Papers for the Doctoral Day. Summaries/2

Second Session --- 12h00-14h00

3 parallel workshops

Workshop 1-2: Building the issues of the urban renovation

Discussants: Catherine Neveu (IIAC-CNRS, EHESS Paris) and Tommaso Vitale (CEE-Sciences Po)


The city is made of built spaces, green spaces, watercourses and wastelands that we will refer to as urban neglected spaces. These spaces were once marginalized.  Today, they are considered as a possible support of civic participation producing urban territories. One third of the community gardens created in Paris at the end of the 1990's were established in neglected spaces, which allowed a rise in value of these hollowed-out spaces. They are managed by the inhabitants gathered in associations supervised by the Programme Main Verte (Green Fingers Program) initiated by the City Hall. To what extent does the gardening of those neglected spaces by the citizens allow the creation of new co-produced urban territories? Can the investment of the inhabitants in those spaces be understood as an involvement in the political life of the neighbourhood and the City? This study, which started in 2009 is based on sociological inquiry techniques and pinpoints the neglected gardened spaces in the eastern Paris. This presentation has two purposes: first, emphasizing the inhabitants' role in the creation of an urban space and in the decision making processes; second, analyzing the neglected gardened space as a possible catalyst in civic participation to the local political life. To that end, we will study of the dynamics of small community building and large network building.

Caroline LEJEUNE

On the east-north of the association of local authorities of Lille, stays the district of Union, which was a former industrial park, touched by an incredible economical and social crisis. The scale of this crisis traumatized this territory and his capacity to define a new way of development. Many opportunities are appeared but they don't give project of coherent territory. The "sustainable" certification of the territory contributes to give a new kind of coherence in the urban planning. How to include the custom of the ecological argument in the operations of urban planning and the militant strategies? The communication will attempt to show how is made the reorganization of the participative logics around the ecological stake. The specificity of this stake contributes to modify the temporal perspectives of the project. Very often, relegated in the background of the policies of development (social, economic), we shall see how the negotiation of the stake allows a reformulation of the project between social inequalities and ecological disparities. We also show that the convergence of these notions allows to question the deliberative procedures chosen as well as the perspectives of the project.

Khedidja MAMOU

Through an analysis of participatory processes on urban projects in Region Île-de-France, we will focus more particularly on the tools of the participation in exchanges "face to face". Through an observation of the techniques of animations adopted by various teams, in working meetings and\or participative urban studios (workshops), we shall analyze the quality of the exchanges, which take place there. At first, we shall see how the multi-disciplinarity of the teams updates forms of "forced cohabitations", questioning the notion of "crossed expertises". Secondly, we shall analyze tools and supports used by these various teams by focusing on the experiment of supports, which brings us to observe non-stabilized practices. We will finally emphasize how the spatial location of each of the participants (organized or not) influence the quality of the exchanges, revealing capacities of the stakeholders to bring voicing of opinions, of expressions.

Constanza M. ULRIKSEN

In the last decades, one of the Chilean governments' priorities has been to reduce the housing deficit. They have made major progress but the quality has reached a crisis level. As a result, Bachelet's administration (2006-2009) created the New housing policy to improve the quality and social integration, including the first neighborhood revitalization program ("Quiero mi Barrio"), which demands a new role for civil society: it creates the figure of the Neighborhood Council for Development.
In this context, what is the role of civil society organizations (CSO) in the revitalization of disadvantaged neighborhoods in Chile? The assumption is that the construction of this role has a double entry: top down or from the public policy, and bottom-up, or from the civil society itself at the neighborhood level. Specifically, I am interested in observing how the French and American state models - which are very present and in constant conflict in Chile when formulating public policies - affect the formulation of this urban public policy and its participation strategies.
In a first research's phase, I point out the role of CSO from a top-down approach: key informants who participated in the formulation of this urban policy, give their assessments in terms of participation, empowerment, the influence of foreign models in the construction of this policy, as well as his thoughts around the Neighborhood Council for Development. In a second research's phase to come, I will address the role of CSO but from a bottom-up approach: case studies of two neighborhoods in Santiago will allow me to observe the actual role of CSO in the revitalization, what are the configurations of participation around the revitalization of the neighborhoods intervened, and how they interact.


Workshop 2-2: Conceiving the public participation in participatory devices

Discussants: Loïc Blondiaux (CESSP, Université Paris I) and Joan Font (IPP-CSIC, Cordoba)


Since the early 2000's, the European Commission hosts its public consultations on an online platform, Your Voice in Europe. If these consultative processes are historically linked to expertise and lobbying practices, online participation allows an opening of the procedures towards « ordinary » citizens. Is the recognition of individuals as legitimate actors, along with NGO, interest groups and public authorities, leads to an empowerment of "general" or "weak" publics, by their collaboration with "strong" ones?
This paper intends to show that the technical features of online participative websites shape the interactions between actors and thus the conditions of a hybridisation between different publics. It aims at linking various types of participants with their related communicative spaces, where they plan collective actions in order to influence Commission's decisions.


