Call for papers Strasbourg2011

Université Paul Verlaine-Metz, Université Nancy 2, Université de Haute-Alsace

Laboratoire interuniversitaire des sciences de l’éducation et de la communication – LISEC
Université de Strasbourg, Université Nancy 2, Université de Haute-Alsace

International Symposium

Strasbourg, October 13, 14, 15, 2011

- Call for papers -

Deadline extended to 21 June

The symposium “Cultures of sciences in Europe. Part 2: dispositifs, publics, actors and institutions” is part of a two-part event initiated in the East of France by laboratories cooperating on the same project, the Centre de REcherches sur les Médiations (CREM – UPV-M, Nancy 2, UHA) and the Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Education et de la Communication (LISEC – UDS, Nancy 2, UHA). This symposium will address the political implications of scientific culture[1], the will of the actors, how the institutions are involved and the pursued objectives. Particular emphasis will be given to the balance that has to be implemented between European programmatics and the specificities of history, tradition and innovation in this field.

Contributions are expected to be from the fields of humanities and social sciences. Theoretical presentations leading to new questionings, original empirical research and case studies are particularly welcomed, as well as critical reflections and feedback from actors involved in mediation. Thus, the symposium will allow to take part in the emergence of new problematics and to interact with different approaches. Contributions should preferably be put into perspective through a comparative approach regarding practices or policies of scientific and technical mediation in different European countries.

The papers will be divided around 3 axes: “The policies of scientific and technical cultures”, “Publics, citizens or actors? Definitions, self-definitions and positions”, “Values, hierarchies and presuppositions of culture scientifique et technique (CST)/Public understanding of science (PUS)”.

1/ The policies of scientific and technical cultures

This axis will be structured around problematics relating to the legitimacies and credibilities of CST/PUS actors. Indeed, in recent decades, European policies in this area have become more sophisticated and have experienced some reorganization. The objectives became more specific, as can be seen from the evolution leading from the Lisbon Agenda and the “Science and society” plan in early 2000 to the recent “union of innovation” and to the framework program “science in society”. Some main themes have emerged, but many questions still remain closed. To define them, it will be necessary to understand which actors are behind those programmatics, how these are decided, which issues are favored, what types of studies and which assumptions are they based on, particularly with regard to target audiences. Taking into account the local context, or its mere possibility, remains a crucial issue, as well as the reactivity of these programmatics dealing in criticism from some technoscientific innovations.

Finally, the question of the effective articulation of knowledge from the humanities and social sciences (HSS) on the CST/PUS measures should be addressed.

2/ Publics, citizens or actors? Definitions, self-definitions and positions

Several successive definitions of the publics have emerged in both the European and national programmatics regarding CST/PUS, and in practical initiatives. The measures were designed as means of educating audiences, as a tool to « bridge the gap of ignorance » between science and society or even as an opportunity to raise awareness, to involve and, at last, to engage citizens. However, the question of defining the publics is rarely discussed reflectively in these programmatics. This is why we are still being faced, in practice, to the everlasting “deficit model”. Regarding the problematic of self-defining the audiences themselves, it seems reserved for the academic field, and hardly goes beyond the CST/PUS area. This axis is all about trying to understand the audiences’ positioning against the CST/PUS measures and the implicit representations that they convey of citizens, their interests, their engagement or their commitment.

3/ Values, hierarchies and presuppositions of CST/PUS

A mediation system is never neutral. It organizes, gives credibility and prioritizes the cultural values ​​attributed to science and technology and to the worldviews that they form. Thus, it is clear that the HSS are largely the « poor relation » of the sciences represented by the CST/PUS, even though interesting perspectives are currently being opened up.

What are the tacit hierarchies of science and knowledge at work in the CST/PUS? When talking about a culture of science, exactly which one are we talking about? A culture of expertise, or a deeper cultivation or even something else? What are the forms of communication for scientific and technological mediation? Is it about convincing, educating, promoting science and technology, seducing, interacting…? Furthermore, soliciting a citizen perspective is one of the main themes that stand out from a decade of policies and actions on scientific and technological mediation. But what is the real place and role assigned to these “views” within those measures?

At a time when technoscience is more and more intertwined within everyday activities, if not even into the private lives of individuals, the ethical dimension is not without raising insistent questionings. How far are these ethical questionings present within the CST/PUS? What could/should be their place?

Paper or poster proposal:

The papers may be given in French or English. They will be subject to a 20-minute presentation followed by discussion.

The paper proposals must imperatively include the following elements:

  • full name, email address, telephone and postal address
  • professional status, affiliated institute of the author/s
  • 500 words or less (3000 characters), in French or English (stating the problematic, the data used and the method).

A poster presentation session will be held, the number and quality of proposals permitting. The media will be in French or English and limited to one or two posters per presentation. The presentation time is 10 minutes to leave room for discussion.

The poster submissions must include the following:

  • full name, email address, telephone and postal address
  • professional status, affiliated institute of the author/s
  • 500 words or less (3000 characters), in French or English (stating the problematic, the data used and the method).


The proposals must be submitted to Philippe Chavot or Anne Masseran, at the following address: <> no later than June 21, 2011.
The authors will be informed of a decision regarding their proposed paper by email in late June.

Following validation by the scientific committee, the final papers will be published in a volume of proceedings.

Scientific committee:

  • Amey Patrick (Sociology department, University of Geneva, CHE)
  • Boudia Soraya (IRIST, University of Strasbourg, FRA)
  • Dreyssé Hugues (Jardin des Sciences, University of Strasbourg, FRA)
  • Felt Ulrike (Dpt of Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna, AUT)
  • Fleury Béatrice (CREM, University of Nancy 2, FRA)
  • Hert Philippe (C2So, University of Provence, FRA)
  • Poupardin Elsa (LISEC, University of Strasbourg, FRA)
  • Rudolf Florence (Laboratoire Culture et Société en Europe, University of Strasbourg, FRA)
  • Walter Jacques (CREM, Paul Verlaine University, Metz, FRA)


Philippe Chavot (LISEC, University of Strasbourg)
Anne Masseran (University of Strasbourg / CREM, University of Nancy 2)
00 33 (0)7 60 69 61 03
Website –

[1] In France and some Latin countries, the term « Culture scientifique et technique » is used to cover realities that are close to what is called in Anglo-Saxon, Nordic and Germanic countries “Public Understanding of Science (PUS)”. Concrete achievements are similar, however the philosophy behind the two concepts is quite different.