Sociologica <p><strong>Socio<em>logica</em> – International Journal for Sociological Debate – ISSN 1971-8853</strong> an international, peer-reviewed journal committed to fostering rigorous debate not only about theoretical and methodological issues but also about the practice of the sociological craft. Founded in 2007, Socio<em>logica</em> is one of the first international journals of sociology issued solely online and fully open access.</p> Department of Arts, University of Bologna en-US Sociologica 1971-8853 <p>The copyrights of all the texts on this journal belong to the respective authors without restrictions.</p><div><a href="" rel="license"><img src="" alt="Creative Commons License" /></a></div><p>This journal is licensed under a <a href="" rel="license">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License</a> (<a href="">full legal code</a>). <br /> See also our <a href="/about/editorialPolicies#openAccessPolicy">Open Access Policy</a>.</p> Corrigendum: Resilience and Gender-Structural Change in Universities: How Bottom-Up Approaches Can Leverage Transformation When Top-Level Management Support Fails María Bustelo Copyright (c) 2023 María Bustelo 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 179 179 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18782 Taking Quantitative Evaluation of Intellectual Labour Seriously: A Debate about Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra’s <em>The Quantified Scholar</em> (CUP, 2022) <p>The rise of quantitative research evaluation has changed not only the way knowledge is rated and ranked, but the way scientific knowledge is produced. This Focus discusses the outcomes of Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra’s research on the transformation of the British social sciences. While pushing social scientists to adapt to the new canons of evaluation, research assessment frameworks have increased disciplinary homogeneity at the detriment of diversity. Moving beyond the specificity of the British case, the comments that follow critically engage with the perspectives and proposals advanced by the author.</p> Riccardo Emilio Chesta Copyright (c) 2023 Riccardo Emilio Chesta 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 145 148 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18126 Review Essay on Pardo-Guerra’s <em>The Quantified Scholar</em> <p>What do research evaluation protocols do to research, and why should we care? In his latest book, sociologist Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra explores this pressing question through an in-depth investigation of the REF, the research evaluation framework in the United Kingdom. The results are, to say the least, discomforting.</p> Étienne Ollion Copyright (c) 2023 Étienne Ollion 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 149 155 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/17867 The Impossible Moderation of Pardo-Guerra. A Review of Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra’s <em>The Quantified Scholar. How Research Evaluation Transformed the British Social Sciences</em> <p>Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra, a Mexican born scholar with considerable experience of working in the UK, now an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, takes us on a leisurely stroll along the predicaments of British academia, as subject to periodic evaluations known as the REF (Research Evaluation Framework). Pardo-Guerra’s (2022) book <em>The Quantified Scholar. How Research Evaluation Transformed the British Social Sciences</em>, published by Columbia University Press, asks important questions about how a culture of quantified evaluation has affected the operation of academia and the life of its members in the UK.</p> Andrea Saltelli Copyright (c) 2023 Andrea Saltelli 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 157 161 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/17596 A Response to Critics <p>In this short response to the comments by Étienne Ollion and Andrea Saltelli on <em>The Quantified Scholar</em> (CUP, 2022), the author Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra explores some of the methodological and ethical dimensions of the valuation of research in the present.</p> Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra Copyright (c) 2023 Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 163 168 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18948 Introduction: Failed! The Sociological Analysis of Failure <p>In recent years the social sciences have been paying closer attention to failure, to its manifestations in the contemporary world and to the modalities of dealing with it both in theory and in practice. An emergent and interdisciplinary field of analysis has been consolidating under the label of failure studies reflecting a number of social trends. These include the instability of winner-take-all systems, the ubiquity of the new spirit of capitalism, metric-based forms of governmentality, platformization, and changes in cultural attitudes to failure. We argue that the normality of failure calls for a better conceptualization of it. What is needed is a clearer thinking about what failure really means, a better understanding of the mechanisms that generate, reproduce, and terminate it as a normal part of life. The essays collected for this symposium offer fresh insights on the analysis of failure. Taking different areas of social life as a focus, they critically examine the failures of large complex socio-technical systems; the purposefully agency of players in systems failure; the failures of governance and metagovernance; new meanings of policy failures; kaleidoscopic failure; network failure and the moral economy of failure. In doing so they we suggest that a sociology of failure needs to be built on socio-historical understandings of failure in different contexts, cultures, and environments.