« Foreward. Acting by means of, with, for, towards, despite, against, without nature ? » (p. 15-22)
«What Is the “Nature” That One Seeks to Preserve? A Semiological Approach to Ecological Action» (p. 23-60)
Abstract: Ecology has evolved over the 20th century from descriptive science to proactive science. This metamorphosis necessitates to adapt a whole theoretical vocabulary to the concrete reality of the field. However, such translation does not come easy. If the vast majority of social actors agree on the need to “protect nature”, deep controversies arise when it comes to putting this preservation into action: what should we do, what should we act on when we want to protect “nature”? What is “nature”, actually? This is the question that this text aims at answering, first by retracing the genealogy of this term, the meaning of which has never been clear, then by isolating a certain number of dominant definitions, each referring to a very specific conception of nature, and thus implying separate protective actions. Rather than arbitrating in an authoritarian manner (as many thinkers have tried unsuccessfully), we propose to integrate this whole complexity of the phenomenon of nature into the approaches aiming at protecting it, which must be conceived in a broad, transdisciplinary and transcultural way.
Key-words: Nature, Semiology, Pragmatics, Environmental Philosophy, Conservation, Ecology, Lexicology.
Abstract: Ecological stewardship paradigms are growing in environmental sciences as much as in the realm management of protected areas. The concept of stewardship, still recent in France, finds no correspondence in sociological theories of action. This situation raises many difficulties for interdisciplinary research. This paper examines different theories of stewardship from the perspective of the theories of action that they presuppose. In doing so, we aim to contribute to moving toward a sociological conception of stewardship. Three case studies are used for this.
Key-words: Ecological Stewardship, Individual Actions, Collective Actions, Public-Private Management, Camargue, Alpilles, Étang de Berre.
Bertrand Sajaloli and Étienne Grésillon
«The Catholic Church: 50 Years of Doctrinal Positioning» (p. 109-152)
Abstract: The Catholic Church, accused by Lynn White (1967) of being involved in global environmental crises, gradually built a philosophical and spiritual response to respect for creation by remobilizing the ancient tensions between the two main Christian traditions of nature, anthropocentrism and theocentrism. With the papal encyclical of François Laudato si (2015), the Catholic Church now preaches sobriety, reduction of consumption and commits believers all over the world to adopt environmentally more virtuous behaviours. This doctrinal trajectory is here analysed: after a culmination of 50 years of religious thought on environment, Christian ecology is confronted with the recent history of ecology and especially that of political ecology. Belonging to the city, the Church has built her discourse in three major stages according to the currents of thought (including Anthropocene) that cross civil society, major environmental disasters (Chernobyl, climate change) and large political scenes like the Earth Summits of Rio 1992 and 2012.
-words: Catholic Church, Political Ecology, Anthropocene.
Marion Brun, Francesca Di Pietro et Denis Martouzet
«Urban Wastelands: Can They Support New Uses and Perceptions of Spontaneous Nature? Comparison of Residents and Planners’ Perceptions» (p. 153-184)
Abstract: Urban wastelands are spaces without an official function, in contrast with the surrounding urban fabric. They are temporary and informal green spaces with spontaneous vegetation, and represent a habitat for many plant species: their interest for urban biodiversity is now wellknown. They also represent places to increase residents’ contact with nature and meet the growing social demand for nature in the city. Moreover, their interest for development is widely documented in urban planning; however, planners’ perceptions on urban wastelands have been insufficiently studied. The aim of this work is to explore the perceptions of urban wastelands both by planners (owners and non-owners of wastelands) and residents living near these spaces. A specific survey methodology for each type of stakeholder has been set up in our study sites, the Tours and Blois conurbations. Some of the local residents adopt temporary uses of urban wastelands, which are often tolerated by the owners and do not affect the final uses of the land, mainly development and marketing, when the land is supposed to be built. Despite contrasting views between planners and residents, urban wastelands are mostly represented as untended, abandoned, vegetated and temporary spaces. However, for some residents, this uncertain future has a positive aspect, as it is linked to an idea of “freedom” that confirms the social demand for empty spaces in the urban fabric by some residents. Two approaches for a better integration of the wastelands in the city are suggested in the conclusion, which would make it possible to enhance the value of these temporary urban spaces for residents and managers.
