Volume 5, Number 1, 2009

prise-deparole-logo-40This journal is published in French only.

Claude Javeau

Two Moments in Social Relations (Aux deux moments des relations sociales) (p. 15–19)


All social phenomena must be interpreted within two moments, institutional (macro sociological) and situatio­nal (micro sociological). The social relations must initially be understood as emerging in the second. This implies specific definitions are shared between the parties invol­ved. But they also emerge in the structure determined by the first moment, which often leads us to systems of domination. To have an institutional structure while eliminating rapports of domination, as they have histo­rically developed and then transformed into ideology, is turning sociology into a simple apologetic discourse of things as they are.

Keywords: Domination, ideology, institution, interaction, legitimi­zation, moments (of analysis), social rapport, reciproca­tion, regrouping, situation.

Kenneth J. Gergen

Relation as Collaborative Action (La relation comme action collaborative) (p. 21–24)


Traditionally we view relations as constituted by two or more individuals. However, this construction gives onto­logical priority to the individual, while relations become a secondary derivative. In terms of the ideological impli­cations, we are encouraged to give priority to individuals. The result is that many social science theories provide unwitting rationalization for cultural individualism. The present account attempts to develop an alternative account of relation in which relational process is prior to the individual. On this account, the very conception of the individual is a byproduct of collaborative action (co-action). The broad result is a focus on forms of confluence in social life.

Keywords: Individualism, collaborative action, ideology, conflu­ence, language game.

Rachid Bagaoui

Relational Sociology as Structuring Principles and Social Theories (La sociologie relationnelle comme principes structurants et comme théories sociales) (p. 25–29)


The relational model is at the core of sociological thought. However, there exists no consensus on how to use and translate this model into practical research. The author stresses the importance of making a distinction between the conditions of a sociology of relations and the appli­cation of the principle of relationship. An example of the relational model taken from his research in work socio­logy illustrates this principle.

Keywords: Theory of knowledge, social theory, social actions, relational systems, social compromise, wage relations, Taylorism-Fordism.

Ali Aït Abdelmalek

Identity Mutations and Complexity of the Social Bond: Sociological Perspective on Integration and Exclusion (Mutations identitaires et complexité du lien social : approche sociologique de l’intégration et de l’exclusion) (p. 31–49)


In modern societies, attention is more and more reques­ted due to the weakening of social bonds. We will present the relationships between individuals and society through a different perspective, one that requires a person to think about the concept of “social demand” and to adopt an historical perspective. Nowadays, neither theoretical controversies, nor discussions about determinism have disappeared. Beyond the quarrels in the interpretation of social bonds emerges a progressively more original model of scientific character that we have to appreciate for its true value.

Keywords: Social links, relation, individual and society, sociological theories.

Guy Bajoit

The Concept of Social Relation (Le concept de relation sociale) (p.  51–65)


Since social relations are the foundation of social life, it is also a central concept in sociology. This concept must therefore be conceptualized in a way that allows for its operationalization and its empirical study. Once this understanding achieved, a new social theory can be constructed. In this article, the author attempts to define the notion of social relations, to distinguish different types of social relations, and to show how this notion allows one to articulate the sense of culture and the constraints of social life.

Keywords: Social relation, constraints of social life, cultural model, social paradigm.

Michel Lallement

The Institution From the Perspective of the Relation (L’institution au prisme de la relation) (p. 67–77)


The notion of institution has a long and rich history in social sciences. For many reasons, it has lost credibility in recent years. In keeping with Émile Durkheim’s work, while steering clear of determinism, this article proposes to rehabilitate the institution in terms of a multi-polar process. In this perspective, the relational program proves itself to be particularly revealing. The decomposition of all institutions into four basic functions which are auto­nomous and, therefore, potentially conflicting invites us to rethink how we see the varied social processes in an open and dynamic perspective. In this regard, the insti­tution can be defined as a collection of relations of rela­tions.

Keywords: Institution, relation, Durkheim, division, integration, individuation, regulation, kinship, professional relation­ships.

Simon Laflamme

Social Sciences and Relational Approach (Sciences sociales et approche relationnelle) (p. 79–85)


Sociology, as well as most social sciences, alternates between two approaches: in one case, social phenomena should be understood through a rational actor, in the other, social phenomena is the result of the possibility to understand relations. These two perspectives, although contradictory, often cohabit, even within the same theory; sociality cannot be simultaneously the pure product of individual actions and of human interactions or of rela­tions between social phenomena. This is why interactio­nism imposes itself upon individualist theories and why the ideology of a rational, free, interested, intentional, and strategic actor does not impend all relational research undertakings. Relational approaches are essential to social sciences simply because there is no individual without human interactions and because there is no social phe­nomena which is not either a combination of relations or itself in relation with other phenomena.

Keywords: Relation, social sciences, rationality, intention, emoreason.

Graham Scambler

Realism. Sociology and the Concept of Relations (Réalisme, sociologie et concepts de relations) (p. 87–93)


The word ‘relations’ stands for any number of different and sometimes barely compatible concepts in contempo­rary sociology. No attempt will be made in this brief contribution to tidy things up. Rather I will proffer a general interpretation, a kind of common denominator, then introduce and illustrate how I have sought to use the term in my own work on health-related stigma and health inequalities in the UK. In my writings the terms relations and structures are treated largely as synonyms. I end with a consideration of what I call the ‘jigsaw model’, a heuristic device to facilitate the sociological study of relations in the social worlds we inhabit.

Keywords: Relation, stigma, health, jigsaw.

Nicolas Bonnet

Resiliency of a Territory confronted with unemployment: Network of innovative Buisnesses in Montpellier (Résilience d’un territoire face au chômage : les réseaux d’entreprises innovantes sur Montpellier) (p. 97–115)


The objective of the article is to evaluate the resiliency of a territory facing economical disruptions, (the urban area of Montpelier) through the study of the morphology of the networks of local businesses. To realize this analysis, we took a census of the common application for patents of the innovative local businesses. This approach allowed a modelling of these networks with the theory of graphs over several temporal zones. In the end, this analysis allows to forefront the role played by key-businesses in the resiliency of a territory, namely in terms of perennity of its innovative entrepreneurial fabric but also at the employment.

Keywords: Proximity, resiliency, company networks, innovation, employment.