Papers for the Doctoral Day. Summaries/4

Fourth Session --- 16:45-18:15

4 parallel workshops

Workshop 1-4: The public participation in the construction of territories

Discussants: Ilaria Casillo (ISH-CNRS, Lyon) and Marion Paoletti (Centre Émile Durkheim, Univ. Bordeaux IV)


One data fundamental gain to be taken into account in the researches on the participative democracy: the territorial complexity. All the participative devices appear from a particular territorial situation. Today, it is a question of analyzing the effects of the participation on the "factory of territories": what are the effects of the participative configurations in the elaboration of the political territories? We shall take two examples, corresponding to two different scales of analysis, the one in a municipality, the other one in a inter-municipality which integrates the first one into its territory situated in the Paris suburbs. Both territories offer a privileged frame of analysis to study the effects of participatory considered as a whole, not individually.


Why should we care about territory and scale in the study of public participation? In this communication, I argue that there is much more in the study of territory than a look at the local contexts or the inquiry on the construction of collective territorial identity through public debate. Going further on the tensions and potentialities of spatialities, territory and scale are rather considered as constraints, but also tools and strategies, within the debate: on the types of participants recognized, on the content of propositions, on the force and acceptability of a discourse, and on its reach. I propose three distinct ways in which territory is used in public debate: through the definition of the terrain under study, the institutional territory and the pertinent scale. These distinctions are presented through the Montreal public debate around the Turcot interchange. This transport infrastructure underwent different phases of debate from 2007 to 2011, including the public hearings from the Bureau des audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) in 2009. The evolution of the debate reveals how important the definition of the terrain, the institutional territory and the pertinent scale are in the trajectories of the actors and their arguments.


Introduced in Turkey as "the main instrument in promoting good local governance and local democracy", Local Agenda 21s (LA21) have been implemented by voluntary Turkish municipalities since 1997 without direct support from the central government. New legislation passed as part of the 2005 local government reform has legalized and reorganized the LA21 and replaced it with the "City Council" (CC). This participatory device originally experimented by some LA21s to gather local governments, organizations and citizens to discuss the main problems of the city, was redefined and made compulsory.
I present the implementation and the transformation of LA21 in Turkey, with a focus on the dissimilar implications of its institutional reshaping, which turned a voluntary and experimental participatory process into a regulated compulsory procedure. In some cases, this top-down design reduces the "participatory enthusiasm" and causes a disengagement of local actors.  In other cases, legal framework and recognition strengthen and legitimize the participatory device by clarifying its goals, competencies and means.


Workshop 2-4: The activity of the participants

Discussants: Marion Carrel (CeRIES, Université Lille III) and Martine Revel (CERAPS, Université Lille II)


Since 1968 in France, students get organised in assemblées générales (general meetings) during their mobilisations. The communication will aim at mapping the normative approaches about democracy which participants - either supporters or opponents of this form of organisation - refer to. It will rely on an ethnographic investigation about general meetings in several universities in Paris during the last four student movements. Then, it will intend to capture the way "ordinary" actors position themselves in what regards matters of participation, deliberation and democracy about general meetings, by drawing them from their practices, their discourses and the conflicts they have about the way the organise them. On the one hand, all the students who attend general meetings do not consider them as an instance of democratic legitimacy. On the other hand, the students who, on the contrary, support general meetings, may carry out practices and mobilise values which are in competition in what regards conceptions of participation and deliberation, and which come from different political traditions.

Laëtitia OVERNEY

By focusing on an inhabitants' collective (Le Groupe de Travail Interquartiers-GTI) in a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Lyon's suburb called « La Duchère » and by employing a pragmatist perspective, the paper offers a sociological analysis of the inhabitants' experiencing vigilance and of the practical conditions of emergence and exercise of public critic. Inhabitants follow what's going on in the neighbourhood, their alarms alert authorities deemed able to settle the problems. This paper focuses on the specific relationship to the world that can spread through this type of locality engagement. It analyses two characteristics of the public composed in this collective GTI: sensitivity and plasticity.


