Post-doctoral positions – Campaign 2016: Profile n° 1

Activisme environnemental
“Environmental activism: forms of activism and socio-technical sharing platforms”.

Work-Package: “Biodiversity – territories – societies” and “Modeling, simulations and decision support”

The deadline for the submission of applications is 4 May 2016 (inclusive).
Recruitment procedure and schedule

Position description

The candidate’s project should fit into the general outline of the “Modeling, Simulations and Decision Support” and “Biodiversity – Territories – Societies” work packages and make a significant contribution to them by comparing both the study of forms of activism in favor of biodiversity and the environment in the broad sense and the use of digital technologies that support the pooling of local stakeholders’ and notably associations’ resources.

Civic environmentalism emerged in North America and then spread across Europe. Individuals’ commitment to their communities is fundamental and can help provide a local anchor for sustainable development. We can also see a shift in political activism towards “direct” action that is not promoted in the media by institutions or parties, expressing a crisis of confidence in and legitimacy of public institutions. The renewal of the practical modalities used in these forms of activism is also often linked to the development of Internet, which appears to be conducive to democratic renewal. This crossroads of the digital and participatory shifts is where new socio-technical digital mechanisms emerge. The issue of defining and testing these new tools to make this opening of decision-making processes in development tangible and real remains.

“Environmental activism” has taken up practices and arenas of spontaneous action that are redrawing the outlines of citizenship and how territories are inhabited. Diverse experiences are springing up to attempt to put into practice these principles and values, for instance shared gardens, beekeeping and urban farming, community-supported agriculture, soft mobility and urban green corridors, local trading systems and cooperative companies. These projects, many of which are part of the social and solidarity economy, seem to show that other systems of sharing and co-existing can arise, notably on local scales and increasingly thanks to digital technologies as the principle shared by these experiences is built around the notions of proximity and locally-anchored ways of being.

The prime objective of this research project is to renew reflection on civic environmentalism by examining how these local forms of activism reconfigure the ways in which citizens wish to live, according to what goal of community building, and what they contribute to local areas, notably through their economically measurable environmental contributions (direct/indirect evaluation). The aim is also to better understand how local stakeholders help—through both their local activism and by their interactions and use of digital tools—invent new modes of governing and managing urban areas, in line with the emergence of shared commons thanks to the development of new open and participatory socio-technical platforms.

It will therefore be a matter of examining these issues within the Île-de-France region to develop a map of environmental activism. We shall take an interest in associations and groups that take an interest in issues pertaining to the ecologic transition, organize themselves in new forms of activism, and utilize practices aiming to rethink relationships with the—either natural or social—environment.

Offering understanding of these new forms of political action supposes analyzing the capabilities of the people involved in such activism; the body of writing on eco-movements, transition initiatives and new citizenship experiments and democratic renewal shall thus be considered. However, in order to articulate this emergence of new forms of commons with the capacities digital tools provide, the research on associative networks, connected cities and more broadly digital action capacities shall also be primordial.

This work shall compare approaches and methods. The survey shall be done in part through individual interviews with stakeholders in such arenas, the list of which remains to be determined, and shall be the subject of systematic analysis. A quantitative component shall be coupled with the survey to offer numerical assessments of various items that will have been selected for overall understanding of the phenomenon. This shall be completed by analyses of the texts, manifests and arguments developed by these groups. The stakeholders in this phenomenon will thus be fully documented in order to cover the various registers of activity and references used systematically. All these elements will make it possible to draw up a map of projects and types of areas where environmental activists concentrate their attention so as to facilitate the construction of the actions of a “formalized” network that is sufficiently attractive that the groups themselves become aware of the importance of forming these connections, maintaining them and expanding them.

Planned collaborations

In the framework of the “Modeling, Simulations and Decision Support” Work-Package’s work, the post-doctoral research will lead to the production of a participatory mapping platform covering all or part of the Ile-de-France region in order to identify the local stakeholders acting in favor of biodiversity and the environment in the broad sense, their actions, and the resources they may exchange. Beyond producing this platform, the aim will be to inform reflection on the use of digital tools by observing how stakeholders take up these systems to make them into new resources serving their causes. And finally, the unique aspects of these open platforms will complete the typography of modeling and simulation tools in the area of territorial planning and development.

In the framework of the “Biodiversity – territories – societies” Work-Package’s work, the post-doctoral research shall analyze the forms and scope of environmental activism in the Ile-de-France region, examine these forms of proximity, and contribute to the production of an assessment matrix to analyze the (direct/indirect) economic contributions of associations to local areas, notably through their production of cultural ecosystem services.

Required skills and abilities
  • A PhD (in geography, territorial planning, sociology or political science) and an interest in the interdisciplinarity practiced in urban studies;
  • experience with qualitative methodologies and interviewing local stakeholders;
  • experience with GISs, spatial analysis methods, and managing geo-referenced databases would be appreciated.

Additional information

Contract start date: as soon as possible

Length of contract: 1 year

Host laboratories: LADYSS (Laboratoire Dynamiques Sociales et Recomposition des Espaces – UMR 7533) and Géographie-cités (UMR 8504)

Paris Diderot University
Olympe de Gouges building

Supervisors: Nathalie BLANC and Nicolas DOUAY

Net monthly remuneration: Approximately € 2324

Contact :

Recruitment procedure and schedule

The application must be submitted electronically by application form ( It must demonstrate that the candidate fulfils the requirements indicated in the position profile (specified tasks and skills).
The application will include:

  • a description of the proposed research project (2 to 5 pages) indicating the theoretical basis of the research, the tests to be carried out on empirical materials, the methodology to be used, a feasibility report and project schedule;
  • a covering letter;
  • curriculum vitae;
  • list of publications with internet links (if available);
  • doctoral thesis defence report (not required for candidates having defended their thesis in a foreign country);
  • copy of doctoral degree (or certificate). The thesis must have been defended fewer than five years ago.

The deadline for the submission of applications is 4 May 2016 (inclusive).

For your information: When the deadline for applications has passed, the LabEx DynamiTe will contact the potential director(s) of the potential host unit(s) and will add one letter of invitation to the application.

The candidate(s) appointed following the assessment of the applications and interviews (which will take place during the week of 13 June 2016) will be informed of the results of the application process from 20 June 2016.

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