Federico IIErasmus

MOOC 2018 Guest Lecture – Sociology of engagements: pragmatic regimes and governing tyrannies

Laurent Thévenot – (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales – FR)

Laurent Thévenot is a Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris). He co-initiated in France two trends which rejuvenated the critical social sciences, and reached a wide international audience. With Luc Boltanski, he co-authored On Justification 2006 [1991] and 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. Recently, as documented most importantly in L'action au pluriel. Sociologie des régimes d'engagement (Thévenot, 2006), as well as in a range of recent articles, Thévenot has explored the dimensions of social life ‘under the public’ as a condition to enlarge the scope of public critique to oppressions, and to understand the required transformations and obstacles to their exposition in common, in discord with the political community. He has developed what he calls three ‘regimes of engagement’ with the world, i.e., publicly justifiable engagement, engagement in an individual plan, and familiar engagement, and, in a related way, three grammars of constructing commonality in the plural, i.e., the grammar of plural orders of worth, the grammar of individual choices in a liberal public, and the grammar of personal affinities to a plurality of common places.


Sociology of engagements: pragmatic regimes and governing tyrannies


An architecture of regimes of engagements


Extending the architecture of regimes of engagements


Grammars of commonality in the plural


The liberal grammar


Certifying the world


Conclusion. Liberal grammar, populism and the commonplace



Boltanski, L., & Thévenot, L. (2006). On justification: Economies of worth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Thévenot, L. (2009). Postscript to the Special Issue: Governing life by standards: a view from engagements. Social Studies of Science, 39(5), 793-813.

Blokker, P., & Brighenti, A. (2011). An interview with Laurent Thévenot: on engagement, critique, commonality, and power. European Journal of Social Theory, 14(3), 383-400.

Thévenot, L. (2011). Power and oppression from the perspective of the sociology of engagements: a comparison with Bourdieu's and Dewey's critical approaches to practical activities. Irish Journal of Sociology, 19(1), 35-67.

Laurent Thévenot (2014) Voicing concern and difference: from public spaces to common-places, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 1:1, 7-34, DOI: 10.1080/23254823.2014.905749

Thévenot, L. (2007). The plurality of cognitive formats and engagements: moving between the familiar and the public. European journal of social theory, 10(3), 409-423.

Thévenot, L. (2015). Certifying the World: Power Infrastructures and Practices in Economies of Conventional Forms. In Aspers, Patrik and Nigel Dodd (eds.), 2015, Re-Imagining Economic Sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 195-223.

Lost Password


Skip to toolbar