Key-words: Urban Wastelands, Spontaneous Vegetation, Land Perceptions And Use, Naturality, Urban Nature.
Déborah Bekaert and Saïda Houadfi
«Visitors and Staff of Urban Zoos: A Sociogeographic Approach of the Links Between Conception of Nature and Actions» (p. 185-230)
Abstract: This article emanates from a multidisciplinary work about the relationships that the human being and its institutions maintain with animal world: from the example of three urban zoos, geography and sociology converse on how zoos’ actions influence the conception of the nature of its visitors and its professionals. The treatment and analysis of twenty interviews and observations demonstrate the ambivalence of the impact of zoos’ actions on the public. While maintaining a function of distraction and leisure, the Zoo defends its place as an actor engaged in the conservation of animal species, however, the permanence of its existence nuances its effectiveness to protect sustainably the nature of the perverse effects of human activities.
Key-Words: Zoo, Animal Captivity, Actions, Sensitization, Nature.
Claire Graziani-Taugeron and René Audet
«Territorial Associative Dynamics, Social Representations of the Environment and Insularity: An Analysis of Collective Action in Corsica and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine» (p. 231-267)
Abstract: Environmental protection associations are public authorities’ key partners for concertation processes in land use planning. They are therefore a vehicle for specific social representations of the environment which they attempt to bring into public agenda. Trying to uncover which social representations of the environment is part of environmental protection discourses and actions in island territory, this paper will illustrate that there are « territorial factors » influencing environmental commitment as traditional, symbolic and identity dimensions of social representations are embedded in environmental associations dynamics. The territorial organization dynamics concept is then proposed to link governance institutions, social representations of the environment and environmental collective action issues. This concept enables the understanding of how collective action falls within territory and how nature is enshrined in action.
Key-words: Environmental Commitment, Insularity, Social Representations of the Environment, Environmental Protection Organizations, Corsica, Magdalene islands.
«Swiss Collective Practices of Avalanche Risk Management Being Recognized as Part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity» (p. 269-300)
Abstract: Highlighting different registers of representations, actions and interactions that contribute to a significant reduction in the vulnerability of populations, territories and infrastructures (electricity wires, telecommunications connections, transport facilities, water pipes, etc.), collective practices of avalanche risk management are analyzed here from the perspective of coordination and co-management processes that involve individual and collective experiences that could represent participatory democracy in action.
Key-words: Actions, Justification, Collective, Risk, Avalanche, Heritage.
«Comparison between First and Second Generation Students: Engagement, Academic Success, and Persistence»
Abstract: This article summarizes a study that explored differences between first and second generation students on engagement, academic success, persistence and program language variables at Laurentian University in Sudbury. The study compared 514 first year students registered in French or English language programs with 54 % being first generation, 91,4 % Canadian citizens, 83,5 % Caucasian, and 73 % female.
In this study, first generation students were older, predominantly female, registered in fewer courses and attended college in a higher proportion before going to university. More first generation students lived off campus and fewer intended to pursue their education beyond a master’s degree. First and second generation students had comparable
results on all but nine engagement variables of the 2014 NSSE survey. However, program language (English or French) revealed significant differences on 24 engagement variables between students enrolled in French or English language programs. Further, those registered in French language programs had successfully completed more credits. Surprisingly, the persistence variable did not show a significant difference between the groups raising questions about the variable utilized for this purpose.
Seventy-six respondents provided written comments to the open questions about the quality of their university experience and made recommendations for the institution. The comments were grouped in nine categories, four pertaining to academic matters and five to student life. In general, the comments supported or expanded upon the quantitative findings. This convergence of opinion among the respondents suggests relatively comparable student experience and general satisfaction with the choice of institution.
Overall, the study showed that engagement theory can point out differences between first and second generation students particularly when comparing students studying in French or English language programs in a bilingual setting. First and second generation students studying in French language programs were more engaged on a number of variables of the NSSE questionnaire than students studying in English.
Key-words: First Generation Student, Post-Secondary Education, University Studies, Education, Student Engagement, Under-Represented Groups, Human Studies, Sociology of Education, Interdisciplinarity, Program Language.