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Accepted Paper:

16000 feet under: territories and meanings of deep geothermal energy  
Philippe Chavot (INSPE StrasbourgLISEC) Yeny Serrano (University of Strasbourg) Anne Masseran (Université de strasbourg )

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how stakeholders are constrained by and invested in different territories (physical, legal or rhetorical) during socio-technical controversies. It examines the debates on deep geothermal energy projects taking place within the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg in 2015.

Paper long abstract:

Structured around a case study of several public inquiries on the implementation of deep geothermal energy sites within the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg in 2015, this paper shows that in the midst of the controversy, stakeholders are constrained by and invested in different territories (physical, legal, symbolical, rhetorical) to support their points of view. In this context, the administrative territories (municipal banns, public inquiries sites) are facing the realities of geographical, geological, demographical and economical territories. These territories do not overlap and are leaving open the questions about the benefits and harms of geothermal energy, the legitimacy of the decisions that were taken.

This debate also led the different stakeholders to reinterpret/rethink their own territories: living spaces, natural environment as well as political life, information or debate territories. To do so, they draw knowledge and arguments from different worlds of reference (scientific, political, associations...). Other strategies are sometimes implemented when facing a robust legal framework: local residents are recruiting allies from the political sphere, taking legal action before the administrative court… In short, they are investing territories on which they had sometimes never ventured before. However, time will show if the industrials and the authorities will consider these words and actions to be legitimate or not.

We will assess the appropriation of these territories and how science, technology and industry are becoming public affairs by intersecting three corpus: notices and documents produced during the public inquiries, interviews with stakeholders, local residents and journalists and, finally, an analysis of the local media.

Panel T046
New Technologies, social practices and social conflict - sustainable energy transitions as a field of contention
  Session 1 Saturday 3 September, 2016, -