Law, Economies and Economics. New Critical Perspectives on Normative and Evaluative Devices in Action", Economic Sociology, 14(1).
- 2011, "Conventions for Measuring and Questioning Policies. The Case of 50 Years of Policies Evaluations through a Statistical Survey", Historical Social Research, 36(4).
- 2005 (with F. Eymard-Duvernay, O. Favereau, A. Orléan and R. Salais), "Values, Coordination and Rationality: The Economics of Conventions", in A. Oleinik (ed.), The Institutional Economics of Russia’s Transformations, Ashgate.
- 2002, "Conventions of Co-ordination and the Framing of Uncertainty", in E. Fullbrook (ed.), Intersubjectivity in Economics: Agents and Structures, Routledge.
- 2001, "Organized Complexity: Conventions of Coordination and the Composition of Economic Arrangements", European Journal of Social Theory, 4(4).
- 1984, "Rules and Implements: Investment in Forms", Social Science Information, 23(1).
Political and Cultural Sociology in a Transnational Perspective: Grammars of Commonality in the Plural
- 2015, "Making Commonality in the Plural, on the Basis of Binding Engagements", in P. Dumouchel and R. Gotoh (eds.), Social Bonds as Freedom: Revising the Dichotomy of the Universal and the Particular, Berghahn.
- 2014, "Voicing Concern and Difference. From Public Spaces to Common-Places", European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 1(1).
- 2014, “Engaging in the Politics of Participative Art in Practice”, in T. Zembylas, (ed.), Artistic Practices, Routledge.
- 2012, “At Home and in a Common World, in a Literary and a Scientific Prose: Ginzburg’s Notes of a Blockade Person”, in E. Van Buskirk, and A. Zorin (eds.), Lydia Ginzburg’s Alternative Literary Identity, Peter Lang.
- 2009, "Governing Life by Standards. A View from Engagements", Social Studies of Science, 39(5).
- 2007, "A Science of Life Together in the World", European Journal of Social Theory, 10, (2).
- 2005, "The Two Bodies of May '68: In Common, in Person", in A. Sica and S. Turner (eds.), The Disobedient Generation: Social Theorists in the Sixties, University of Chicago Press.
- 2000 (with M. Lamont), "Introduction: Toward A Renewed Comparative Cultural Sociology", in M. Lamont and L. Thévenot (eds.), Rethinking Comparative Cultural Sociology: Repertoires of Evaluation in France and the United States, Cambridge University Press.
- 2000 (with M. Lamont), "Exploring the French and American Polity", in M. Lamont and L. Thévenot (eds.), Rethinking Comparative Cultural Sociology: Repertoires of Evaluation in France and the United States, Cambridge University Press.
- 2000 (with M. Moody), "Comparing Models of Strategy, Interests, and the Public Good in French and American Environmental Disputes", in M. Lamont and L. Thévenot (eds.), Rethinking Comparative Cultural Sociology: Repertoires of Evaluation in France and the United States, Cambridge University Press.
- 2000 (with M. Moody, C. Lafaye), "Forms of Valuing Nature: Arguments and Modes of Justification in French and American Environmental Disputes", in M. Lamont and L. Thévenot (eds.), Rethinking Comparative Cultural Sociology: Repertoires of Evaluation in France and the United States, Cambridge University Press.
- See: Thévenot, L., "Convention school", in J. Beckert, M. Zafirovski, (eds.), International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology, Routledge, 2006; "Laurent Thévenot Answers Ten Questions about Economic Sociology", Economic Sociology, 8(1), 2006; "The French Convention School and the Coordination of Economic Action" (interviewed by S. Jagd), Economic Sociology, 5(3), 2004.
- On the discussion of this position, see: Hansen, Magnus Paulsen, 2016, "Non-normative Critique: Foucault and Pragmatic Sociology as Tactical Re-politicization", European Journal of Social Theory, 19(1).
- Papers by Laurent Thévenot
- Laurent Thévenot at the Centre Georg Simmel
- An interview with Laurent Thévenot: On engagement, critique, commonality, and power – special issue of European Journal of Social Theory on the French Pragmatic Sociology with an interview by Paul Blokker and Andrea Brighenti
- Critically Differing in a Common City – lecture at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Charles University in Prague