The sociology of prudential activities: from collective commitment to social innovations

  • Florent Champy National Centre for Scientific Research, Toulouse, France


Former research has drawn attention to the specificities of “prudential activities”, for which irreducible uncertainties require special attention to the concrete cases professionals handle and availability for special deliberations on sensitive cases. Based on empirical research on architects and doctors, this article aims at making it clear what prudential activities are and at presenting three interrelated research programs: on collective commitments of professionals as a consequence of practical wisdom, on increasing barriers to practical wisdom, and on social innovations aiming at overcoming these barriers. New light is being shed on well-known evolutions of work contexts: namely bureaucracy, and demand for objectivity and performance.