i3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217)

Institut Interdisciplinaire de l'Innovation

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”Doing ‘with’ to repair the world? The challenges of repair cultures”
05 June 2023 • 9h30-16h30 • Le Maltais Rouge

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Faire ‘avec’ pour réparer le monde ? Les enjeux des cultures de la réparation

Doing ‘with’ to repair the world? The challenges of repair cultures

Coordinators of this study day of the “Living in Transition” workshop:
Laurence Allard[1], Clément Marquet[2] and Jérôme Boissonade[3]

Faced with the challenges of the new climate regime, the massive destruction of biodiversity and the economic, cultural and social damage caused by neo-liberal globalization, the critique of the consumerist model, co-constitutive of the rise of industrial society, calls for a profound transformation of the modes of production and use of objects, and especially the practices of discarding. Consideration of our daily consumer objects’ life cycle on a planetary scale involves redefining the modalities of use and the development of infrastructures to ensure the maintenance and the repair of all things. The imperative of sobriety, omnipresent in the situation of energy crisis, intends to capture this call for the slowdown of consumption and the alleviation of the pressures on fossil and mineral resource extraction and the reduction of the accumulation of tons of waste. In this context, a growing number of actors emphasize the pressing need for a reversal of values: sustainability versus disposability, reuse versus abandonment, repair versus destruction, robustness versus obsolescence, maintenance versus innovation, redirection versus transition.

For this session of the “Living in Transition” workshop, we propose to study the multiple facets of this impulse towards sustainability, and to carefully analyze the tensions that this inversion of value may provoke. Making things last or repairing them are not “hypergoods” in themselves. After a period marked by “sustainable development”, how can we question both the possibilities and the limits of maintenance and repair brought about by ecological transition policies? While receiving new attention, with the emergence of socially valued sites, the practices of repair, waste sorting and reuse are also old practices: what can we learn from what is often played out at the margins, and how can we avoid the sudden spotlight on third places, makerspaces and other repair cafés from producing an exclusion of the most marginal social actors? How can we give a legitimate place to situated knowledge and infra-ordinary gestures alongside technical expertise? Moreover, the problem of obsolescence cannot be considered only from the consumers’ point of view, it is actively dependent on designers: how does the urgency of sustainability redefine design and production practices? To what extent does appropriation through transformation allow for a re-examination of the relationship to things and for overcoming the opposition between market value and use value? Finally, to what extent can the relationship to others and to time characteristic of most “cultures of repair” take a part in ways of doing and living that have environmental and social justice as their horizon?

To address these questions, we will welcome researchers in the sociology of science and technology, in anthropology and in design sciences.


Matinée (9h30-12h) “Maintenir et concevoir”

Introduction de Clément Marquet

  • Jérôme Denis[4] & David Pontille[5] : « Qui prend soin des choses ? Quelques enseignements des luttes pour le « droit à la réparation »
  • Gauthier Roussilhe[6]: « Les designers numériques à l’épreuve de l’écoconception et de l’héritage des infrastructures »


Après-midi (14h – 16h30) “Récupérer et réparer”

Introduction de Laurence Allard

  • Delphine Corteel[7]: « Faire avec les déchets : bricoler et réparer dans un monde abîmé »
  • Nicolas Nova[8] & Anaïs Bloch[9]: « Réparation, entretien, ré-emploi, modification, détournement : une typologie de la prolongation des choses »

Discussion et mots de conclusion

[1] Laurence Allard, Lecturer, sociologist of digital uses, IRCAV-Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle/ Lille University-Department of Culture
[2] Clément Marquet, Research Assistant, Center for the Sociology of Innovation, Mines Paris – PSL, i3; coordinator of the WG “Digital environmental policies” of the GDR 2091 Internet, AI & Society.
[3] Jérôme Boissonade, Associate Professor at the University of Littoral (ULCO), co-director of the UMR 7218 LAVUE and member of the ALTER research team (Paris 8 University).
[4] Jérôme Denis, Professor, Center for the Sociology of Innovation, Mines Paris – PSL, i3.
[5] David Pontille, CNRS Research Director, Center for the Sociology of Innovation, Mines Paris – PSL, i3.
[6] Gauthier Roussilhe, PhD student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).
[7] Delphine Corteel, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Reims Champagne-Ardenne University, Laboratoire REGARDS EA 6292.
[8] Nicolas Nova, Anthropologist, HEAD – Geneva (HES-SO).
[9] Anaïs Bloch, Artist and scientific assistant in anthropology, HEAD – Geneva (HES-SO)




Study day organised by the network Approches Critiques du Développement Durable (ACDD)

in partnership with the working group “Politiques environnementales du numérique” of GDR CIS (Centre Internet Société)

with the support of the Fondation de l’Écologie Politique.


05 June 2023
9 h 30 min - 16 h 30 min
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Le Maltais Rouge
40 rue de Malte
Paris, 75011 France
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