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21/06/15 - Call for Papers - Participating in innovation, innovating in participation

Call for papers for a conference organized by the Interdisciplinary Institute on Innovation. It will take place on 3-4 December 2015 at Mines ParisTech (60 bd Saint-Michel, 75006 Paris, France).

The call for new forms of participation has become common in the public sphere, promising renewed forms of public engagement, more efficient industrial processes, and more democratic decision-making processes. Technological innovation is a particular case when considering current discourses of participation. It is both problematised as needing more developed or open forms of participation, and proposed as a mean for experimenting with original participatory formats, for example, in : crowdfunding, citizen science, amateur reviewing/rating, online communities for public debates, consumer participation in (participatory) product design.

1. Practices and sociotechnical devices

Sociotechnical devices are crucial resources for supporting involvement and participation as interactional accomplishments. These devices comprise participatory instruments such as public dialogue mechanisms, web platforms through which users interact with the content they are interested in, or user-oriented experiments undertaken by private companies.

• On what bases can these sociotechnical devices be analysed ?

• What kinds of infrastructures do they rely on ?

• How do these infrastructures become stabilised ?

Sociotechnical devices are inscribed in networks of professionals as well as in institutional landscapes : how can the ecologies they are embedded in, and partly shape, be accounted for ? For example, how can one analyse the situations where devices of participation are economic entities circulating in markets, or emerge as topics of public or private expertise ?

Analysis of sociotechnical devices can focus on the micro-processes whereby participants make sense of their engagement, possibly in relation with other multiple activities.

• How can we provide a fine-grained description of the activities whereby individuals are made participants, and act as such ?

2. Economic value of contributions

The outcomes of participatory initiatives may create economic value. For example, the contributions of users on travel, art or food-related websites have economic value for the companies being commented upon, as well as for the web-platform that gathers the users’ opinions.

Case studies of ways for creating value from the voluntary or involuntary contributions of users, including in the forms of digital marks they leave, are especially encouraged.

• What economic or business models sustain these initiatives ?

• How do these models shape particular modes of user participation ?

Analysis of examples could aim at understanding the political and economic dimensions of contemporary practices such as digital labour, crowdfunding, the use of lay expertise or citizen science by private companies or public bodies.

3. Participation as social ordering

Participation can be analysed as a social ordering process, since it allocates roles and responsibilities, makes it possible for some to have their voices heard but not others, and stabilises particular public problems at the expense of others.

• How can the inequalities shaped by participatory mechanisms in technological innovation be accounted for ?

• How can we characterise, at micro or macro levels, the hierarchical constructs that participation results in ?

These questions may be examined through the analysis of governance practices within emerging communities of practice, and also through the description of the gradual stabilisation of dominant forms of participation.

For paper proposals, please submit a title and an extended abstracts (max. 1000 words) by 21 June 2015.

Authors are invited by submit their title and abstract to the adress :

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 15 September 2015

Full papers corresponding to selected communications presented at the conference will be solicited for publication after the conference itself.

Contact and further information : Email :

More details on Calenda.