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29/2015
Convoquer les êtres collectifs

Bringing Collective Entities Back In
Edited by Thomas Angeletti and Aurélien Berlan
Tracés n° 29
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208 
ISBN 978-2-84788-670-2

In what kind of situations do individuals face collective entities, institutions or systems larger than themselves? How do they refer to them? What theoretical approaches do social sciences take to discuss them? The empirical and theoretical articles in this special issue examine the modes of existence of collective entities when they are conceived as actors. There is a general tension that unites these analyses across all the disciplines represented in this issue: on one hand, it is important to be careful to avoid substantializing collective entities in any way; on the other hand, it appears necessary to toss this caution aside and consider them as acting institutions. This contrast is even more significant when one takes into account that social scientists are not the only ones to refer to collective entities: people never stop to summon them or to fight them. By exploring entities as diverse as capitalism, markets, the state, deliberating bodies, the Church, the French postal system or the Nicolotti in eighteenth-century Venice, the articles, translations and interview gathered in this issue show the variety of ways to deal with such collective entities.

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