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Call for papers, Issue 5: « The theories of social esteem. A Model confrontation »

Deadline for abstract submission: November 8th, 2015

The journal Terrains/théories is opening a call for papers for a special issue on social esteem theories, collecting contributions from diverse social science fields, in order to question the logics of social esteem.

Among the three recognition spheres theorized by Axel Honneth, the third, related to social esteem, is the less defined. This difficulty is especially surprising considering the existence, in both Social Philosophy and Social sciences, of multiple theories, emerging from classical philosophers and social contemporaneous theorists and questioning social esteem production, reproduction and distribution, through various fields and social spheres. Such theories also question the role of social esteem on social practices. Considering this perspective, we can emphasize diverse models.

The social esteem can be defined, in the frame of a collective consciousness theory, that insists on its conditions of production and distribution, as a collective opinion endorsing a social integrative function– as Durkheim’s sociology suggests. This integrative process has a moral and religious function and helps avoiding the social pathologies of atomism. But social esteem can also be addressed through "social exchange" theory, (originally found in the social psychology of Mead, as well as in the interactionist theories) developed by G. Homans and P. Blau, among others: social esteem is thus defined as the object of an individual, group, or inter-group exchange, in a research of social control or of social emulation. This perspective can be integrated to the theorical framework of functionalism which, from Parsons to Warner, defines social esteem as the status rewarding behaviors that observe collective norms and guaranty the integrity of social functions. Social esteem is thus mainly conceived as a reward of the economical, social and political elites’ labour, first by functionalism, and also by a part of anthropology that aligned itself with it, and took back the classical question of "origins of the distinction of ranks", raised, in the XVIIIth century, by the Scottish Enlightment.

On the contrary, in a theoretical tradition finding its origins in the elite Paretian theory, one may argues that social esteem is less distributed by collective agreement than it is monopolized by upper classes, through a continuous agonistic process. The sociologies of T. Veblen, P. Bourdieu could be invoked as an illustration of this type of model.

Some approaches present the characteristics of two or more combined models; such are the institutionalist approaches of esteem, or status theory by G. Lenski, that both attempt to combine a functionalistic vision with a theory emphasizing domination and conflict.

This special issue aims precisely to investigate and compare diverse models of social esteem in a multi-disciplinary approach. Contributions could emerge from philosophy, sociology, anthropology, political sciences, social psychology, and economy.

Various proposal formats could be suggested and received. This call is opened to contributions addressing the following topics:

- The study of a theorical movement (philosophy or social sciences), or a study conducted on a specific author, in order to extract what it brings on the subjet. Priority is given to proposals on 1) the contribution of Durkheimian sociology, 2) the contribution of functionalist sociology, 3) the contribution of interactionist approaches and finally 4) to studies conducted on classical philosophy corpus (for example XVIIth century moralists, Scottish Enlightenment authors and the way they address the question of "origins of the distinction of ranks", French Enlighentment philosophy, French and English utilitarisms…), or contemporaneous ones (for instance, the program of the economy of esteem, theorized by G. Brennan and P. Pettit).

- The study of an empirical object able to set the bases of a theorical development on social esteem. Proposals addressing sociology of reputation are also expected, as they can contribute to an understanding of the processes that underlie construction of reputation, and modalities of articulation, between individual, and collective reputation. The problem of "reputation control" is also to be considered and questioned through a sociological perspective. Proposals discussing psychological insights on the specific question of social comparison processes will be received with great interest.


This 5th issue of Terrains/Théories is co-edited by Alice Le Goff (MCF – Université Paris Descartes) and Christian Lazzeri (Professor, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense)

The deadline for proposals submission is November 8, 2015. They should be sent to Alice Le Goff :

Proposals should present:

- a title;

- an abstract (5000 characters);

- Author(s) data such as complete name, institution, function, professional address, phone number and e-mail address.

The editorial board will proceed to selection and inform the authors of the selected proposals by November 22nd, 2015. The journal editorial guidelines, presented online ( have to be followed strictly by authors.

For further information, please contact the managing editor:

The deadline for complete article submission is January 31st, 2016, for an online publication in September 2016.

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