1996 Dominique Desjeux, Scales of Observation, Visual Sociology

This 1996 article was reviewed and published by Douglas Harper, by whom I was introduced to visual sociology in 1994

1996, Scales of observation: a micro-sociological epistemology of social science practice.

By Dominique Desjeux, Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at The Sorbonne (University Paris V), editor at Presse Universitaire de France Publishing House, and scientific director of Argonautes (1)

For more information on observation scales see also:

2022 01, Scales of Observation, Dominique Desjeux, Oxford University Press – consommations et societes (consommations-et-societes.fr)


Before beginning, I would like to recall that the most challenging thing to do is ‘translate’ one’s sociological approach into another language. There are many ways to lose the nuances in expression or to misunderstand the intended meanings of French, English, or Italian words. In addition, I suggest more of a potential solution than an absolute one. The captatio benevolentiae being done, I shall begin! This has the double sense of translating word to word and explaining other sociological patterns from my French sociological and anthropological way of thinking.

This paper could echo an invisible big bang, spreading from the social and humanities sciences, including Economics, Geography, History, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Psychoanalysis, and even Biology (when linked to psychological topics). The echo is a growing awareness of the importance, in all academic areas, of the social and technical conditions of observation. This coincides with another quiet revolution (especially in France and other parts of Europe and the States) in qualitatively grounded theories (2). 

Evidence is in the increase of empirical studies, particularly microsocial qualitative studies on daily life carried out with interviews or photos (3). 

Let’s begin by eliminating a deadlocked debate. To the point though I am primarily a micro sociologist, I am not going to argue that quantitative approaches are useless. Instead, I suggest recognizing the legitimacy of qualitative tools in an academic field dominated by quantitative methods (4). 

I am also responding to the part of the French philosophical tradition that confuses sociology and philosophy. French philosophers, preferring deduction to induction, do not carry out any field studies. So even if philosophers help us understand the sociology of knowledge, they cannot consider the ‘issue of scale.’ Thus in France before the 1980s, sociologists involved in a micro-sociological level of observation struggled for legitimacy because of the dominance of the quantitative approaches mainly at the scale of observation and because the scale question was irrelevant for philosophers. Thus moving the ‘scale issue’ to the forefront has meant recognizing the complete legitimacy of microsocial qualitative studies. But the central fact I want to stress is that the rise of empirical field studies, either qualitative or quantitative, based on statistics, interviews and observations, images, or paper records, on any scale, is invisibly changing our way of debating. That is why the ‘scale of observation issue’ is growing. It doesn’t mean the end of these debates, but it is another way to cope.

That is why visual sociology may make a crucial epistemological contribution: it may be the best way to demonstrate that observational bridges cannot be built simultaneously on several scales of observation. The focal length of our camera lens has to be changed to first catch the overview of a city; and then to record a woman cooking at home. But visual sociology also provides opportunities to understand how intellectual connections are possible between several observations if some distinctions between confusing words are accepted.

So, I would like to focus on six oppositions within social science: ‘local’ vs. ‘global’; ‘small’ (‘beautiful’ or not ?) vs. ‘big’; ‘detailed’ vs. ‘comprehensive’; ‘holistic’ vs. ‘atomistic’; ‘qualitative’ vs. ‘quantitative’ and ‘determinist’ vs. ‘freedom.’ These are each linked to the scale of observation issue (5).

A ‘comprehensive’ approach is possible using one or two related scales, such as biology and psychology. It is also possible when two scales operate on the same logic, such as in psychology and some approaches in macroeconomics. But it is challenging to simultaneously use concepts such as social class or social interaction on several scales. Similar confusions emerge with words such as « comprehensive, » « global, » « central, » and « local. » These words signal concepts that belong to different scales and thus do not translate easily into comparisons or equivalents.

If the use of the concept of « comprehensive » is dependent on scale, so are terms including « detail » and « precision. » For example, a micro-qualitative study isn’t more precise than a macro-quantitative approach because the determination of precision depends on the state of the knowledge at each scale. For instance, Michael Herzfeld (1993), in an innovative book, comments on the two works of Britan (1981) and Richman (1983): « these works (by Britan and Richman) take inquiry to a much more intimate level than, for example, the macro-analyses and cultural generalizations of Crozier (1964). » But in 1963, in France, Crozier was seen as a micro sociologist compared with Marx and Max Weber, even if nowadays he looks less ‘precise’ than nowadays qualitative research.

