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ECCSSafe guidelines for larger scale research

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Guidelines for larger scale research

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ECCSSafe guidelines for larger scale research

  1. 1. 1 ECCSSafe – Exploring the contribution of civil society to safety Deliverable 3: Proposal of guidelines for larger-scale research 25th May 2016 Authors: Stéphane Baudé (Mutadis, France) Gilles Hériard Dubreuil (Mutadis, France) Drago Kos (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) Nadja Železnik (Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe – Slovenia Country office) Zsuzsanna Koritár (EnergiaKlub, Hungary)
  2. 2. 2 Table of contents 1. Introduction........................................................................................................................3 2. Identification and characterization of the contribution of civil society to safety and safety culture ......................................................................................................................................5 3. Safety as a public affair and definition of the “public” associated to safety.......................6 4. Understanding of safety and safety culture.......................................................................6 5. Governance of hazardous activities and safety governance.............................................7 6. Controversies and co-framing of safety issues with stakeholders.....................................8 7. Trust ..................................................................................................................................9 Annex – Grid of analysis of the case studies .........................................................................11
  3. 3. 3 1. Introduction From the 1990’s to now, the European context has been marked by the emergence and the reinforcement of reflections and research on the contribution of civil society to the quality of decisions concerning hazardous activities in risk governance studies (cf. TRUSTNET European research projects series, the works of O. Renn, the works of the International Risk Governance Council). It has also been marked by the development of various legal, institutional and regulatory arrangements aiming to organise participation of civil society and local stakeholders in decision-making concerning hazardous activities. The interactions between civil society and local actors on the one hand and institutional actors engaged in safety1 of industrial activities on the other hand are most often addressed either through the general issue of stakeholder involvement, perception studies, risk governance studies or through the more general issue of the exercise of democracy regarding technical issues. Social and human aspects of industrial safety are addressed through the analysis of human and organisation factors of safety that are focused either on the analysis of single organisations (e.g. operators2 ) and their safety culture or address a safety system where safety is the result of the actions and interactions of operators, regulators and experts. We can currently observe that some regulators and technical support organisations, in particular in the nuclear field (e.g. IRSN in France, SITEX network in Europe), are developing new approaches where civil society is incorporated in the safety system as an additional layer contributing to safety, moving from a 3-pillar safety approach (operators, regulators, experts) to a 4-pillar conception including civil society. In the same time, international organisations dealing with safety, in particular in the nuclear field, are evolving from a vision of engagement of civil society purely focused on the issue of acceptation of technological choices to an acknowledgement of a positive contribution of civil society to safety culture and to safety itself3 . In the field of radioactive waste management, the COWAM (Community waste Management) European research project series4 have emphasised the contribution of civil society to safety culture. In the nuclear field, empirical studies5 have also started to emphasise the role of civil society as a contributor to safety. However, this renewed role of civil society as regards safety has not yet been investigated from a theoretical point of view. In this context, the ECCSSafe (Exploring Civil Society Contribution to Safety) research project6 aims to further explore the contribution of civil society to industrial safety by providing a theoretical framework for the analysis of this contribution, analysing three concrete cases in 1 The concept of industrial safety is defined as the set of technical provisions, human means and organisational measures internal and external to industrial facilities, destined to prevent accidents and malevolent acts and mitigate their consequences. 2 In this document, the word “operator” refers to the whole organisation that operates a hazardous facility (e.g. the electricity company operating a power plant). 3 See notably the report of the IAEA International nuclear safety group “INSAG-20: Stakeholder Involvement in Nuclear Issues” (2006), which states that the “involvement of stakeholders in nuclear issues can provide a substantial improvement in safety. 4 See the final reports of the European research projects COWAM, COWAM 2 and COWAM in Practice available on the COWAM website www.cowam.com 5 See P. Richardson, P. Rickwood, Public Involvement as a Tool to Enhance Nuclear Safety, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, 2012. The study notably concludes that “there are tangible benefits to be gained from a more frank relationship between the nuclear power industry and the public, … [which] appears to represent a possible untapped asset for enhancing and maintaining safety. 6 ECCSSafe is supported by the French Foundation for a Culture of Industrial Safety (Foncsi)