This paper considers how the public dimension impacts the minipublic's activity. A consensus conference looks like a "strong" deliberation process, but can't be considered as a collective deliberation. According to the classical model of deliberative action, it's a public deliberative process. We will see how this social and political activity is more a process of sociability and social investigation, than an exchange of arguments for making a citizens' advice; how the publicity impacts the way of thinking and investigating, the implication of the participants and the advice's content; how the writing of this advice is a crucial issue for the activity. Second, we will see how the public times of interaction are real events but also experiments of democracy, a way of working anew the legitimacy and interaction forms. Third, we will see the underlying reification of the deliberation behind the process. The participatory promise is finally a struggle's issue for the participants. They try to increase the probability of output's impact ("portée"), by claiming citizenship, citizen control and by carefully considering public actions.


Workshop 3-4: Knowledge and public participation

Discussants: Francis Chateauraynaud (GSPR, EHESS Paris) and Mario Gauthier (Univ. du Québec en Outaouais)


Climate change impacts on water or on water management is a major concern of nowadays research programmes. An important part of the funding for research is now dedicated to research projects. The European Union (EU), the French National Research Agency (ANR) or the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) fund a lot of projects dealing with climate change and water. These projects include participation workshops to which stakeholders are invited. Participation is organised by the researchers involved in these projects. Participation is both institutionalised and top down. Stakeholders participate to the production of knowledge about climate change and water within the theoretical and scientific framework of the projects. The major objective of this paper is to study the co-construction of knowledge about climate and water on one hand and of the terms of participation on the other hand.

Pauline LANDEL

This paper deals with the role of participatory devices in using scientific evidence for public action facing technological innovations. The work presented here is based upon an analysis of the literature and a case study on the development of no-tillage techniques in agriculture.  It highlights the different doctrines on the role of participation in the regime of knowledge, and shows how arguments of "democracy" and "efficiency" are used alternatively in these doctrines. Field observations lead to conclusions on the transformation of the role of the State in the regime of knowledge when facing new controversies, and on the actors' ambiguous expectations as to the role of participatory devices when dealing with scientific and technological issues. These observations also demonstrate the importance of taking into account the problem of the use of evidence to analyse those devices, as a complement to analysis focused on the actors.  From a methodological point of view they  show the interest of analyzing different types of knowledge used in participatory processes and of taking into consideration their relative validity for action and decision (level of evidence, relevance), in order to unveil the powers and inequalities at stake in the development of a new technology.


Workshop 4-4: Assessing the effects of public participation

Discussants: Michel Gariépy (Université de Montréal) and Alice Mazeaud (CEJEP, Université de La Rochelle)


SEED, Université de Liège / LERNA, Toulouse School of Economics
Quantify participation processes, is it worth the effort?

The researchers in social sciences resort to few precise and reliable orders of magnitude concerning the internal variables of the participative processes they study. To answer to this fact, this article delivers the quantified levels of several major variables of three cases of participative planning in local waste management sector.
Beyond, if these quantitative results can be presented in only one page, it requires hundreds of pages of accounting of filtered information to obtain them. Do we really need to achieve such an investment? This article clarifies an original but demanding quantification method of the internal variables of participative processes, and underlines some of the possibilities offered by the quantification. These elements can feed the debate on the interest of participative process quantification.


My research deals with the « concertation » process organized by Paris City Hall for the reconstruction project of the district « Les Halles » between 2003 and 2010. By assessing this project through the angle of the « participative » experiment, I analyzed the consequences of the process of the citizens « implication » in an urban planning project. This paper lays out elements of method and some results, extracted from my research on this topic. It is organized in three parts: first, I explain the way I perceived the influence of the participative process on the content of the urban project (« products » analysis). Second, I examine the consequences of the « concertation » experiment on the actors involved and their activities, especially in terms of urban conception (« impacts » analysis). To conclude, I address the limits that hinder the reach of the participative process, which lead me to consider the difficulties implied by the possible evolutions of participation practices in urban planning.


The evaluation of the effects of consultation now probably asks more questions that it brings. One of the recurring questions is that criteria for evaluating participatory processes. From the study of two cases of urban development, the extension of zones 30 and the development of zones meeting in Strasbourg, the communication will test two new criteria from the paradigm of social transaction: the areas of common interests and compromises provisional. To do so, the analysis of "outbreaks of the unexpected" in the steps of consultation will highlight the importance of research tentative compromise through identifying areas of common interest.

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