Volume 2, Number 2, 2007

prise-deparole-logo-40This journal is published in French only.

Jean-Louis Le Moigne

Topical-Critical Method: Sustaining the Scientific Reconstruction (Sur la méthode topico-critique : au service de la reconstruction scientifique) (p. 13–31)


In today’s epistemic context, questioning the legitimacy of the scientific propositions we produce and teach can often seem an audacious endeavour, and this, despite the fact that a rich western tradition, from Morin to Protagoras and through Vico, Bachelard and Piaget forewarns of the illusion of a universal, divine knowledge. The “end of certitudes”, the rooting of knowledge and the inquiry into the wishful based on the feasable are all principles which enable us to ground the knowledge-legitimating work we elaborate ; and they represent an alternative to the dominant epistemology.

Keywords: Epistemology, knowledge, topico-critica method, complexity, cartesianism, ethics, social responsibility of researcher.

David Chavalarias

The role of Social Cognition Mimetic: A key for conceiving the Social Self-Transformation (La part mimétique des dynamiques de cognition sociale : clé pour penser l’auto-transformation du social) (p. 33–57)


Some scientists, sociologists and economists in particular, recently gave a second sense to the terms “social cognition” used by psychologists, namely a cognition distributed over the whole set of the individuals composing a society. The stake is then to know “in what extent the human social aptitudes account for the development of a complex collective cognition”. We defend here the idea that social cognition is a refinement of the concept of distributed cognition rather than an equivalent. It is a phenomenon specific to the human societies which allows to think their property of self-transformation. In this paper, we show how the study of imitation processes can help us to think this phenomenon, as suggested it in its time Gabriel Tarde.

Keywords: Social cognition, auto-organization, imitation, individual teleologies, social differenciation.

Camille Roth

Reconstruction in Social Sciences: the Case of Knowledge Networks (Reconstruction en sciences sociales : le cas des réseaux de savoirs) (p. 59–101)


Agents producing and exchanging knowledge are forming as a whole a socio-semantic complex system, whose study offers theoretical challenges, with the perspective of solving a reconstruction problem in social sciences, as well as practical challenges, with potential applications enabling agents to know the dynamics of the system they are participating in. We show that several significant aspects of the structure of a knowledge community are primarily produced by the co-evolution between agents and concepts, i.e. the evolution of an epistemic network. We rebuild taxonomies of knowledge communities from low-level observation of relationships between agents and concepts, using Galois lattices; achieving ultimately an historical description (inter alia field progress, decline, specialization, interaction). We then micro-found various stylized facts regarding this particular structure by exhibiting processes at the level of agents accounting for the emergence and morphogenesis of epistemic community structure, assuming that agents and concepts are co-evolving.

Keywords: Complex systems, social cognition, reconstruction, applied epistemology, dynamic social networks, mathematical sociology, cultural coevolution, Galois lattices.

William’s Daré, Christine Fourage, and Ibrahima Diop Gaye

Positioning of Sociologists in the Perspective of the Domino Modelling (Positionnement des sociologues dans la démarche de modélisation Domino) (p. 103–126)


In Senegal and the Reunion Island, decentralized management of natural resources and multiplicity of land uses bring local development managers round to thinking about synergies and competition of branches and levels of organisation. There exist tools helpful to represent interactions among ecological and social systems and their dynamics. But rare of them are built with stakeholders

Domino is based on a Companion Modelling approach. From the start, this “participatory modelling approach” involves researchers of several disciplines and local stakeholders – producers of data and potential users. The project aims at reinforcing stakeholders’ empowerment to tackle the stakes of their sustainable development. Sociologists involved build an analysis grid of social reality that can be used in the modelling process. Careful to the original social goal of the project, they question the appropriateness of Companion Modelling and its social uses, confronting sociological theories with field reality. This pragmatism reexamines the sociological posture. Daré et al.2(2).pdf

Keywords: Companion modelling, ComMod, regional development, Senegal, Reunion Island, sociology, involved research, ethics, land use, participation.

Évelyne Biausser

Note de lecture. De la complexité des politiques locales. Systèmes d’action et enseignement supérieur dans les villes moyennes de Midi-Pyrénées, Pascal Roggero, Paris, L’Harmattan, coll. « Pratique de la systémique », 2005 (p. 127–135)