The cultural logics in the field of scientific policy advice in France

Analyzing the justifications in the organizational identity of think tanks

The number of think tanks in environmental and energy policies has rapidly grown since the 1990s in France. The study analyzes the ways think tanks legitimate themselves and how they qualify their expertise in order to explore the field of scientific policy advice in environmental and energy policies. Based on the analysis of 59 mission statements, the study shows that six of Boltanski and Théve-not's orders of worth are used to gain legitimacy and to characterize the expertise of the think tanks. The inspired and the ecological order of worth take up the greatest share in the mission statements.

The author

Thomas Laux works as a post-doctoral research fellow in sociology the the University of Bamberg at the Chair of Sociology, especially Sociological Theory. He obtained his PhD in 2015 from the University of Heidelberg. From August to October 2017, he was a visting fellow at the Collège d’études mondiales at the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris. His research focusses on political sociology, especially civil society and social movements, as well as on cultural sociology.

The text

Visiting fellow at the Collège d’études mondiales by Professeur Dominique Méda (Chair Ecologie, travail et emploi) from August to October 2017; financially supported by the Collège d’études mondiales and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB) as part of the project «Changing Societies - New Frameworks for Societal Policies and Decision Making».

Citing this document​: 

Thomas Laux, The cultural logics in the field of scientific policy advice in France. Analyzing the justifications in the organizational identity of think tanks, FMSH-WP-2018-139, décembre 2018.

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