« Precision » is also a scale issue. Increasing precision may shift the scale of observation from social interactions to individual cognition (6). 

Similarly, ‘generalization’ is a ‘scale concept’; it is possible to generalize on one scale, but this generalization is not a « middle range theory; » it is a complete perspective on reality. Social mechanisms, such as power relationships or social networks, are universal; one does not need a quantitative approach to prove their existence. Finally, holistic and atomistic theories are not relevant from the perspective of scale because, most often, these two patterns of explanation are based on one scale, from which data are generalized to other scales. Holistic reasoning often comes from a macrosocial scale, where individuals are invisible. Thus sociologists such as Durkheim (1897) or Bourdieu (1979) have overestimated the influence of society as something rather ‘deterministic.’ (7)

At the other extreme (atomistic), French sociologists such as R. Boudon (1984) over-develop their emphasis on the freedom and rationality of individuals because they mainly work at a micro-scale level where social constraints are less visible. I accept these two points of view as theoretical but not empirical postulates. My perspective is holistic for one part: As a sociologist, I acknowledge that society organizes many human behaviors. But because it is impossible to prove the effectiveness of social determination, I mainly focus my qualitative studies at the micro level, on the social dimension in individual behaviors and interactions. We don’t see the same phenomena at a macro, micro, or individual observation scale. We may not compare the results found on one scale to those found on another (8). 

Thus the debate between ‘holistic and atomistic’ is not relevant when discussed in the context of the scale of observation theory. It is the same for the five other dimensions listed previously (9). 

The scaling approach allows both new alliances, but also new boundaries, leading to new struggles as well as new opportunities (10). 

The scale of observation: the hidden dimension I have been carrying out field studies for more than 25 years (in the past seven years with a research team) in France, Europe, Africa, Asia, and America. We gather information at the individual level: recording fantasies, social class status, sensations (taste, sight, touch, or smell), and non-verbal means of communication. We also study the link between daily life practice and culture, which we see as a function of social, gender, or a generational pattern of behavior. We use quantitative or qualitative methods; and visual or oral data-gathering techniques. So we have been developing observing, processing, describing, and interpreting skills for many years. Our observation has been that our practices shape this skill and that our practices are mobilized at the level of our preferred observation scale. We hypothesize that we unconsciously interpret social realities in the context of a central pattern of interpretation – called a theory, which more or less belongs to a school – which matches our main preferred observation scale. And we gradually forget the link between our scale of observation and its influence on our ‘theory,’ leading us to think that our theory is universal if not the best!

How can we clarify this debate between researchers oriented to quantitative or qualitative methods or between numerical data and visual or observational data? First, we have to explain which scale we tacitly rely upon. Most often, researchers are used to shifting their incorporated pattern of interpretation from one scale to another. They criticize other researchers without thinking that what is working quite well at their own scale might not work on another. Secondly, researchers, myself included, confuse what is personally essential (our subjectivity; our meaning of life) with what is important to us as researchers (our preferred scale of observation and our main pattern of interpreting social facts). But these two issues, our awareness of our implicit scale and the confusion between the scales of observation and our subjectivity are challenging to act upon because of the influence of our disciplines on our identities and our careers. This is why there are conflicts. We only have a limited ability to accept differences. It is a big issue representing our professional and cultural differences, and there is no easy answer.

The ‘scale issue’ in Social Sciences (11)

The ‘scale issue’ is essential in several French social sciences. History focuses on the micro or daily life question instead of the macro-historical view of the well-known French Annals School (12). 

In anthropology, the issue surfaces with the use of micro tools to observe macro phenomena such as a political system or a modern institution such as EEC Parliament in Brussels (for example, Marc Abélès, 1990, or Michael Herzfeld, 1993). In sociology, the shift can be seen in the study of decision-making processes, observed at a cognitive or the interactionist level (13) (for example, the special issue of the French sociological magazine Sciences Humaines, on decision-making processes has sold 30 000 copies in one month !).

