2007 - Volume 48 > Numéro 2

ISSN 0035-2969

The construction of collective actors : François Sellier revisited
Jean-Daniel REYNAUD


On the basis of a volume that collects both texts by François Sellier himself and studies of his work by some of his collaborators at LEST (Laboratoire d’Économie et de Sociologie du Travail), this article seeks to define the originality and seminal value of Sellier’s interdisciplinary approach. This approach, operative as well in his work on wage formation, particularly the comparison of wages in France and Germany, as in his discussion of John Dunlop’s conception of the industrial relations system, or in his study of health policy, may be stated as follows : social action should be explained not as resulting from decisions made by abstract economic agents endowed with universal rationality, but as resulting from decisions made by concrete collective actors with their historically constructed identities and abilities. Whether we consider the building of industrial organization, the elaboration of skills and classifications, or the development of industrial relations systems, social actors define themselves by defining the rules each uses in its own collective action and the rules they use in the conflict and negotiation between them (what the author calls « confrontation sociale »).



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