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L’objectivation comptable de l’économie nationale : Enquête sur la fabrique du PIB et des comptes nationaux français.

Abstract : National accounts, including the GDP indicator, are the most shared and legitimate representation of the national economy. Made in France within a ministerial entity – INSEE’s Department of National Accounts – they convey a conception of the economy as an evolutionary (we call "growth" the variations of the economy over time) and global (all French production expressed in currency) object. Once made public, they are marked by a form of accounting objectivity: for the majority of its users, and despite many criticisms, the accounting representation of the economy is seen as a solid and indisputable object, a reference knowledge on macroeconomic reality. Based on a nine-month ethnographic survey within the National Accounts Department, the thesis analyses the fabric of this accounting objectivity of the economy. At the crossroads of the sociology of quantification, the sociology of science, and the sociology of activity, it questions the way in which the national accounts department produces and stabilizes a shared and reference knowledge on the national economy. The thesis describes the department as an organization structured around a distributed work of articulation of accounting categories and data (that mainly come from the French statistical system). Far from being a mechanical filling of accounting tables, the accounting activity involves a real intervention on the data, to match them to the accounting framework: identification, collection, formatting, totalization, arbitration, stabilization, narration, iterations, are operations that contribute to the consistency of a representation of the economy. The thesis shows that the global and evolutionary nature of the economy is not obvious, but must be produced on a day-to-day basis. Its existence in the form of a global system of relationships, as well as its ability to vary over time, is the result of accounting activity. The national economy, as we know it through the national accounts, thus constitutes a possible and relatively singular way of objectifying the economy.
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Quentin Dufour. L’objectivation comptable de l’économie nationale : Enquête sur la fabrique du PIB et des comptes nationaux français.. Sociologie. Université Paris sciences et lettres, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019PSLED018⟩. ⟨tel-03222360⟩

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