Quentin Dufour defended a PhD thesis in sociology on the making of the French GDP, the main representation of the national economy, in November 2019. At the crossroads of the sociology of quantification, the sociology of activity, and Science Studies, the thesis questions the role of quantification in the production and stabilization of a representation of the French economy. Based on a nine-month ethnographic survey within the National Accounts Department of INSEE, it shows that, far from being the result of an automatic calculation, our knowledge of the economy is based on a complex organization, and involves an interpretative work called “arbitrage” during which figures are questioned, evaluated, and sometimes modified. The representation of the economy derives its overall coherence, in time and space, from this work of arbitration.
Since February 2020, Quentin Dufour holds a postdoctoral position at the CSI and is part of the research project “Socio-Economy of Scientific Publication”, which focuses on the transformation of scientific journal publication models in the era of open access. He is particularly interested in how major historical publishers and users of scientific publishing (such as university libraries) are negotiating the transition from a traditional publishing model (where access to journals requires a subscription) to different open access models (where tariff barriers to access the journal are removed). The survey is based on the exploration and analysis of public documents, including recent “big deals” signed in different European countries between publishers operating on the scientific publishing market and national institutions in charge of negotiating access to journals.