The Intertwining of Macro-, Meso- and Micro-Social Scales to Understand Innovation in Sociology. the Case of Eco-Housing in Europe.

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 16:40
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Sophie NEMOZ, International Centre REEDS, France, University of Versailles, France
According to a common view, innovation proceeds in a more or less linear model of diffusion from research through to engineering and applied development, and then to commercialisation. Nonetheless, the growing adoption of a prior discovery in science does not reflect the dominant processes by which most innovation has occurred historically. Looking beyond R&D at the firm level, multiple perspectives highlight the innovative capacity of societies. Taking as witness the dissemination of eco-construction in France, in Finland and in Spain under the auspices of sustainable development, the paper aims to report on opportunities offered through the sociology of innovation within the context of a systemic and multicultural approach. This allows one to break with a strictly linear concept of innovative processes, as well as breaking with the blind form of analysis which sometimes gives rise to contradictions in the parallel evolutions macro, meso and micro-social observation due to divergences of scale. From the socio-political landscape to householders’ homes, passing through the foyers of production in initiatives already in place, my thesis provides a reading of change and inertia concerning the dissemination of eco-housing in three dimensions (Nemoz, 2009). It emerges that policies can support and channel innovation through promiting standards and initiatives. However, they cannot allow one to avoid the fact that the systematic transitions to the works in place are somewhat uncontrollable in as much as the latter can neither be initiated nor arrested. Innovations are neither individual acts nor isolated artefacts. The assemblages that organize and disorganize them evolve through very long time horizons which explain that innovations are simply never introduced in their final forms.