2 | 2018 - Épistémologies du pluriel

1. Les singularités du pluriel

Marie-Louise Pelus-Kaplan ; Gabrielle Chomentowski ; Madalina Vartejanu-Joubert.
For its second thematic Issue, the Review Sociétés plurielles has chosen to deal about the Epistemologies of the Plural, which can be different according to the different Branches of Learning. Six Articles, dealing with various Topics, have been selected, appealing to Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology, visual Arts, and Sciences of Information and Communication. The Authors are questioning the Duality Singular/Plural or Similar/Different at the University, in the Enterprise or in the rural World, in the Objects of cultural Consumption as well as in the Field of contemporary Photography, or in the Typology developed in early XXth Century Anthropology. All of them deal with the Question of the Plural in our Societies with their own Tools and Problematics.

2. Plurality of Points of Views and knowing of a Plural Reality

Claude Compagnone.
The purpose of this article is to report the way in which the plural understandings of reality are inherent to the process of knowledge production. It alsoaims to show what it means that actors’ point of view are socially and materially situated. Relying on J.-P. Darré’s approach, Putnam’s pragmatism, as well as on linguists’ and psychologists’ works, it highlights how the relationship between reality and knowledge may be understood. It underlines that truth depends on the adequacy of knowledge to reality and emphasizes the interactional features of things. Then, it focuses on the social nature of understanding and discusses the social characterization of points of view, drawing on A. Schütz’s works.

3. Diversity and Super-Diversity in between Policy and Academia: a Critical Reading

Milena Doytcheva.
Focusing at its starting point at the emergence of the concept of (super-) diversity in policy and academia, the article challenges the alleged theoretical and epistemic changes introduced by this new paradigm (Vertovec 2007) in the studies of race and ethnicity, pluralistic democracies, and even « multiculture » (Back 1994 ; Hall 1999). First we critically examine the main innovations claimed by the model, replacing them in a broader context of a posited « return of assimilation » (Brubaker 2001). Second we examine other sources of criticism, based for instance on empirical scrutiny and evidence from public policies analysis. We consider in conclusion the hypothesis of « whitening » (Bilge 2013) diversity and question thepossibility to invest the concept not normatively but critically, namely through athorough articulation to the principle of nondiscrimination

4. A Semio-Communicational Analysis of Othering Social Plurality within the “Diversity’s Rhetoric” in the French Organizations’ Discourses

Emmanuelle Bruneel.
This article aims to report on the way «diversity’s contemporary rhetoric» is considering the issue of social plurality and, doing so, reconfiguresthe ins and outs. Its recurrent uses in different sorts of public discourses (the one about «corporate social and environmental responsibility») allows us to examine «diversity» in terms of what that concept intends to focus on. Our analysis is a political one and is situated within the field of information and communication sciences insofar as it aims to approach the mediations of «diversity» as a social concept.Thus, our intention is to seize the contemporary social sayings about «diversity» and to characterize the concept within its discursive and visual existence. Conveyed by several institutional discourses via expressions such as «promote», «respect» or even «include diversity», this formulation seems ambiguous. It appears as a desire to gather the plurality of all «differences» and it aims to represent the plurality ofsociety while trying not to separate different members who compose it. It includes several themes which are, moreover, equivocal: it is used in heterogeneous contexts to talk about anti-discrimination, tolerance, parity, anti-homophobia, or anti-sexism, anti-racism, disability, secularism, etc. Nevertheless, all these evocations crystallize the idea of variety, plurality, dissimilarities, and non-identity between all. We willquestion discourses which aim to reflect an enchanted «diversity» […]

5. Thinking Relatively : Franz Boas and the Concept of « Type »

Camille Joseph.
This article focuses on the concept of « type » in Franz Boas’ work. Based on a close examination of his main anthropometrical texts, it sheds light onthe way Boas used statistical methods in order to criticize the taxonomic approach of physical anthropology. Instead, he developed a perspective where relations between types are put forward and emphasized the importance of variability and correlation phenomena. By using the plural “types”, Boas was able to consider human plasticity as a scene for borrowing and intermixture.

6. Subversive Paradigms of the Subject in Nan Goldin’s queer Photography: Human Plurality and Epistemological Revisions

Mélanie Grué.
This article associates discourses on the subject, the sociology of photography and Nan Goldin’s work, and argues that the photographer questions gender paradigms leading to the definition of « abject » identities. As she reinvests the snapshot aesthetic and family photography, Goldin reveals the plurality of gender identities. Her photography documents the dismantling of the heterosexual couple and claims the social viability of homosexuals, transgender people and drag queens, thus rising to the status of subaltern knowledge and counter-discourse on humanity.

7. For a Cosmopolitan Approach of Globalization

Vincenzo Cicchelli ; Sylvie Octobre.
Cosmopolitanism has a long and cyclic history. Often referred to as ‘neo cosmopolitanism», its use in the current context raises a number of difficulties, both conceptual and methodological. However, by rephrasing ancient philosophical frames in sociological terms, this perspective offers a new evaluation grid for specific globalization processes, that avoids mere economistic views, providing insights regarding changes in the political, ethical, cultural and aesthetical dimensions of the link to otherness in a global world. Taking part in the «cosmopolitan turn» – which supposes new concepts and methodological tools – we propose a theoretical frame based on three scales of analysis: the dynamics of cosmopolitan culture, the institutions ofcosmopolitan governance, the processes of cosmopolitan socialization.