Publications of Bruno Frère
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See detailLa crise contre la critique : vers un état post-démocratique ?
Orianne, Jean-François ULiege; Frère, Bruno ULiege

Conference (2021, May 20)

La notion de crise est aujourd’hui de plus en plus utilisée et véhiculée par les médias de masse pour décrire nos systèmes sociaux : crise des états-providence, crises migratoires, crises des systèmes de ... [more ▼]

La notion de crise est aujourd’hui de plus en plus utilisée et véhiculée par les médias de masse pour décrire nos systèmes sociaux : crise des états-providence, crises migratoires, crises des systèmes de soins de santé, des systèmes politiques, éducatifs, économiques et financiers. La question de savoir si ces descriptions sont conformes, réalistes, « vraies », renvoie à la fonction des médias de masse dans nos sociétés modernes. Dans son précis de sociologie de l’émancipation, Boltanski (2009) explique que le rôle principal des institutions, au sein des systèmes sociaux, consiste à dire et faire la réalité afin que tous les acteurs sociaux soient accordés sur celle-ci et sur la façon dont on peut s’y référer. De son côté, Luhmann (2006) considère que le système des médias de masse assure deux fonctions essentielles à l’égard de la réalité instituée : 1) une fonction de sécurisation sémantique : confirmer en permanence ce qu’il en est de ce qui est au niveau de la société ; 2) une fonction de sensibilisation à la critique : irriter, sensibiliser en permanence le système social à la critique (s’attendre à des surprises, à des nouvelles, à du neuf, à de la déviance, à du conflit, à de nouvelles épreuves), tenir le système social en alerte, en éveil, confronter en permanence le système social à la perturbation, à l’instar d’un système immunitaire. Dans le cas des crises successives que nous rencontrons, il semble que les médias viennent sans cesse jouer le rôle de confirmation de la réalité sociale dont les systèmes politiques et économiques dessinent les contours : la réalité est composée de crises et il faut laisser aux experts le soin de définir les modalités de gestion celles-ci. Sous le prisme de la crise, pour le dire avec Luhmann, les « systèmes sociaux » qui formatent notre réalité commune trouvent en fait à s’autonomiser davantage, en reléguant les humains dans la sphère privée (ou domestique), où se canalisent désormais protestation, indignation et frustration, sans porter atteinte au bon fonctionnement des systèmes (politiques, éducatifs, économiques, financiers, de santé, etc.). Comme l’avaient déjà bien souligné Boltanski et Chiapello (1999), la crise désarme la critique. L’état d’urgence rend les humains solidaires dans la peur (Beck, 1986). Toute controverse, critique ou débat contradictoire s’éteignent en temps de crise aigue, faute d’opposants : l’adversité disperse les adversaires. La « crise du covid-19 » appartient sans doute à cette nouvelle gamme de « crises modernes » auto-produites par nos systèmes sociaux. Comme le souligne Beck, depuis plus d’un siècle, en effet, les risques qui menacent nos sociétés modernes ne sont plus extérieurs à la société (comme le ciel nous tomberait sur la tête) mais auto-produits, manufacturés (comme un attentat terroriste, une crise sanitaire, migratoire ou financière qui s’abattrait sur nos institutions). A chaque crise auto-produite (financière, terroriste, migratoire, sanitaire, etc.), l’autoritarisme légitime de la prévention gagne du terrain sur le débat démocratique et l’intelligence collective. En Belgique, comme chez nous voisins, les contours d’un Etat post-démocratique (une gouvernance d’experts) s’esquisse au rythme de ces multiples crises auto-immunes. La réalité et sa définition s’en trouvent toujours plus fermement cadenassées. La critique, immédiatement renvoyée à la déraison et à l’irresponsabilité (en matière de santé public dans le cas du covid), n’a plus voie au chapitre. La dissonance s’interdit d’elle-même lorsque le contestataire est isolé thématiquement et socialement afin que sa protestation demeure sans effet. [less ▲]

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See detailOù est passé la justice sociale
Frère, Bruno ULiege

in Revue française de sciences politiques (2021), 71

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See detailrepenser l’émancipation.
Frère, Bruno ULiege; Laville, Jean-Louis

