Le Domaine des recherches — l’émergence et le développement des bioénergies comme cadre de production de connaissances
Publications – Thesis
The Quest for the Oily Grail: The emergence of a research area on bioenergy and its role in the production of knowledge. Neither academic training within scientific disciplines, nor the daily work in the lab involving specialised equipments, define alone a scientific culture. What diverse researchers from various backgrounds work on, builds a specific way of designing their own activities, practices and relationships with the world. Their individual success is irrevocably bound to a subject, to its fortune as an innovation within the boundaries of a social context it simultaneously changes. How do they perform this (re)conversion to a new domain, as funding agencies nowaday favor this thematic framing? This thesis proposes an investigation into the notion of “research area”, which we a priori define as the frame of interactions between the professional activity of researchers and society around a shared theme; it stands up for its epistemic dimension. This manuscript parallelly describes the “bioenergy” development, a major form of renewable or sustainable energy derived from biomass, its social actors and their interrelations, as strong incentives towards a global energy transition meet sharp social controversies. The two objectives of this thesis meet: describing the inherent style of thinking within a particular research area is required to grasp, beyond the hopes and promises, the actual patterns of development of an innovation (in this case, the large-scale mobilisation of plants, microorganisms or waste to produce biofuels) and thus, ultimately, to collectively evaluate its relevance.