9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN12 Environment and Society

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Biodiversity Protection Building I, Auditório 4

From denunciation to institutionalization. How biodiversity becomes a public issue?

How do public environmental problems emerge? Who carry them on the public space? How some norms - considered as stable and almost intangible until now - are called into question? How to set new environmental standards? Based on frame analysis (Goffmann,1974), we will firstly present the analytical grid proposed by Trom and Zimmermann (2001) who identify five stages that are necessary to the institutionalization of a public problem: the denunciation of a disorder, the production of new category of thought, the mobilization of actors network, the integration of the categories of thought, the adjustment of the categories and, finally, their adjustment. Taking the incorporation of biodiversity stakes in forest management as an example, we will see that this institutionalization does not relate to all the aspects of the biodiversity nor all the actors potentially concerned. In a second time, we will see how the questioning on the new category of thoughts and knowledge as biodiversity, interrogates not only the contents of environmental norms but also, and more generally, our relation to norms. Social norms have a collective cognitive function, they are an instrument of reduction of complexity and a guide for action. But adhesion to the standard is much more reflexive than in the past. Besides one feature of our contemporary societies is the emergence of new devices of production and discussion of norms. Thus, we will see that we passed from a system where norms were fetishized to a rational and negotiated mode of production of norms, particularly into the field of the environment where many uncertainties reign.