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Our team is an original experiment, bringing together social-science researchers to work on environmental issues. It has 46 members – 18 permanent, 22 doctoral students, six research associates – representing a variety of backgrounds: geography, planning, sociology, philosophy, economics, political science and anthropology.

The team is led by Coralie Mounet.

See the List of team members.

Five keywords identify the main socio-environmental dynamics we study.

  • Adaptation: changes in ways of life driven by global changes, operating at various spatial and temporal scales, observed in terms of practices, that may be daily, leisure or event-centred, etc.
  • Biodiversity: governance of the living studied through animal spatialities, relations between humans and animals, and hybridization of expert and lay learning.
  • Energy: contemporary policies on energy transition, configuration of new energy resources and the recomposition they prompt in territory and landscape.
  • Risk: we study the risks associated with flooding, earthquake and atmospheric pollution, with the accent on social responses to natural events.
  • Landscape: long-term environmental and landscape dynamics (trajectories, bifurcations, inertia).

Through analysis of these socio-environmental dynamics (in the short or long term, human or not) our team has become a place for critical appraisal of key concepts (temporality, adaptation, transition, vulnerability, innovation).

Prime assets of the Environments team

  • Close links with university teaching, by way of two Master’s degree courses focusing on the environment (Géoïdes, Géosphères), a research Master’s degree in Innovation and Territory (Iter), another Master’s degree in Property Project Ownership (Mobat) and an international Master’s degree (IDS).  
  • The practice of inter-disciplinary work in the social sciences and with other scientific communities (hydrology, climatology, ecology, forestry, biology, geology, energy, among others), through facilities based locally (OSUG, CDP Trajectoires, UGA-Climat, Zone Atelier Alpes), regionally (Ouranos-AurA) or nationally (GPRO Climat-Energie Alliance Athena; coordination Ancre/Athena).
  • About 15 ongoing projects (with CNRS, France’s Environment and Energy-Management Agency (Ademe), the National Research Agency (ANR), Grenoble-based Labex) and the development of international networks (Brazil, China, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, United Kingdom, Niger and Morocco).


Research Thematics

To define the team’s project we compared approaches and concepts to identify common ground for exchange between members. We then designed a ‘compass’, reconciling environmental learning and appropriation regimes for environmental entities and resources.

The question of ‘learning’ brings into play a plural approach to the environment, as a system of interactions, described and analysed by historically formed scientific learning, in the light of relations. Such relations, formed through connections and disconnections between groups and environmental resources or entities, add situated intelligence to learning, coupled with qualification and sharing of underlying issues. The two polarities are in tension: the scientific reference, before laying claim to universality, is indebted to the emergence of groups and instruments that are clearly ‘connected’ to places where knowledge is produced; similarly the way we ‘reconnect’ with environmental issues, in order to grasp their singular expression where we live, works increasingly through citizen groups using miniaturized, mobile instruments that renew our capacity for observing and producing data. [...]

The issue of appropriation regimes questions the concrete processes by which society, at different periods and in different geographical, cultural and social contexts, has reassessed the environmental question in response to its own needs, to prevent risks and consolidate sovereignty. These processes are characterized, in particular, by their attempt to convert environmental entities into goods, taking many routes which may turn them into common or private goods. These processes are uncertain, due to the materiality of environmental entities and their resilience or resistance, but also due to the categories we use to understand and act on these issues. We aim to explore this basic tension between entities and disputed, negotiated environmental resources to make them common goods, at various scales, and entities and/or resources involved in privatization processes, in order to control them as substitutable, tradable goods.

These two polarities connect to many appropriation regimes which are central to our analysis. With regard to our project they mark a collective horizon, hinging on debate of environmental policies, their past management and increasingly frequent attempts to allow market forces to take charge of transitions, impacts and risks. These appropriation regimes afford opportunities for collective re-definition of what constitutes value, giving rise to innovative experiments, but also greater social and environmental inequality.

Our project is rooted in effective methodology, fed by the team’s ability to carry out surveys and interviews, thus keeping track of emerging socio-technical collectives while processing long data sets using statistics. We also use geographic information systems, archives in some cases, spatialization and spatio-temporal representation of phenomena. [...]

These research priorities open up a space for rich debate, spilling over into two team workshops: a reading group for group work on texts about building learning and environmental appropriation; a video group to give participants a practical grasp of directing and editing video documentaries.