  4. 4. 4 the nuclear field and in other industrial fields in Europe and identifying key issues to address in further research and proposing guidelines for a larger scale research. ECCSSafe has developed and analysed three case studies: • The engagement of the Local Information Commissions attached to nuclear sites in the decennial safety reviews of the reactors of Fessenheim nuclear power plant (France) • The engagement of local actors and NGOs on the hazardous waste incinerator of Dorog (Hungary) • The local partnerships for site selection for a low and intermediate level radioactive waste in Slovenia These case studies and their transversal analysis 7 revealed that, under favourable circumstance, civil society can (and actually did in these cases) contribute to safety of industrial activities and safety culture. The analysis of the case studies also led to the identification of conditions favouring the engagement of civil society on safety issues and the development of their contribution to safety and safety culture. ECCSSafe is however an exploratory study with a limited scope and, as such, it does not have a sufficient empirical basis to deliver an in-depth analysis of the issue of the contribution of civil society to safety and safety culture. If some of the lessons learnt from the case studies are of general application, their reduced empirical basis calls for confirmation through larger-scale research. In particular all questions identified in the grid of analysis of the ECCSSafe theoretical and methodological framework (see annex 1) should be considered as questions open for further research. The objective of the present document is to make propositions for larger-scale research on the contribution of civil society to safety and safety culture. Based on the transversal analysis of the 3 case studies developed in ECCSSafe, the current documents identifies different issues that could be tackled in a larger-scale research. 7 see ECCSSafe deliverable 2: Case studies and transversal analysis.
  5. 5. 5 2. Identification and characterization of the contribution of civil society to safety and safety culture Specification and typology of contributions of civil society to safety The analysis of the case studies has led to identify five different contributions of civil society to safety: • Stretching of regulators and organisations operating hazardous facilities; • Identifying undetected safety issues; • Pushing to reinforce some dimensions or include new dimensions in safety assessment; • Acting as an additional layer of quality insurance of the safety system; • Contributing to improve the transparency and readability of the safety system. Larger-scale research could refine this identification further and try to establish a more complete typology of the contributions of civil society to safety, based on a wider empirical basis. Conditions for effective contribution of civil society to safety The analysis of the case studies also enabled to identify different favourable conditions for the contribution of civil society to safety: • The existence of a clear and legitimate governance framework for he engagement of civil society in safety issues; • Access of civil society to information; • Access of civil society to expertise, including independent expertise and institutional expertise; • Technical mediation enabling to establish links between non-technical actors and issues which include technical dimensions; • Resources for empowerment of civil society actors; • Balance of power between civil society and institutional actors. Larger-scale research based on a diversified empirical basis could refine further this identification of favourable conditions, and help sorting out what conditions are necessary conditions for the contribution of civil society to safety and what conditions are only favourable but not necessary conditions. The analysis of case studies lasting over long durations (two of the processes of engagement of civil society considered in ECCSSafe developed over several decades) showed that the capacity of civil society to influence safety also depends on cultural and political factors that constitute the background of these interactions. While addressing the conditions for civil society contribution to safety, wider-scale research should therefore not only investigate foreground conditions (procedures, existence of a governance framework, of technical mediation, of resources available for he stakeholders, etc.) but also address the cultural, political, structural background conditions of the development of the contribution of civil society to safety. For this, the empirical basis considered should have sufficient historical depth (typically decades) to catch the evolutions of these background conditions.
