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Un catastrophisme au service de l’action publique ?

Abstract : Environmental catastrophism has often been questioned through the study of “avant-garde” trends, often led at the margins of intellectual and political fields. This article explores the birth of a specific set of reports and books on environmental catastrophes in the 1970-1980’s that took an important part in the shaping of new public policies regarding industrial hazards. During this period, often described as a time of political invention of the environment, we emphasize that French civil servants in charge of environmental and industrial issues shaped administrative practices that aimed at forecasting and dealing with industrial accidents. This paper analyzes the rise of a “technocratic catastrophism”, based on several types of reports and academic publications, mainly written by engineers or social scientists. While the 1980’s are often seen as a time of “environmental backlash” on the international level, we argue that this period could also be seen as a “catastrophist moment” within public policies. Not only strictly administrative, this moment is characterized by a shift in the way the administration envisions upcoming industrial developments and the regulation of its hazards.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02911017
Contributor : Renaud Bécot <>
Submitted on : Monday, August 3, 2020 - 3:42:56 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 12, 2021 - 1:16:01 PM

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Romain Mularczyk, Renaud Bécot. Un catastrophisme au service de l’action publique ?. Revue d'Allemagne et des Pays de langue allemande, Société d'études allemandes, 2020, 52 (1), pp.49-66. ⟨10.4000/allemagne.2216⟩. ⟨halshs-02911017⟩

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