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A SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACHTO CERTIFICATIONS: THE CASEOF SBC’S SEAL OF APPROVAL

Marília Luz David

Julia S. Guivant


This article analyses certification processes drawing upon the dialogue between the social studies of science and the economic sociology. Certifications are evaluations that attribute value to the social world and result in the intersection of science and politics in the market. We argue that certifications can be studied from what we call politics of evaluation, which are defined in accordance to questions about who participates in them and what competences are mobilized in doing so; what and how are the tests and standards applied; and how contingencies are negotiated. As a case study, we take the seal of approval granted to food products by the Brazilian Cardiological Association (SBC). Our fieldwork comprises interviews, the analysis of the material about this seal produced by SBC and the Brazilian food legislation. We conclude that the study of certifications and its politics of evaluation allow us to understand what practices and values are privileged in the market and therefore how this central part of the social order is formed.



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