This year the reading workshop hinges on The Public and its Problems (1927), which urges political philosophy to focus attention on what affects ordinary experience, interrupts it and gives rise to states of ‘disadaptation’. This connects to questions our team is studying, regarding our relation to animals, landscapes or indeed extreme events. When thinking about these troubled situations Dewey encourages us to pay attention to the collectives they bring to the fore and the singular devices the latter invent to redefine what makes value and to experiment new ways of life.

We have turned to this important work to reconsider our material cultures and their ‘consequences’, the modalities by which ‘publics’ form, the place of human and social sciences with and/or alongside these publics, and lastly environmental thought more open to experimentation.

Contact: (olivier[dot]labussiere[at]umrpacte[dot]fr)

Amethist (Anticipation, Mobility, Space-Time Scales, Integration, Water and Weather, Society, Territories) started in 2010, bringing together researchers from social, human and Earth sciences. In 2011 it adopted a slow-science approach to encourage multi and inter-disciplinary exchange, sharing theoretical tools and confronting them with our particular objects of study.

We started by looking at water and weather-related risks, and their spatial and temporal scales, then extended our scope to include resilience and, more recently, rhythm, drawing on various papers: C.S. Holling, Understanding the complexity of economic, ecological and social systems, Ecosystems; M. Grossetti, L’espace à trois dimensions des phénomènes sociaux, Sociologies; P. Michon, Rythme et sociologie, une introduction, Rhuthmos.

Contact (severine[dot]durand07[at]gmail[dot]com), (isabelle[dot]ruin[at]univ-grenoble-alpes[dot]fr), or (celine[dot]lutoff[at]univ-grenoble-alpes[dot]fr)

The question of the animated image has a long past in the social sciences. Its use in research is developing in France and abroad, opening the way for new ways of (co-)producing knowledge and new bridges between science and society. The present workshop aims act as a ‘breather’ amidst increasingly intensive, internationalized and standardized scientific production. Our aim is to restate the question of the choice and transformation of the languages we use to explain human and social-science thinking to society. We are also keen to educate through practice, giving researchers, post-docs and PhD students hands-on experience of making and editing documentaries.

Contact: (olivier[dot]labussiere[at]umrpacte[dot]fr)



Approche intégrée biogéochimique, géographique et hydrologique pour déterminer les sources de contaminants sur des bassins versants d’usage mixte

Janvier 2021 - Décembre 2025

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L’amiante comme problème d’État : responsabilités publiques, santé au travail et mobilisations dans la fonction publique

Février 2022 - Février 2025

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Collectifs sociotechniques de la transition énergétique

Avril 2012 - Mars 2016

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photo : éoliennes dans une montagne


International Research Network "Climate-Energy : Engaging Social Sciences"

Janvier 2017 - Janvier 2021

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Canal d'irrigation


Identification et caractérisation des sources de contaminants dans des bassins versants d’usage mixte : approche intégrée

Janvier 2020 - Octobre 2023

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une paire de pied, devant plusieurs choix de mobilité : pieds, vélo, voiture, train


Une étude interventionnelle sur le changement de comportement de mobilité

Novembre 2018

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personnes dans une gare


Just in15 Minutes Developing planning tools for the social and environmental Just 15 Minutes City


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Dessin enfantin, enfant déguisé sur un bateau


Plateforme de simulation participative pour la gestion du risque de submersion marine

Janvier 2018 - Janvier 2021

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Femme écoutant de la musique


Re-découvrir les paysages par l'écoute solidienne

Janvier 2019 - Janvier 2020

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dessin abstrait


Integration of MUltidisciplinary Data for crisis MOdeling

Février 2015 - Février 2017

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Paysage rivière


Dynamique des mobilités quotidiennes et résidentielles face aux extrêmes hydrométéorologiques en contexte de changement climatique

Janvier 2014 - Décembre 2017

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paysage de montagne


Risques liés au permafrost de montagne et à sa dégradation

Janvier 2016 - Décembre 2019

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Réciprocités à la croisée de la ville et de la montagne : paysages des biodiversités et des alimentations

Mars 2019 - Mars 2023

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mains effectuant des travaux manuels


Recherche-expérimentation en sciences humaines et sociales pour la rénovation thermique performante des maisons individuelles

Avril 2017 - Avril 2020

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Seminars (in French)

Submitted on March 31, 2023

Updated on January 9, 2024