In other subjects, however, it is not a new issue. Geographers, for example, have been coping with issues relating to scales of observation since the beginning of their discipline. It is quite the same for economists. They can mainly deal with two levels of scales, the micro-individual and the macro-social, but they cannot deal with the scale derived from the perspective of interactionism. The main question is whether there is a bridge among these scales. Some French economists, such as Philippe Hugon, argue that no bridge exists. It is typical for chemists, physicists, or biologists to consider such a dimension of observation. For philosophy, it is not an issue, with a few exceptions, such as Basil Davidson (1957) on trade-off, or Philosopher John Elster (1992), for example, wrote a book with the French sociologist Nicolas Herpin on the decision-making processes of physicians in daily life. They have shown the discrepancy between the social norms at the central level of the French Administration and the constraints of their local choices. The same case can be made with psychoanalysis; even if they have some boundary issues with biology, their difference boils down to a ‘scale issue’ between the psyche and cells and neurons.

French sociology has three main ways of dealing with the issue. The first perspective, represented by Pierre Bourdieu (1994) and by Raymond Boudon, is that the ‘scale issue’ is a non-issue.

The second perspective, which is more frequently expressed, is acknowledging that there are scales and suggesting that they are in a complementary relationship. However, this is another way of eliminating the ‘scale issue’ and avoiding acknowledging the legitimacy of the observation level. They confuse reality, which is aggregated, and continuity and ignore the fact that we can’t observe all reality at once. (14)

The third perspective, which is most valuable, is based on the awareness that it is impossible to observe all scales simultaneously. There are no bridges that allow for equivalent descriptions among the scales. However, this is not to say that there are no bridges at all. Building an ‘interpreting link’ between scales is possible. It is our sociological job. In short, reality is a whole, but observation of reality as a whole is impossible. Reality is observed at one scale at one moment, and we go inside it to understand imagery, strategy, identity, practice, or any dimension we want to understand. It is possible to interpret reality using our pattern of interpretation, parts of other intellectual ways, or data from different scales. In other words, if you are a psychologist, you are focused on individuals and the social dimension is seen as a context. You can use the context to interpret individual behavior. If you are a macro-sociologist, you work on numbers and statistics. You can’t see any individuals or subjects, but you can use some patterns of interpretation, such as the cognitive psychological approach, to explain consuming behavior. This is often done in economics or marketing and in Bourdieu’s social, cultural, and economic capital theory (1979). It is impossible, however, to simultaneously observe an individual, a social class, and a social interaction.

Scale content (15)

I will distinguish three scales of observation; the number three has been chosen somewhat arbitrarily.

The first scale of observation is the macro-social, which includes culture, generations, genders, or social classes. It is researched as statistical regularities or structural patterns. The social actor is viewed as part of an abstract group. It is the quantitative level, par excellence, (16) though visual sociologists have often argued that images may describe this scale metaphorically.

The second observation scale is the micro-social, where actors are regarded as interactions. It is the level of social mechanisms, a qualitative and visualizable level in which comparison is a preoccupation and frame of reference. Actors are concrete, though not individual.

The third scale of observation is the micro-individual, where actors are viewed as individuals. The observation is focused on cognition and psyche. It is the level of mind and the self. If necessary, a biological scale can be added below this: the level of cells and neurons. Freedom and its considerations are easier to observe at the micro levels. Constraints, regularities, and determinisms are more visible at the macro and the biological level. That is why sociologists who are used to working at a micro-scale are more often less deterministic and more focused on real-life than those who work at the macro or the biological level, who tend to be more holistic. One part of our understanding pattern depends on the choice of our observation scale. ‘Scales of action’ are mainly relevant at a micro-scale of observation. Often there is confusion between the word ‘macro’ and the word ‘central’: A politician or a decision maker can decide something at a ‘central’ level, the top of an organization or the capital of a country, but be observed at a micro level as an actor in interaction with others who have something at stake. Furthermore, a decision maker can use information from statistics, that is, from a macro level, and his decision can affect a ‘local’ level, its ‘scale of reception,’ which can be observed at a microsocial level! (17)

The itinerary method (18)

At a micro-social observation scale, we operate with what we call the « itinerary » method. Our scale is the daily life practices and decision-making processes in organizations. I have used in-depth interviews and observations for many years, but photos only for a few years (19). We have observed many topics in France and abroad, such as parental decision-making regarding therapy for children with diarrhea in the third world (D. Desjeux, i. Favre, J. Simongiovani, M. H. Caillol, S. Taponier, 1993); institutional processing of the diffusion of a software program in a big French organization (D. Desjeux , S. Taponier, S. Alami, 1995); questions regarding how families cope with electricity and electric devices in daily life (D. Desjeux, C. Berthier, S. Jarrafoux, I. Orhant, S. Taponier, 1996), and youth food behavior in France.