</p> Filippo Barbera Ian Rees Jones Copyright (c) 2023 Filippo Barbera, Ian Rees Jones 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 1 5 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18960 System Effects, Failure, and Repair: Two Cases <p>This paper argues for the importance of studying the systemic causes of organization failures. Taking a systems approach calls for both a theoretical and methodological framing that examines system effects: the relation between conditions, actors, and actions in the institutional environment, as they affect organizations, changing them, and consequently changing the workplace, technology, tasks, and the actions and reactions of the people who work there. All organizations are vulnerable to system effects — competition for scarce resources necessary to achieving organization goals, including survival, status, and legitimacy in their organization field. Consequently, this research aims to fill gaps in what is known about failure by asking how and why, of two organizations with similar operations and under the same constraints, one is subject to repeat catastrophic failures, while the other has been able to maintain safety. To this end, this research is a cross-case comparative analysis based on historical ethnographies of two crises in large socio-technical systems, looking for analogies and differences. Both cases reveal the institutional constraints and internal responses to the liabilities of technological and organizational innovation: NASA’s decision to launch the Space Shuttle <em>Challenger</em>, and Air Traffic Control response to the intersection of a staffing shortage and automation. The conclusions have implications for both policy and for our understanding of institutional persistence, change, and agency.</p> Diane Vaughan Copyright (c) 2023 Diane Vaughan 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 7 23 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18646 The Resource Bind: System Failure and Legitimacy Threats in Sociotechnical Organizations <p>This paper decouples legitimacy crises from technical failure, observing what happens when sociotechnical organizations confront a legitimacy crisis that does not stem from a technical failure. We draw on two parallel ethnographic studies within U.S. governmental agencies which administer complex sociotechnical systems: NASA and the Census Bureau. We show how <em>time</em> and <em>money</em> have dual, contested symbolic meanings that effect both the organizations’ legitimacy and the technical viability of their missions. This duality places public-sector technical organizations in a bind, and enables hostile actors to push these organizations to the brink, triggering legitimacy crises by pressuring their systems toward technical failure. Efforts on the ground may enable these projects to survive technically, but at the loss of individual and institutional reputations that reconfigure institutional fields along politically expedient lines. We demonstrate the advantage of bringing an institutional perspective to technical system threat and failure by addressing broader questions of legitimacy in high-risk organizations and sociotechnical systems.</p> Janet A. Vertesi danah boyd Copyright (c) 2023 Janet A. Vertesi, danah boyd 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 25 49 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18894 Spaces of Collibration: The Governance and Metagovernance of Failure <div class="page" title="Page 2"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>This essay offers a geographical political economy explanation to the failed state of the local and regional economic growth and development in England’s regions. The essay advances the field of inquiry known as metagovernance and increasingly multispatial metagovernance, i.e., how complex problems of economic life and the existence of various failures — market failure, state failure, and governance failure — necessitates a focus on governance coordination and its complex geographies. Taking metagovernance as a point of departure, the term “spaces of collibration”, taken initially from the work of Dunsire (1993, 1994 &amp; 1996) and developed by Jessop (2016a, 2016b &amp; 2020), is deployed to capture how altering the relative balance within and between different modes of spatial coordination through state intervention shapes the governance of local and regional economic development. Collibration critically gets behind how uneven development and state intervention in sub-national economic development is managed by creating an unstable equilibrium of compromise, which in turn helps to explain the governance of failure.</p> </div> </div> </div> Martin Jones Copyright (c) 2023 Martin Jones 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 51 74 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18338 Expectations of Failure: Political Risks in the Moral Economy of Ignorance and Social Injustice <p>We are observing how contemporary failure regimes increasingly challenge ignorance and social injustice, and how this opens expectations for public policy to move beyond effectiveness and to pursue more emancipatory and progressive aims. Policy reinterpretations and expectations of failure however, are not coming solely from critical and alternative groups in the society. They are first and foremost political, which raises the question how does the moral economy and epistemology of just futures unfold? What are the effects of political exploitation and contamination? Our answer is to review political risks of emancipatory activism in abortion debates, which manifest high levels of polarization and contestation in relation to reproductive justice and human rights. We map out various hazards, showing how they produce what we term post-failure, and sustain emancipation fantasies and alternative policy futures that are linked with oppression effects. With this exploration we see that addressing ignorance and social injustice in policymaking has never been more essential, yet also unpredictable and convoluted in the political risks that it poses.