  6. 6. 6 3. Safety as a public affair and definition of the “public” associated to safety The three case studies has showed different processes of formation of a “public” associated to safety issues, in John Dewey’s sense of the “public”, i.e. the people affected by an activity, which progressively structure to investigate and influence this activity. Larger-scale research can investigate further the social and political dynamics of formation of such a “public” and the conditions that facilitate (or conversely hinder) its formation. In this regards, several questions could be addressed: • What is the dynamics of co-evolution between the constitution of the public of a safety issue and the framing of the issue at stake? • How do background conditions (cultural, political and historical background) and foreground conditions (processes and procedures, means, resources…) affect the dynamics of formation of a public? • How does this public recognises itself as such? How is the heterogeneity of this public dealt with (by this public and by institutions)? Are there different layers in this public (e.g. civil society actors and non-institutional experts supporting them) and how are they interrelated? Are there collective learning processes or processes of cultural convergence at stake between the actors composing this public? • What is the role of the divide between expert and lay people in the formation of this public, and how knowledge and expertise are mobilised during the formation of the public? These questions can be considered with different time scopes (particular processes of mobilisation on safety issues or longer-term processes like the progressive emergence on the CLIs and the ANCCLI as actor in the safety system in France), as well as with different space scopes (a particular territory or a particular industrial site, or a wider national or supranational scope). 4. Understanding of safety and safety culture The case studies considered in ECCSSafe showed that, provided adequate access to expertise and technical mediation, civil society actors can develop their own understanding of what determines the safety of an industrial activity or facility. In that sense, civil society actors can develop a culture of safety, that is, a stable understanding of various factors determining of safety (including human, social and organisational factors) combined to values determining how these factors should be managed and what level of performance should be associated to them. If we consider culture in its broad definition of norms, values, knowledge, attitudes, behaviours… shared among a group of people, larger-scale research can address the question what is the safety culture shared by the different civil society actors engaging on a same safety issue, at the local level (e.g. a hazardous facility) or at the national or supra- national level (e.g. safety in a particular field of activity, or public policies related to safety). This differs from safety culture in its usual definition, which stems from organisational culture and is most often related to a considered organisation. One example of such organisation- oriented definition of safety culture is the definition given by the IAEA INSAG 4 report: “Safety Culture is that assembly of characteristics and attitudes in organizations and individuals which establishes that, as an overriding priority, nuclear plant safety issues receive the attention warranted by their significance.” In order to describe the safety culture of civil society actors, other definitions of safety culture need be used or developed, which are not related to a specific organisations, but to the
  7. 7. 7 group of civil society actors engaging in a given safety issue, or the “public” of this safety issue. In particular, the issue of the development of a public related to a safety issue can be addressed together with the issue of the progressive sharing and development of a safety culture shared within this public. Finally, differentiating these two types of safety culture raises the issue of the interaction between the two types of safety culture and how the corporate safety culture of operators of hazardous facilities, regulators and their technical support organisations is and can influenced by the safety culture of the “public” of the safety issues at stake (and conversely). This hybridisation between these two safety cultures raises different questions that could be addressed by larger-scale research: • How can the safety culture of civil society actors and local actors be defined and characterised? • How can processes of hybridisation of safety culture between civil society actors and institutional actors be described and characterised grounding on empirical evidence? • What are the social, political, historical and cultural factors that favour (or hamper) this hybridisation of safety cultures? How do the different cultural systems (including value systems) of institutional and non-institutional actors and social factors (including social inequalities) influence this hybridisation process? • What are the formal and informal processes through which this hybridisation takes place? What is the influence of the legal, regulatory frameworks and more generally the governance frameworks on the hybridisation of safety cultures. 5. Governance of hazardous activities and safety governance The cases considered in ECCSSafe show examples of governance frameworks aiming to enable the engagement of civil society in safety issues. Larger-scale research can rely on a wider empirical basis to perform a comparative study of a variety of governance frameworks aiming to the engagement of civil society in safety issues. A typology o these governance system could be developed on this basis. The following questions could be addressed: • What are the rationales for including civil society in the governance of the considered hazardous activity or safety issue? Is civil society considered as a contributor to safety? If it is not the case, how do civil society actors use the existing governance framework for supporting their claims to engage in safety issues and contribute to safety? • Is safety a common good between all actors in the considered governance framework? If it is the case, what are the formal or informal rules ensuring that this status of common good is preserved and developed? • How is the governance framework adapted or transformed as a result of the engagement of civil society actors? Regarding the latter question, some of the case studies showed that there has been in some cases a co-evolution process in which three dynamics are interwoven: • The evolution of the governance system related to a particular hazardous activity or safety issue; • The evolutions of the culture, organisation, objectives, … of each institutional or non- institutional actor engaged in the governance of the considered hazardous activity or safety issue. • The engagement of civil society actors and the progressive formation of the “public” associated to the considered hazardous activity or safety issue; • The evolution of the framing of safety issues (cognitive evolutions);