Our food behavior study started one year ago and is managed by Isabelle Garabuau. The itinerary method consists in choosing an object, in this case, food, and following the thing from the grocery store to home and its final place of recycling or disposal. Consuming, which means getting and using goods and commodities, is a step-by-step itinerary. There is an in-home decision; a trip to shop; shopping; storing food at home; cooking; eating (habits and table manners); and waste disposal or recycling. For each step, we look at the objects used for doing something; we look at the space where it is done; we consider the individuals involved and the decision-making process along such an itinerary.

The itinerary method means there is a description step before interpreting the data. But it also means the choice of a scale depends on the intellectual framework which organizes our understanding patterns (see diagram 1). So it is possible to observe the practices, interactions, and decision-making sequentially, even if it is impossible to describe them simultaneously.

Several scholars have studied these frameworks for many years. They are called world vision, weltanschauung, aesthetic style (Meyer Shapiro), cultural patterns, habitus (P. Bourdieu, 1979) or ideology (Marx) at the macro-sociological scale; representation, pictures or mental framework (E. Goffman) at the micro-sociological scale; and cognition (A.R. Damasio , M.P. Palmarini , R. Boudon ), a priori framework of knowing (E. Kant), formal logic or psyche (A. Green ) at the micro-individual scale. It is also possible to build an itinerary of knowledge. The first step is the recognition of the social and cognitive conditions involved in producing knowledge (the schools of thinking, theories, and concepts). This step, in part, organizes the choice of scale. The second step is producing knowledge through interaction among researchers, describing phenomena at one major scale. Finally, there is the reception of knowledge by an intellectual community or a broader audience. In making this argument, we stress that there is no mechanical link between the truth of a fact, its efficiency, and its acceptance or reception. A « fact » could be established and only have scant recognition, and another « fact » could be less established scientifically but gain recognition in the popular press.

Epistemology and scales

Issues regarding micro-social scales are made of two sets of words: scale and perspective, itinerary and step.

Scales don’t exist in reality; they are only a figure of speech about the observation constraints. One doesn’t see scales, but we observe across scales (see photos). Scales could be understood using the metaphor of the point of focus of a camera lens: there is one specific place where the picture is sharp. Changing the point of focus makes different elements clear and blurred.

The other metaphor is the road map on a geographic scale. If one observes at the macro-social level, highways are the only visible element; changing scale makes houses come into view. Observing two scales simultaneously is as impossible as choosing two focus points simultaneously. One has to change the scale before observing another, which is why a comprehensive understanding of all scales simultaneously is impossible. Neither does itinerary exist in the literal sense of the word. It is a convention to describe practices and decision-making processes. But it is also a way of understanding epistemological methods of knowledge construction as a three-step itinerary, as seen above. The first step in constructing knowledge could be divided into three ways of understanding reality. The first is common knowledge, based mainly on opinions and standard explanations. The second, aesthetic knowledge, is primarily based on emotions, and the third, scientific knowledge, is derived from descriptions and interpretation (see diagram 3). These three kinds of knowledge are continuity because a researcher is also an ordinary person with judgments, explanations, generalizations, emotions, and aesthetic feelings, even when he or she is at work. However, the three forms of knowledge conflict because scientific knowledge results from an apprenticeship, which creates a separation from common knowledge. But the main difference among these forms of knowledge is their methods of gathering data and managing proofs.

The second step is the social construction of social facts. There are two leading field practices. Surveys focus on numerical representations and recorded data. Qualitative field studies use face-to-face interviews and observations. These practices are quite different, but we need to take these differences more into account in our debates.

The third step is the reception issue, where we have seen that there are no mechanical links between truth, efficiency, and acceptance of a study. Observing the social production of social facts as an itinerary, from mental schemes to reception, has allowed us to build the beginning of an epistemology of sociologists’ practices. These practices have been overshadowed for many years, producing many misunderstandings in the sociological debate.


At the end of my current itinerary, this debate seeks a better way of understanding our intellectual differences while not seeking to make these differences vanish.

Focusing on the visual issue of practicing photography has been helping me in seeing more acutely the ‘scale issue.’ I think it isn’t easy to photograph the cognition scale. Social interactions offer the best application of visual sociology, particularly in the material culture field of anthropology and ethnography, though other applications are being developed.

