The Emperor’s New Clothes

On May 22, 2014, professor at EHESS Laurent Thévenot gave the talk THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES: the new power vested in individuals on the grounds of a certified world.

Abstract: Along the historical metamorphoses of authorities and powers claiming legitimacy, the most recent step led to a significant move. It shifted from a kind of government concentrated in sovereigns, rulers and representatives, to a different kind of “empire” of individuals. This power distributed on the “investiture” of individuals is actually based on a new kind of global – and largely non-state – mode of governing through certification standards.

Questions: What kind of sociology is needed to grasp this change which affects both political communities and personalities? Which new oppressions result from this government? How can an embarrassed critique find new expressions?