  8. 8. 8 However, this co-evolution could not be characterised or its determinants grasped through an exploratory study like ECCSSafe. Larger-scale research could investigate these co-evolution processes relying on an empirical basis with some historical depth, addressing the following questions: • Are the changes at stake of an adaptive or transformative nature? What are the political, cultural, cognitive, organisational… ruptures that are observed and what are their determinants? • How are these evolutions related to the actions of civil society actors or to evolutions of the political, cultural, social, economic… background? • What are the foreground and background conditions that favour or at the contrary hinder the co-evolution process? • What are the mechanisms through which the different processes of change constituting the co-evolution process are interrelated? 6. Controversies and co-framing of safety issues with stakeholders Although the cases studies showed situations where there are diverging interpretations of the framing of safety issues (e.g. including the issue of retrievability of radioactive waste in the discussions about the low and intermediate level waste repository in Slovenia), they did not give opportunities to observe processes of development (and possibly resolution) of controversies. Yet, the issue of controversies while safety issues are addressed by a hybrid network composed of both institutional actors and civil society actors is relevant for larger-scale research. In particular, the Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as developed notably by Law, Latour and Callon8 provides some relevant powerful tools and instruments to analyse this issue. Some questions that can be addressed are: • How do controversies develop and are dealt with in such networks of institutional actors and civil society actors? What are the processes enabling to fruitfully integrate the different framings of a same safety issue? What are the foreground (procedural) conditions and background conditions (cultural, political, historical landscape) enabling evolutions of this framing? Do the controversies result in a “social construction of safety”? • How are technical and non-technical aspects (legal, social, ethical, moral aspects) addressed in these controversies? What are the conditions and means for mixing these aspects? How are the issues related to the justification of hazardous activities integrated in the safety debate? • What are the conditions and means for interaction between institutional experts (i.e. having a mandate in the institutional management of safety) and non-institutional experts (e.g. academics, NGO experts…)? • What are the conditions and means for interaction between expert and non-expert actors? Regarding the two latter issues, the case studies showed that for developing their own analysis and framing of safety issues, civil society actors often need to be supported by experts who support their process of investigation. Opening room for exchanges between civil society actors is not a guarantee that the expertise will actually be at the service of civil society investigations, as shows the case of the Local Partnerships in Slovenia. Civil society actors need that experts will not only give them access to information and 8 See section 4.4 of ECCSSafe deliverable 1: Theoretical and methodological framework, which deals with the actor-network theory and its possible application in the field of safety.
  9. 9. 9 expertise, but also that this be made in a way in which the inputs from experts actually fit the questions raised by civil society. In particular, the case studies also allowed identifying a specific function of technical mediation, which established bridges between technical information and expertise on the one hand and the questions posed by civil society in the other hand (which are often not posed in technical terms). The French case study showed that this could be made both by institutional and non-institutional experts. However, the analysis of the case studies did not specify the conditions enabling experts to play this role. Larger-scale research on this issue of access to expertise and interactions between expert and non-expert actors could therefore address the conditions for expertise to actually support civil society investigations. The function of technical mediation as such can be an object of research. Moreover, there could be several layers of technical mediation interfacing the general public, civil society organisations engaging in safety, knowledgeable actors, non- institutional and institutional experts. The French case showed that institutional actors (e.g. the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety – IRSN) have developed specific processes, practices, know-how in order to support civil society actors engaging in nuclear issues (including safety issues). The conditions of development of such specific professional practices by institutional experts could also be investigated in the framework of larger-scale research. Researching the expert/non-expert divide and interface also requires addressing the processes of development of knowledge, skills and even “lay expertise” by non-expert actors. In effect, professional standards in dealing with technologies are valid, even obligatory for experts, but the construction of sociotechnical relations are much more variable in other social groups. The process of development of knowledge and framing of safety issues by civil society actors and networks is not only a cognitive process but also depends on cultural factors, values, social skills and resources, … This process of developing skills and knowledge together with a framing of safety issues can result in the integration of new economic, social, political, … dimensions (e.g. the financial capacity of operators and influence of economic and financial aspect on the way firms operate hazardous facilities and on safety culture). Finally, as expertise is an object that is related both to knowledge and power (as showed in the works of Michel Foucaul), the mutual relations between the processes of knowledge and expertise building by civil society actors and the balance of power between civil society actors and institutional actors in safety issues could also be considered. 7. Trust The case studies have shown that trust is an important condition for the joint engagement of institutional actors and civil society actors in safety issues. The type of trust that is at stake is different from confidence (or blind trust); it is an informed trust fuelled by processes of regular testing and checking of the trustworthiness of the actors and regular interactions between these actors. This trust is two-sided: trust of civil society actors in the capacity of institutional actors to be transparent, honest and to take into account their contribution equally important as trust of institutions in the capacity of civil society actors to constructively engage in safety issues. This type of trust is not a given but develops (or is damaged) through the interactions between institutional actors and civil society. The issue of trust mingles institutional aspects and personal interactions (see e.g. the trust relations developed between staff members of the Dorog incinerator and members of the Environment Protection Association of Dorog). Larger-scale research can further develop the reflection on this mix between institutional and interpersonal aspects.