London Citizens is a "Broad Based Community Organization" allying member institutions representing faith institutions, universities, schools, trade unions and community groups across London. Since 1996 it runs campaigns in different fields such as housing, jobs, poverty, safety, environment and immigration. London Citizens is recognized as a countervailing force in the city's and country's governance. The organization tries to professionalize its activity while staying grass root. But since the election of Obama, who famously started his political career as a community organizer in Chicago, the brand "community organizing" is highly fought for. In 2010, a key part of the Coalition's vision for the Big Society is the training of community organizers. This paper will analyze the mechanism of this professionalization and its stakes. It will study the interaction between Citizens UK and the Big Society program. It will argue that not only the origin of community organizing as a profession but also the passion fuelled toward it, have made it an ambiguous term.


As a start point, we would like to propose a question asked on the first doctoral days on the public's participation and participative democracy in Lyon on November 27th and 28th 2009. At that time, the subject was on the popular jury's participation. That relevant question, asked by the host, Yannis Papadopoulos, was: how is the participation of the juror of the assize court linked to the participative democracy? From that question, as evident as essential, we intend on doing a reflective work on the meaning given to democracy, participation and citizenship.
With that question in mind, we would like to emphasize on the link between a popular jury and the participative democracy: the ability to judge as democratic skill. According to that work, we want to suggest, as a theory, a direct connection between the citizen's participation field and the popular jury, to be able to question the functions of the participative democracy.
For that matter, we will present the problematic underneath that question, by deconstructing the notions of participation, democracy and citizenship. We will set that problematic in the actual context, and then link it to the jury of the assize court field. To conclude, we will present a fundamental element in a participative democracy process: the decision-making.

Antoine VERGNE

The field of investigation of this paper is a corpus of texts containing proposals for the introduction of random selection schemes in politics that can be interpreted as a theoretical ensemble labelled "theory of aleatory democracy". In the paper I test if the expectations raised by the supporters of this "theory" remain merely utopian or if they stand the test of the political practice? The test is done by analysing 27 empirical studies of mini-publics, experiments in participatory democracy that use random selection to recruit their participants. The investigation shows that most of the expectations are fulfilled, although only in a limited geographical, social and political frame. These results raise the double question of the conditions for the realization of the theory and of the possible improvement of the mini-public mechanisms through institutional engineering.


Workshop 3-2: The web, a tool for public participation

Discussants: Fabienne Greffet (IRENEE, Univ. Nancy II) and Isabelle Pailliart (GRESEC, Univ. Grenoble III)


How local associations can use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to participate in urban planning project? During the consultation on Urban Mobility Plan of Montpellier Agglomeration, a Participatory-Action-Research (PAR) was conducted with local associations in order to design a «bottom-up» online participatory tool. The analysis of the use of this tool showed that associations mainly used the tool to create a local network, to coordinate face to face meetings (Google Groups) and to co-write a collective document (Mediawiki). However, despite the enthusiasm of participants for this new tool, some of them encountered difficulties of use, leading to an unequal participation. Thus, the use of ICT facilitated collaboration in public sphere between local associations and citizens, who are now required to reconfigure their roles inside arenas opened to participation.

Jean-Christophe PLANTIN

In this communication, I aim show that the notion of reflexivity can be relevant to analyse online participatory practices. This concept is useful to bypass the regular debates about online participation, too often reduced to enthusiasm versus critical point of view. I will present the notion of reflexivity as brought by Ulrich Beck and expanded by Scott Lash in order to question the reconfiguration of Internet participation. In order to do so, I will focus on the specific web object of digital cartography and on the case study of alternative radiation mapping after Fukushima. Using a  techno-semio-pragmatic methodology on the set of radiation maps and online cartographers interviews, I will first aim to show that online mapping practices emphasize the cultural and aesthetic dimension of risk public perception, two key notions in Lash reflexivity view. In a second time I will show that this case study can contribute to the analysis of how participation evolves under the influence of digital culture.


Beyond traditional discussion places (e.g. local branches meetings), virtual communication forums have recently enabled political party members to express their views online. The social network of the Parti Socialiste (PS), the Coopol (standing for Coopérative Politique), was made public on January 12, 2010.
Does this social network disconnect political participation from its territorial structure? To what extent is the Coopol an efficient way to facilitate participation? Can it help party activists build actual collaboration without any territorial link? If so, is it possible to see this network as paving the way to a less hierarchical structure of the party?


REEDS, Université Versailles Saint Quentin  / SVT, Université de Bergen
Web-based Consultation and Environmental Governance: Challenges and Limits

This paper aims at presenting a participative website, developed in my PhD project, on ethical and political issues linked to the management of mineral resources, and more specifically a kind of metals called Rare Earth Elements. This project, "Sustainable Scenarios", came from two observations: the potential of web-based surveys for citizen-driven participation, and the specific relevance of citizen driven participation on environmental topics. After presenting the structure of the website and its content, I will try to interpret its outcomes in terms of participation, in the hope of drawing some useful conclusions for similar projects. Three main findings in particular will receive a specific focus: a very low overall participation rate, the fact that roughly half of the participants seem to have "disappeared" between each step of the project, and finally the difficulty to make participants come back to the website on the long-run, putting to jeopardy the very possibility of an actual debate.