Knowledge, Tools of Governance and Organization – Analyzing the Institutionalization of the Belgian Space of Decision Surrounding Nuclear Waste Management

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Gregoire LITS, Université catholique de Louvain - IACCHOS, Belgium
Drawing on 5 years field work realized in the decisional space of nuclear waste management (NWM) in Belgium (observations, interviews, documents analysis) this paper will analyze the emergence, mobilization and institutionalization of a new kind of expertise in NWM decision-making process: social science expertise.

In a first part the paper will present the concept of Space of Decision that was built to allow the analysis of the evolution and institutionalization of Belgian NWM decision-making through time (1915-2015). In analyzing the emergence of new organizations, new tools of governance and new knowledge over time, the concept of Space of Decision (SOD) allows us to understand decision making as a set of various practices that are conducted in different places and times and that are not de facto linked to national territories or national politics.

The second part of this paper will analyze the emergence of a new kind of knowledge in the Belgian NWM Space of Decision, the emergence, in the nineties, of social science expertise. This emergence is analyzed in regard to the development of two new tools of governance: participatory tools developed at national and local level, and transnational knowledge network (Martell 2012) aimed at exchanging expertise and experiences on social acceptability of NWM (e.g. the Forum for Stakeholder Confidence within the NEA/OECD).

This analysis will allow us to discuss the evolution of how experts exercise power through their capacity to give a certain shape to the Space of Decision or to guide the process of institutionalization of the SOD both at the transnational and the national level.