« Quantification Devices and Political or Social Philosophies. Thoughts Inspired by the French State Accounting Reform »

Historical Social Research, Special Issue « Conventions and Quantification – Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Statistics and Classifications », 2016, vol. 41, n°2, p. 178-195.

Our various studies in the sociology of quantification have convinced us that it is possible to look at social or political philosophies and seemingly technical tools at the same time, considering them as a totality. The works of Alain Desrosières have also demonstrated this. But our recent work on the French State accounting reform has shown that the new accounting system can be used in many different ways, for very different, and even divergent purposes. There seems to be no unequivocal link between a kind of quantification device and a specific social philosophy. This article aims to reconsider the nature and conditions of this link, on the basis of our recent work on state accounting reform.