Book published by à définir (2021)

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See detailBölüm on Pierre Bourdieu’nün sosyolojîk kurmacasi: habîtus’un fenomenolojîk bîr yorumu
Frère, Bruno ULiege

in Susen, Simon (Ed.) ierre Bourdieu’nün Mirası Ele􏱪tirel Söylemler (2020)

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See detailPrendre le temps du soin politique. Coronavirus et objection de croissance
Frère, Bruno ULiege

Article for general public (2020)

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See detailLe covid 19, une maladie de croissance
Frère, Bruno ULiege

Article for general public (2020)

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See detailExtrapolation ! Phenomenology, sociology of critique and state of mind in the solidarity economy
Frère, Bruno ULiege

in Sociologica del Lavoro (2020), 158(3), 21-47

The aim of this theoretic paper is to demonstrate the value of French sociology of critique as a post-Bourdieusian critical sociology. Against interpretations of justifications as cultural tool kits ... [more ▼]

The aim of this theoretic paper is to demonstrate the value of French sociology of critique as a post-Bourdieusian critical sociology. Against interpretations of justifications as cultural tool kits unconsciously mobilized by actors, we suggest that its notion of ‘grammar’ is useful to articulate the normative moral macro-elements that motivate local actions and justifications. In a second time, phenomenology helps us to understand at a deeper level those justifications as expressions of fundamental ways of relating to the world. In this sense phenomenology is useful to a moral sociology of critique because it helps to find solution to the possible contradiction between justification and action that sociology of critique left unsolved, as we will see by an empirical example called up in the field of solidarity economy. [less ▲]

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See detailMai 68 et les sciences sociales : la lutte continue
Frère, Bruno ULiege; fontaine, sebastien; Italiano, Patrick ULiege

Book published by Presses de l'uliège (2020)

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See detailThe impasse of European critical theory: Attempts at a pragmatic sociology renewal
Frère, Bruno ULiege; Karakostaki, Charitini ULiege; Tulle, Emmanuelle

in e-Legal : Revue de Droit et de Criminologie de l'Université Libre de Bruxelles (2020), 4

Many significant intellectual developments have taken place in 20th century European social theories. Notably the first Frankfurt School and Bourdieu’s work have successfully shown how workers, social ... [more ▼]

Many significant intellectual developments have taken place in 20th century European social theories. Notably the first Frankfurt School and Bourdieu’s work have successfully shown how workers, social actors, etc. are alienated or dominated by capitalist social structures. But according to Habermas, neither perspective successfully allows for the possibility that people could contribute to their own emancipation. The emergence of new forms of social resistance to domination such as those embodied by the Indignados, Anonymous, Femen, the practitioners of alternative economy, movements of unemployed people or illegals compels us to envisage the possibility for emancipation, but how? In this paper we explore opportunities for accounting for this by considering the work of a range of other European social theorists, more specifically Boltanski whose critical intent is embodied in his pragmatic sociology, and evident in his coining and use of the concept of the world. In addition we will consider Latour’s own pragmatic stance as we believe that despite his disinterest in new social movements, his work, informed by pure immanence, might offer potential solutions. But we would argue that even in these innovations there is either a persistent tendency to imagine emancipation primarily as a return to some ideal state or a lack of critical engagement with alienation. In response, we propose a materialist renewal, which will lead us to ponder on the political role of sociologists. [less ▲]

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See detailTranscending the transcendental: Towards a constructive critical sociology
Frère, Bruno ULiege; Jaster, Dan

E-print/Working paper (2020)

This article calls for a rethinking of critical sociology. The popular Bourdieusian paradigm effectively highlighted how domination persists, but its negative foundation removes the voices of actors by ... [more ▼]