To come to an end, I am criticizing comprehensive theories which claim to explain the world from one point of view as if there were no issue with the scale of observation as if sociologists were God! But as in the story of Garrison Keiler, we are not God; we are more likely, as Dyonyssus in his mid-life crisis, half a God. It is not too bad (20)!

 P.S. Thank you to Doug Harper for his help in making my ideas clearer and better my English!

Endnotes 11 28 96

1 With the participation of Sophie Taponier, Researcher at The Sorbonne Laboratory of Ethnology, editor at l’Harmattan Publishing, and Head of Argonautes ; Sophie Alami and Isabelle Garabuau, Researchers at The Sorbonne Laboratory of Ethnology and at Argonautes (Argonautes, 94 boulevard barbès, 75018 Paris, France; phone number: 33 1 42 62 01 50, fax: 33 1 42 62 10 02, e-mail: argonaut@dialup.francenet.fr ). In this text « I » means Dominique Desjeux, « we » means Argonautes, and sometimes sociologists in general. This paper is an adaptation of a my French paper: « Tiens bon le concept, j’enlève l’échelle… d’observation. », Besançon, UTINAM Journal n°20, dec. 1996. 

2 « Field » is used in a broader meaning than in Ethnology, for which it mainly means a direct observation of a concrete community. It means using data outside their personal feeling.

3 This increase in field studies is linked in France to the growing amount of students in Social Science Departments who have to get jobs outside University, so they have to master a professional skill which is the ability to carry out a study. At the same time the amount of researchers is increasing too, so what it is more difficult to create a new theory « every morning » or for each researchers, so they have to search how to be distinguished by their intellectual community so they study in a more specialized and more empirical way. Finally the increasing amount of public or private researchers have led to explore all kinds of scale of observation, that is why we are now able to compare the observation effect of scales. Last but not least, the increasing amount of qualitative studies is produced by the need for more money: it is less expansive to carry out a qualitative study.

4 Qualitative approaches have more verbally legitimacy than 20 years ago, but I am not sure it is taken into account in practices which means in careers or in financial budget what is a big deal !

5 Even if I am not sure of the equivalent of all this words among French, English and Italian languages.

6 In our experience precision is the result of a balance among time, issue and finance at one given scale. It is also a practice when gathering data which signifies matching data gathering methods and data gathering itself.

7 Even if P. Bourdieu doesn’t agree with this claim !

8 An interesting example of what is most often done, even by good sociologists, is given by an Howard Becker review of Inside Culture by David Halle in which he criticizes Bourdieu’s theory of « culture capital » which is typically 

a theory at a macrosocial scale of observation, in using the data from David Halle qualitative study, and of course he doesn’t find the same results than Bourdieu, so Becker deducts that Bourdieu’s Theory « fail to make sense of what Halle has found out about the art people have in their home » (p. 882). But the gap is normal with a scale of observation point of view. Social class is a macrosocial concept, not a microsocial one. The weakness of Bourdieu is not in his data, but in believing in his data are not based on a macroscale find out, so they would be relevant at all scales of observation. That’s on this issue the Becker’s critics would have been relevant: Bourdieu’s data doesn’t work at a microsocial scale of observation, but he is not « allowed » to say it doesn’t work at all levels (Contemporary Sociology, December, volume 23 n°6, 1994; this Journal is the most interesting one for a foreigner to understand the evolution of American Sociology: free ad !)

9 As usual, this debates were relevant at the time they were created. Nowadays they seem less relevant because the social conditions in producing social sciences facts have changed. Claim a point is not relevant doesn’t mean it wasn’t in the old days, or not so old days !

10 For instance scale thinking is a strong boundary against Sociobiological approaches (cf. The Bell Curve debate in Contemporary Sociology, March 1995, Volume 24 n° 2). It is evident Human Being are made of biological cells which organize somewhere human behaviors, and biology is a « micro microscale » scale of observation. But it is impossible to observe the chain of causality between a cell and the social interaction of the microsocial scale or the social or cultural pattern of the macrosocial one: what are the cells which organize the strategies to control uncertainty in an organization (cf. Michel Crozier, 1964, The Bureaucratic Phenomenon, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 320 p.). The phenomena change from one scale to another.

