From the 1990’s to now, the European context has been marked by the emergence and the reinforcement of reflections and research on the contribution of civil society to the quality of decisions concerning hazardous activities in risk governance studies (cf. TRUSTNET European research projects series, the works of O. Renn, the works of the International Risk Governance Council). It has also been marked by the development of various legal, institutional and regulatory arrangements aiming to organize participation of civil society and local stakeholders in decision-making concerning hazardous activities.
The interactions between civil society and local actors on the one hand and institutional actors engaged in safety of industrial activities on the other hand are most often addressed either through the general issue of stakeholder involvement, perception studies, risk governance studies or through the more general issue of the exercise of democracy regarding technical issues. Social and human aspects of industrial safety are addressed through the analysis of human and organisation factors of safety that are focused either on the analysis of single organisations (e.g. operators) and their safety culture or address a safety system where safety is the result of the actions and interactions of operators, regulators and experts.
We can currently observe that some regulators and technical support organisations, in particular in the nuclear field (e.g. IRSN in France, SITEX network in Europe), are developing new approaches where civil society is incorporated in the safety system as an additional layer contributing to safety, moving from a 3-pillar safety approach (operators, regulators, experts) to a 4-pillar conception including civil society. However, this renewed role of civil society as regards safety has not yet been investigated from a research point of view.
The project is a feasibility study for a larger scale research on the contribution of civil society and local actors to the safety of industrial activities, to the safety culture and to the resilience of organisations as regards safety.
The objective of the research is to explore this contribution by:
Scientific disciplines: anthropology, political science
For civil society and local actors, the identification of the nature, conditions and means of their contribution to safety, backed by concrete cases, is a factor that will support civil society claims for access to information and decision-making processes for safety-related issues and develop new relationships with other stakeholders.
For experts and technical support organisations (TSOs), these outcomes will help identifying new ways of interacting with civil society and local actors and new ways of producing expertise. For operators and regulators, these outcomes will open new opportunities to engage with civil society as partners in the production of safety. For the research community, ECCSSafe will open new fields of research by investigating safety issues in a broader safety system of actors encompassing civil society, alongside operators, regulators and experts. The project will provide both a theoretical framework for this and guidelines proposing new directions of research and concrete ways to address them.
The project is structured around the following tasks:
Gilles Hériard Dubreuil (Mutadis, France)
Stéphane Baudé (Mutadis, France) — project coordinator
Nadja Železnik (Country office in Slovenia, Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), Slovenia)
Drago Kos (Research Centre for Environmental and Urban Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Zsuzsanna Koritár (Energiaklub, Hungary)
András Perger (Energiaklub, Hungary)
Information last updated on 2014-09-04.
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