Citizen as Sensors’ Commitment in Urban Public Action: Case Study on Urban Air Pollution

Gwendoline, l’Her/Servières, Myriam/Siret, Daniel (2019)
In: International Journal of E-Planning Research 8(4), pp. 42-59.

Citizen as Sensors' Commitment in Urban Public Action: Case Study on Urban Air Pollution
“Based on a case study in Rennes, the article presents how a group of urban public actors re-uses methods and technology from citizen sciences to raise the urban air quality issue in the public debate. The project gives a group of inhabitants the opportunity to follow air quality training and proceed PM2.5µm measurements. The authors question the impact of the ongoing hybridisation between citizen science and urban public action on participants’ commitment. The authors present how the use of PM2.5-sensors during 11 weeks led to a disengagement phenomenon, even if the authors observe a strong participation to workshops. These results come from an interdisciplinary methodology using observations, interviews, and data analyses.”

“Analytical Framework
For Laurent Thévenot (Thévenot 2006), people are made of several commitments, which are combined and mixed in time and space. With the notion of regime of commitment (régime d’engagement), the sociologist considers the variability of behaviour during the action to adapt to the material environment and to the behaviour or actions of other people. He draws up a typology of commitment to make the distinction between the regime of familiarity (régime familier), the regime of regular action (régime du plan) and the regime of public justification (régime de justification publique). The regime of public justification describes the commitment, in which an actor justifies his or her action by their participation in a common good and by following principles and values. The regime of familiarity describes the commitments that come under routines, habits, and personal actions. In the regime of regular action, the actor is considered as a rational, autonomous from and unattached to their environment, whose commitment to a common action aims to realise their own agenda. With this framework, the sociologist shows that a commitment depends on a person’s capacity to coordinate with other actors and with their environment during an action.” (p. 44)

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