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Introduction. Ce que les écrits font au travail

Abstract : As is known, large numbers of writings circulate within every kind of professional environment. As a result, there is extensive research on the formats, uses and roles of writings in work. However, the approach taken here is not to describe what is done with writings in work. The central hypothesis rests on a performative vision of writings, one that gives them the power to act, agency. It can be summed up as follows: what do writings “do” to work? Studying work through its writings is a way to connect two dimensions that are too often kept separate: situated activities on the one hand, organizational functions on the other. Indeed, writings are material and robust — though not always lasting — traces of concrete activities, and they provide a handhold for the rigorous analysis of work as close as possible to its conditions of realization. However, writings travel and circulate. They form links between workers, groups, workshops, services, firms, without which production could not take place. They stretch work beyond its source. To track them is therefore to shift the field of enquiry to moments other than the present of the observed situation, and also to other nearby, surrounding workspaces. This brings out the procedural and interactive dimensions of organizations, their integrating capacity. Exploring what writings do to work is therefore not only to place oneself at an intermediate level between situated action and organized action. For the sociologist, it is a way of connecting these two perspectives “on paper”, by embedding the analysis of the actual work in spatially and temporally broader collective actions, and by documenting organizational analysis on the basis of observed work situations. It is a way of contributing to a more extensive ecology of activity, more clearly anchored within its organizational envelope.
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Gwenaële Rot, Anni Borzeix, Didier Demazière. Introduction. Ce que les écrits font au travail. Sociologie du Travail, Association pour le développement de la sociologie du travail, 2014, 56 (1), pp.4 - 15. ⟨10.1016/j.soctra.2013.12.022⟩. ⟨hal-01522784⟩



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