When Participatory Research Tackles Environmental Stakes. Science, Democracy and Expertise

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Martine LEGRIS REVEL, Lille University CERAPS, France
Jean Gabriel CONTAMIN, Lille University - CERAPS, France
There is a growing demand to include Civil Society in research process last few years. One reason frequently cited in favor of CSO involvement in research is that it can help “democratize science”, giving citizens a voice. Participatory action research, as well as collaborative planning or technological assessments for instance are very different ways of including Civil Society Organisations in research projects. Despite the potential importance of CSOs, little was known until recently about the practice of including them in research projects. Moreover it is important to be aware that CSO members involved in such projects are generally not lay citizens; they tend to be skilled and educated and may have research experience. They are valued as experts.

While many research projects involve citizens in specific actions (such as consensus conferences), few include individual citizens not organized in a collective group. (Examples are projects dealing with citizen science, the social sector and the arts). CSOs can provide direct access to citizens’ views, and in many cases act as a skilled mediator between the research team and citizens’ inputs.  The majority of research projects with CSO participation feature CSOs that are seeen as experts and that address specific interests such as patients, industry, agriculture, fishing, etc. But that seems to be changing. The progressive awareness of environmental risks by different stakeholders have highlighted that public engagement “upstream” in research project could help to find robust solutions (Callon, Lascoume, Barthe, 2001) to environmental matters.

In this paper we will analyse how and to what extent scientific research projects including CSOs may mobilize and create new collaborative routines and innovate in the environmental field.

We will use 15 case studies of 15 participative research projects coming from the CONSIDER project