This article calls for a rethinking of critical sociology. The popular Bourdieusian paradigm effectively highlighted how domination persists, but its negative foundation removes the voices of actors by privileging sociological knowledge as capable of identifying transcendental categories of thought. Latourian critical theory arose in opposition to this privileging, but underplayed the roles of domination and power dynamics, and thus critique. We propose a perspective that evades the transcendental perspective which relies on pure negation but allows critique; a more positive critical sociology. This alternative perspective is founded on processualist, phenomenological, pragmatic, and utopian perspectives, which levels the distinction between social scientists and social actors. Focusing on process, not privileged knowledge of transcendental truths, emphasizes actors’ own critical capacities: critical scholars do not dominate, but help actors build better worlds based on their own perspectives and pasts. Thus, critical sociology does not negate actors, reducing them to unconscious reifiers, but recognizes that people utilize their pasts to challenge power structures and create better futures based on their imaginations.   [less ▲]

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See detailRepenser l’émancipation : Bourdieu et Foucaut
Frère, Bruno ULiege

Scientific conference (2019, November 21)

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See detail« Phenomenology, a new trend in (french) pragmatic sociology »
Frère, Bruno ULiege

Conference (2019, August 13)

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See detailRéenchanter la ville ? Pour une appropriation égalitaire de l’espace public
Brahy, Rachel ULiege; Frère, Bruno ULiege

in Politique, Revue de Débats (2019), 108

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See detailRéenchanter la ville ? Pour une appropriation égalitaire de l’espace public
Brahy, Rachel ULiege; Frère, Bruno ULiege

Article for general public (2019)

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See detailSolidarity economy and libertarian socialism. What to do with the state forme ?
Frère, Bruno ULiege

Scientific conference (2019, February 27)

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See detailPositivism
Frère, Bruno ULiege

in Frère, Bruno (Ed.) Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd Edition (2019)

The 19th century was a century represented by its actors as one of irreversible progress – one that the advance of the sciences was driving towards an increasingly developed future. In this future, it was ... [more ▼]

The 19th century was a century represented by its actors as one of irreversible progress – one that the advance of the sciences was driving towards an increasingly developed future. In this future, it was thought, knowledge would allow man to emancipate himself once and for all; he would be freed from the heaviest and most punishing tasks, which would be carried out by machines and other new technologies. The control of fossil fuels allowed for the invention of the train, and electricity appeared, as did photography and the telegraph. Medicine progressed. Scientific research permitted an increasing number of illnesses to be cured and treated through, for example, the first vaccines, which were enabled by Pasteur’s discoveries. Amid this effervescence, science found itself placed at the centre of all scholarly thought, ripe for theorisation. The advances of chemistry, physics and biology fascinated those who Honneth has rightly called philosophers of the social (1994). And at the time, more than one of these philosophers envisaged the application of natural science’s methods to the study of human societies. The idea that it is possible to identify the principal natural laws that govern the development of human groups – just like it is possible to identify the laws that govern the physical world (in order to control it) – gained ground. Saint-Simon (1760-1825), envisaged a social physiology whose task would be to observe social phenomena as we observe natural phenomena. But it was Auguste Comte (1798-1857) who, theorising what we still understand today as sociology, would endorse the particular stand of social philosophy that constituted positivism. [less ▲]

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See detail“Politics without politics”: Affordances and limitations of the solidarity economy’s libertarian socialist grammar.
Frère, Bruno ULiege

in The Everyday Resistance. French Activism at the Beginning of the 21th Century (2019)

The “solidarity economy” is generally thought of as comprising four distinct classes of activity: community services consultancy, microfinance, Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS), community services ... [more ▼]

The “solidarity economy” is generally thought of as comprising four distinct classes of activity: community services consultancy, microfinance, Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS), community services and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Because they try to emphasise the citizen’s activism, these solidarity initiatives are thought to be deeply political in the philosophical sense of the term. But today an important question arises regarding the kind of formal political institution that might speak in the name of all these initiatives. Some commentators see solidarity initiatives as new economic models with the potential to solve the ethical impasse of advanced capitalism. They are eager for academic researchers and movement leaders to reach consensus about the kind of concrete political identity such initiatives may be expected to generate. My research examines the failure to move from micro-level initiatives to an overarching “macro” political entity. This chapter, using the insights of pragmatic sociology, aims to understand how the obstacles to this goal are rooted in the libertarian socialist grammar of the solidarity economy itself. [less ▲]

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