The potentiality of disasters forces us to rethink progressive, yet non-linear definitions (“instauration,” in Souriau vocabulary) of risk, space, and expertise. Following a symmetrical approach, this work explores several moving dimensions of the subject and space “at risk” in the San Francisco Bay Area, within the shared experience of an epistemic community waiting for a major earthquake – “the Big One” – to unfold. With a Geography, Science and Technologies Studies perspectives, we will look at the complex system of relations that co-construct the risk of earthquakes and the ways in which this successive instauration convene transformations in the making of space, the definition of risk, and finally, the translation of this scientific work into public policies and the figure of the expert.
Drawing from in-depth empirical research of the Bay Area, analyzing the community of “Earthquake Junkies”—as these experts called themselves—and other risk-conscious residents, this work emphasizes the role of experience and emotions in multiple interlaced processes, connecting risk, space, and expertise.
Following this exploration will see that the rigid definition that have separated science and experience, rationality and emotion, expertise and lay perception should be recomposed in favor of a more systematic approach that takes into account the role of the different dimensions of knowledge. As a prospect for a better understanding of the complex definition of risk in the public sphere, this research also proposes a framework to think about the definition of the subject “at risk,” as well as allows for reflection on the establishment of closest relation between scientific and non-scientific knowledge.
Key words: risk, earthquake, expertise, instauration.
Soutenance de thèse : mardi 6 janvier 2015
Doctorat en Géographie
Année d’inscription en thèse : 1er janvier 2009
Ecole doctorale : VTT – Ville, Transports et Territoires