11 Most of the names I am going to quote are in diagram n°1, as exemples of scale position.

12 A very interesting book edited by Jacques Revel on Microhistory has been published in France in 1996 with the collaboration of a new generation of Anthropologists such as Alban Bensa and Marc Abéles (Jeux d’échelles (word to word it means « scale games », it is a pun on changing scales meaning). They point out the same difficulty we have in Sociology with the Durkheim comprehensive approach which assumes integrating all scales, and the M. Bloch, L. Fèvre F. Braudel Annals school of History which gets the same postulate. Then Jacques Revel explains Microhistory is more an empirical incremental project as in Sociology than an a priori coherent one.

13 The decision making topic is very closed to the social production of science topic of whom the best French Sociologist is Bruno Latour who wrote with Steve Woolgar in 1979: Laboratory Life. The Construction of Scientific Facts, Sage Publications (1986, Princeton University Press)

14 So what there is no discrepancy with my first claim which was on the inability to oppose data from one scale to another scale, because these data are selected from a scale to be interpreted at another scale.

15 See diagram 1

16 « Affectivity » and « real-Life » are typically two dimensions impossible to observe at a macro level, even if it is possible to try to measure them.

17 These three scales of observation, of action and of reception are as difficult to explain in French as in English

18 See diagram 2

19 I have been working with Douglas Harper the chief editor of Visual Sociology Journal for 3 years. He is the author of Good Company, a classic of Visual Sociology, and professor of Sociology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. We have been organizing an international comparative study on Youth food behaviors for one year based on depth interviews, observations and photographs, in Istanbul (Turkey) Paris (France), Nijmegen (Holland), Pittsburgh (USA), carried out by students and Young researchers during 1996 summer time. We are going to organize a following study with Patricia Faccioli in Bologna, and may be in London or Dublin, in 1997.

20 Garrison Keillor is a well known story teller in the States of whom I am fond of because of his humor.



11 26 1996 Bibliography

Abeles Marc, 1990, Anthroplogie de l’Etat, Paris, Armand Colin

Boudon Raymond, 1984, La Place du désordre, Paris, Presse Universitaire de France

Boudon Raymond, 1990, L’art de se persuader des idées douteuses, fragiles ou fausses, Paris, Fayard

Bourdieu Pierre, 1979, La Distinction. Critique Sociale du Jugement, Paris, Minuit

Bourdieu Pierre, 1994, Raisons Pratiques. Sur la Théorie de l’action, Paris, Seuil

Crozier Michel, 1964, The Bureaucratic Phenomenon, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, (1st printed in French in 1963)

Damasio Antonio R., 1994, Descartes’s Error. Emotion, Reason and the Human brain, A. Grosset/Putmam Book (Odile Jacob, 1995 in French)

Davidson Donald, P. Suppes and S. Siegel, 1957, Decision Making, An Experimental approach, Stanford University Press (reprinted University of Chicago Press, 1977), quoted by Pascal Engel, 1993, Actions et événements, Paris, PUF, p. XI

Desjeux Dominique, Berthier Cécile, Jarrafoux Sophie, Orhant Isabelle, Taponier Sophie, 1996, Anthropologie de l’électricité. Les objets électriques au quotidien, Paris, L’Harmattan, 220 p.

Desjeux Dominique, Taponier Sophie, AlamiSophie, 1995, « L’itinéraire d’une évaluation par des chercheurs en sciences sociales », Les Cahiers du Management, Paris, METT, octobre, n° 14, pp 21-28

Desjeux Dominique, Favre Isabelle, Simongiovani Joëlle, Marie Hélène Caillol, Sophie Taponier, 1993, Anthropologie d’une maladie ordinaire. Étude de la diarrhée de l’enfant en Algérie, Thaïlande, Chine et Égypte, Paris, L’Harmattan, 256 p.

Durkheim Emile, 1897, Le Suicide. Etude de sociologie, Paris, Presse Universitaire de France, 1960

Elster John, Herpin Nicolas, 1992, Éthique et choix médicaux, Paris, Actes Sud

GreenAndré, 1995, La causalité psychique. Entre nature et culture, Paris, Odile Jacob

Hersfeld Michael, 1993, The Social Production of Indifférence. Exploring the Symbolic Roots of Western Bureaucracy, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press

Merton Robert K., 1973, The Sociology of Science, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press

Palmarini Massimo Piatteli, 1993, L’Illusione di sapere, Milan, Mondadori Editore (Odile Jacob, 1995 in French)

Schapiro Meyer, 1982, Style, Artiste et Société, Paris, Gallimard


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