</p> Adriana Mica Mikołaj Pawlak Paweł Kubicki Copyright (c) 2023 Adriana Mica, Mikołaj Pawlak, Paweł Kubicki 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 75 97 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18340 Kaleidoscopic Failure: The Regularity, Repetition, and Patterning of Failure in the Arts <p>This essay presents the argument that failure in the arts is kaleidoscopic, presenting myriad points and types of regular, repeated, patterned failures that are concealed by focusing on financial earnings as the primary way that failure is experienced by artists. This framework is useful as a way to examine and review knowledge about the arts through outlining how individuals, groups, artistic products, and ideas can fail to accumulate economic, human, social, and cultural capital.</p> Rachel Skaggs Copyright (c) 2023 Rachel Skaggs 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 99 112 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18337 “I’m Happy for People to Collaborate, but I Don’t Want to Join in”. Addressing Failure in Community-supported Agriculture Networks <p>Strategies for transforming capitalist economies often struggle with scaling up more socially just and ecologically sustainable alternatives. To avoid being stuck in a “local trap”, many prefigurative initiatives form larger networks and coalitions. Agroecological practices, such as community-supported agriculture (CSA), have been especially expansive in recent years. However, since most scholarship on the growing CSA networks focuses primarily on their development and positive achievements, we learn little about their encountered challenges and their strategies for overcoming them. This article therefore investigates the causes and extent of “network failure”, including barriers to collaboration and potential responses, among CSA networks in the UK and Germany. It draws on qualitative case studies, based on interviews, observation and document analysis. The article finds that CSA networks operate well at national and local level, but have experienced relative network failure at regional level, and encounter regular barriers to collaboration due to capacity limitations, differences and competition between members, all of which they are trying to address.</p> Bernd Bonfert Copyright (c) 2023 Bernd Bonfert 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 113 127 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18336 The Moral Economy of Failure <p>This paper attempts to place contemporary market and state-based surveillance and monitoring regimes within a moral economy framework with the aim of developing a sociological approach to the moral economy of failure. The paper begins by reviewing different understandings of moral economy and their applications, both historical and contemporary, across different political, economic, and cultural contexts. It then sets out an approach to moral economy that focuses both on the norms and sentiments that frame economic and social relations and their associated practices as well as the ways in which these practices are legitimated. Following this the paper examines the literature on failure in different spaces including failure of markets, valuation regimes, and innovations. We focus on organisational and professional failures, market failures, failures of governance and policy and failures in innovation and experimentalism. In each case the discussion relates the scholarship on failure to the moral economy highlighting the interrelationships between the two and how practices related to failure are reframed and legitimated. Our discussion highlights a double standard with respect to failure. For some, generally the wealthy and powerful, it is possible to embrace failure; to hold it up as an example of ones capacity to adapt, to survive to embrace new ideas and through individual resilience, to learn and grow from the experience. But in other circumstances particularly for those living in poverty, for marginal groups and for the racially profiled, failure attracts shame, stigma, and punishment. We conclude by arguing that a research agenda addressing the moral economy of failure needs to be built on socio-historical understandings of failure in different contexts, cultures, and environments. We suggest this offers a way of identifying progressive futures and acts as an antidote to much of the hype that underpins contemporary accounts of success and innovation.</p> Filippo Barbera Ian Rees Jones Copyright (c) 2023 Filippo Barbera, Ian Rees Jones 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 129 144 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18648 Intellectuals, Pragmatism, and the Craft of Sociology: Matteo Bortolini in Conversation with Neil Gross <p>In this interview with Matteo Bortolini, Neil Gross talks about pragmatism in sociology, the sociology of intellectuals, and his work on the police. The interview also addresses some points of a sociologist’s professional life and its different stages, starting from the hypothesis that sociologists of ideas and intellectuals should be particularly exposed to continuous moments of reflexivity.</p> Matteo Bortolini Neil Gross Copyright (c) 2023 Matteo Bortolini, Neil Gross 2024-03-12 2024-03-12 17 3 169 178 10.6092/issn.1971-8853/18547