Research work's hypothesis-construction


2. A second element of my research hypothesis-construction: social individuality and socialisation modes in my research works of the years 1980-90

Up to now, research in political economy and in the critique of political economy has flouted the analysis of individuals' behaviours (over-determined in the final analysis or dominated). Let us not be fooled by the near absence of a theory of behaviours in the neoclassical thesis, which relies nonetheless on the (so-called rational) behaviour of the individual, the figure of reference of standard economics.
However, in the face of the rise of methodological individualism and of standard political economy, the introduction of an analysis of the individual asserted itself as a necessity of any critical analysis.

My works of the years post-1980 (carried out in part with P. Zarifian until 1988), introduce the thesis of social individuality in counterpoint to the thesis of social identity:
the thesis of social identity has as its principal flaw a passive behaviour of the individual, which is defined/determined by the environment (the social class, the factory, the family, the community/ethnic minority, …) and by the structures, the thesis of social individuality introduces an active principle of behaviour of the individual by the conduct of belonging to a family, to a factory, to a social class, to society, ….

This thesis of social individuality brings about an analysis of society in terms of different socialisation modes (civil society, economic society, political society, class society), with multiple memberships of the individuals to different socialisation modes. There exists no ‘reduced uniqueness’ individual, but, rather, a multiple individual whose multiplicity refers back to the diversities of his forms of belonging.

This period is marked by a number of publications (1981, 1988, 1996) along these lines.

The complexity and radicalism of the texts of this period, at the crossroads of a critique of political economy and the expanded representation of individuals and society (not limited to the economy), explains why some of these texts were not published (1984) (cf. the response to my proposal of a manuscript for publication by the publisher who had taken over the Editions Maspéro: «You write for a sect …there are not even 50 people capable of reading you»!) and also led me to distance myself with regard to various currents of political economy: the traditional Marxist currents (communist, Trotskyite), the regulationist currents, the third-worldist current.


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