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Vol 3 - Issue 4

Technology and Innovation

List of Articles

Technosciences and citizen innovations

The last half century has seen considerable development of institutional interfaces participating in the "great standardization" of science and innovation systems. The limitations of this model appeared for many economic, political or cultural reasons. Strong developments appear within the context of a deliberative democracy that impacts scientific and technical institutions and production, and therefore the nature and the policies of innovation. The question about this part of a “technical democracy” is whether there will be a long-term movement. We dedicate this issue to citizen
participatory innovations, more or less related to technical and scientific questions. It highlights various scales and focal points of "social and citizen innovation", domains based on examples of ongoing transformations.

Technical democracy through the lens of social sciences

This article focuses on the one hand, on the insurmountable existing difference between a democratic ideal which emphasizes citizen empowerment (in the contemporary deliberative and participatory approaches) and on the other hand, upon the existence of dramatic bias and constraints (cognitive and sociological mainly, but also political, institutional norms, etc.). It uses social sciences, psychology and notably organizational theory to grasp the understanding of problem, and possibly give some ways to encompass the huge contradictions.

Thinking about the co-production of knowledge outside “hybrid forums”: the controversy surrounding mine waste inventory. The case of the former uranium mine in Pen Ar Ran (Piriac-sur-Mer, Loire-Atlantique)

In this article, we take an interest in a former uranium mine’s environmental monitoring. The particular case of the Pen Ar Ran mine (Loire-Atlantique) shows that even if any instance for dialogue with populations has been created, a group of organized citizens has contributed to the decontamination of some areas which have been impacted by radioactivity. We analyze the course pursued by this cause and the method used by citizens in knowledge production on radioactivity.

Territorial Innovation and Social Innovation in regard to a participatory approach.

Both city design and territorial planning seem to be subjected to the imperative of innovation. Territorial innovation becomes a technique which pursues the classic way of "planning". For more than twenty years, under the influence of intellectuals, this way of planning has also had to deal with social questions. In this paper, we explore, through a historic approach, the overlap of social and territorial innovation in regard to participatory approaches and the agencies which could implement them.

Beyond the collection of data in citizen science projects. Opening the field of data analysis and interpretation to citizens.

Over the last decade, citizen science has experienced an unprecedented expansion into a large number of disciplines, due to increased public participation, the development of a variety of digital applications, and the creation of new and innovative interactions between science and society. In the fields of biodiversity and the environment, the role of citizens is often limited to data collection. The objective of this study was to investigate existing programs employing recent innovations that involve members of the public in the analysis, interpretation and formulation of new questions using collected data in order to draw lessons for the future. In the analysis, 30 case studies were examined to determine the different types of civic involvement, the factors that contributed to this involvement, and the types of tools used. This resulted in a typology of citizen science projects categorized by their ability to involve participants in data analysis and interpretation. The study concludes with different options for coordinators and project managers of citizen science programs.

Citizen research and innovation by Participatory Action Research

Scientific research is requested for investigating hard societal challenges brought by our contemporary societies. A transversal approach is required by the development of interdisciplinary research, especially at the interface between experimental, social and human sciences. However this approach remains insufficient and minimizes citizens’ concern about these challenges. We show in this paper that Participatory Action Research allows us to develop original research methods if it can work in hybrid stable forums. These spaces allow us to meet and to work with stakeholders of a research project (researchers, non-profit organization members, practitioners, etc.) in the medium or long term. Such a forum was created in 2013 as a formal research group of the CNRS named Participatory Action Research and Citizen Sciences (GDR CNRS PARCS). This forum is like a research laboratory without walls. We describe our experiences led in this laboratory, the impact on the members due to the development of training and the positive conclusions that we can obtain for the development of such approaches.

Controversies and mastering information: analysis and methodological proposals

This article focuses on the role of information literacy in the analysis and mediation of controversy,
considered as an innovative social measure. It is based on an original methodology for analyzing controversies related to the current complex information context. This article develops our original methodology, synthesizes the main preliminary results of its experiment with a student audience since 2014 and proposes perspectives for further development of this methodology.

Fablab in engineering schools: what training for which transformation of an engineer’s job?

This article aims to study the contribution of the "fablab" spirit in the transformation of an engineer’s job and in particular that of engineering general practitioner. By opening dynamics of co construction and communication between heterogeneous actors (scientists, engineers, citizens, workers), associating "do-it-yourself" [SEN 08] and "retroengineering" [BEN 12], these environments seem to be able to renew the steps of conception, and even the engineer’s work and culture. Within the framework of the current “innovation” paradigm, understood as a call "decompartmentalize", and break down the "barriers" (educational, disciplinary, territorial and managerial - between the educational spaces, research, industry, and the civil society), this example is viewed as emblematic of the challenges and difficulties faced by the kind of initiatives that can be raised, while being sometimes very concrete, whilst also remaining widely performative.

An innovative device using participatory decision-making to inform public policy on air quality

This article presents the initial results of a study on an original participatory action research approach focusing on the articulation and the participative fabric of public policies on outdoor air quality in Montpellier, France. The approach, called Artivistes-atelier, is described, providing a dynamic map of the stakeholders involved and/or impacted and their capacity for action. The article examines this field experiment that is simultaneously reflective and analytical. These initial results allowed to interrogate through the Artivistes-atelier initiative prism the strengths and potentialities of citizen mobilization and the socioenvironlental issues democratization which is ensnared in the institutional governance. For this purpose, the article describes more widely the experimental territory with a pragmatic, reflexive and critical experience. This article is a real opportunity to build a first comparative device to be reproduce in an ADEME project in R&D, entitled Air Climate Society and Art. This project has two main aims: to decompartmentalize socio-environmental issues and to support the implementation of public policy on outdoor air quality. The results and identified limits of the Artivistes atelier device allow to examine the potentialities of the implementation of the public policies on air by all the stakeholders, starting with the citizen, whose participation in politics is an elusive phenomenon.