[Closed] Call for papers | Socio

Until November 20th, 2021 | Theme: the frugality of research

The journal Socio is launching a call for papers on the theme of “the frugality of research.” The dossier is coordinated by Laëtitia Atlani-Duault (IRD), Dana Diminescu (IMT Paris), Antoine Hardy (Centre Émile-Durkheim)
and Arnaud Saint-Martin (CESSP - CNRS).

Intentions for contributions (title, two-page abstract and bibliography) should be sent to Socio before 20 November 2021.

Papers should be submitted by 15 January 2022.

Axis 1. The frugality of research: genealogy of a notion

A first approach would be to trace the genealogy of the notion of “frugality,” to identify its “cause entrepreneurs” (Becker, 1963), whether they are “gurus” (Navi Radjou, Vijay-Govindarajan) or middle managers, the spaces of circulation (journals, international bodies, etc.) and the financial flows that accompany its economic development. It is a way of updating the different definitions and their intersections with other concepts that seem close, such as reverse innovation. Is frugality a notion in search of scientificity to qualify an old managerial practice? Reducing costs with a constant minimum quality, all to increase demand and multiply sales, does not seem in itself a particularly “innovative” idea. What then is the “novelty” of this frugality? 

Does frugality renew the old technicist promise, in a low-tech version this time, but without necessarily invalidating its limits and ambivalences, which Socio has already discussed (Compagnon and Saint-Martin, 2020)? In this sense, understanding frugality can consist of analysing the numerous inventions and announcements that have marked its history: the Tata group’s Nano for 2,000 dollars, houses for 300 dollars, battery-powered fridges, electrocardiograms, water filters or solar lamps at prices well below their usual levels, or the solidarity telephony developed by Emmaüs Défi in partnership with the operator SFR... These objects are often intended for populations that do not have access to basic goods. Does frugal innovation express the belief that the market and innovation are the most effective responses to social problems?

Axis 2. Towards a “frugal” moment in research?

A second way of looking at this theme is to focus on the links between frugality and research in a context where the effects of ecological change are increasingly documented by scientific work. Achieving both political and climatic objectives (limiting global warming to +1.5° C. or +2° C. compared to the pre-industrial era) requires reducing greenhouse gas emissions from a large number of activities.

Many articles seek to evaluate the “carbon footprint”—which groups together several greenhouse gases expressed in CO2 equivalent—of the various dimensions of scientific work (doctorate, campus, publication of an article, conference, air travel, etc.). Why does assessing the carbon footprint of scientific activities raise the question of its frugality? What about life and earth sciences and the humanities and social sciences? Frugality can also be understood as scientific objects that investigate the margins of the productive system, for example in the relationship with waste (Hajek, 2020).

Scientists are also committed to a less resource-intensive science. These are national (Citizen Science) or regional (Ecopol) associations that question the social conditions of research and go so far as to call for a boycott of the 5G (Atecopol). Or who are developing a tool to assess the carbon footprint of laboratories (Labos 1point5). What would be the forms of scientific cooperation and knowledge sharing within the framework of more sober research? And are research policies in other countries shaping a frugal research or are they extending a big science model? The contributions may focus on documenting socio-political contexts abroad, such as Brazil or India.

Axis 3. Research, between suffered and chosen frugality?

A reflection on “scientific frugality” cannot be abstracted from the degradation of scientific work in France (Beaud and Millet, 2021; Granger, 2015), especially at the end of a year caught between a research reform and the context of Covid-19. Is the frugality of research the other name for a scientific resourcefulness that may have always existed but which today takes on the contours of a degraded form of work, the most characteristic features of which are prolonged by the recent law on research programming (Harari-Kermadecet et al., 2020; Stiegler and Pébarthe, 2020; Musselin, 2020)?

Could it also be, following the calls for slow science at the turn of the 2010s, the expression of a desire to develop other ways of working scientifically, with slow science being a way of “doing less, but better, more consciously and with the greatest number” (Coutellec, 2012)?

At the level of the individual, the laboratory or the university, or at the level of research evaluation and control bodies, frugality does not entail the same possibilities or the same risks. It also raises the question of science and politics. Who decides, and how, whether or not research should be frugal?

 

Calendar

Proposals for articles (approximately 5,000 characters, 2-3 pages, including bibliographies and notes) should be submitted by 20 November 2021 to the editorial secretariat: <socio@msh-paris.fr>. They must allow for a precise understanding of the research material on which the article will be based, as well as its problematic and the intellectual approach in which the author/ess is involved, the main theses and results of the research carried out and the main concepts and references used.

After acceptance of the proposal, the article, approximately 35,000 signs (including notes and bibliography) should reach the journal by 15 January 2022 at the latest. It will then be submitted to the reading panel of the journal and external reviewers.

A particular effort in writing and style is expected, enabling the issues dealt with in the article to be set in a perspective generating interest beyond the restricted circle of specialists.

The authors are invited to respect as far as possible the recommendations listed on the site of the journal at the address: <https://journals.openedition.org/socio/547>.

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18 October 2021
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