  10. 10. 10 Following Luhman’s and Giddens’ works on trust9 , larger-scale research can also investigate how trust relations enable integrating the (increasing) complexity of safety issues. Larger- scale research can notably tackle the following issues: how is the intervention of civil society is challenging the structure of the safety system? And what are the conditions and means enabling the engagement of civil society actors to recompose the safety system with new trust relations? Are there specific conditions or events that are more favourable to such recomposition? The issue of trust is also posed in the terms of trust of society at large (or trust of the public) in the safety system. Here, the issue of proximity and distance is also at stake as too much proximity between institutional actors (e.g. operators of hazardous facilities) and civil society actors can damage the trustworthiness of civil society actors in the eye of the public as analysed in the case of the Dorog incinerator. Larger-scale research can address the issue of how the engagement of civil society, and possible ensuing recomposition of the safety system and relationships between its actors, influences societal trust in this safety system. 9 See section 4.1 and 4.6 of ECCSSafe deliverable 1: Theoretical and methodological framework
  11. 11. 11 Annex – Grid of analysis of the case studies Understanding of safety and safety culture in the case study • What is the implicit understanding of safety in the case study? Is it a question of conformity with existing standards of safety? o Are there elements of safety culture and of understanding of safety shared between civil society actors and experts? • How does civil society contribute to safety and safety culture? o Identifying new questions that may impact safety that have been ignored or neglected by experts? o Questioning models and underlying hypothesis? o Stretching the experts and regulators? o Other? Definition of safety as a public affair and definition of the “public” associated to safety • Is safety meant to be addressed by operators and the authorities only? Or is safety understood as belonging to the affairs of the public for it can be adversely affected? o Is the expert/lay people divide in safety evaluations recognised as a problem or is this divide interpreted as “normal”, inevitable, or ignored …? • To what extent does “a public” exist as regards safety in the context of the case study? • What are the conditions for the public to develop its inquiries regarding safety? Are these conditions created by civil society? By public authorities? By the operators? • What is the statute of expertise? o To what extent does the public have access to existing expertise? To what extent does the public have the capacity and resources to develop its own expertise? o Are the players (and the public) in the position to make a distinction between facts (or lack of facts) and value options? Governance of hazardous activities and safety governance • What kind of governance is supporting the management of safety? Does it include explicitly or implicitly civil society as an actor in safety? • Does the governance of safety include interactions of several categories of actors with distinct and clear remits and deontological rules? • To what extent is safety perceived as a result of balanced and fair interactions of several public and private institutions together with components of the public? • Is safety recognised as a common good by civil society actors and other actors? What are the formal and informal arrangements used to manage in common safety as a common good and how is common good management articulated with public regulation and markets? How do actors contributing to safety adapt the existing formal and informal governance system to fit evolving needs and emerging issues? Controversies and co-framing of safety issues with stakeholders • What are the identified controversies in the process? What is the degree of polarisation of the participating public? Is the debate framed by a “pros and cons” implicit structure? To what extent do the several concerned parties in the case study regard safety as a common good beyond pro and cons positions? • Are controversies of purely technical nature or do they mingle scientific, technical,
  12. 12. 12 economic, legal and moral aspects? In this case, how is this mix dealt with? To what extent are the values ruling the expertise, the safety trade-off and the information gaps made explicit to the actors? o Is so called “social construction of technological safety” recognised in expert circles, activists and other stakeholders? • How do civil society actors access to information about hazardous activities and safety issues? For operators, authorities and experts, what are the rationales for making information available or conversely for concealing information? • Does the interaction with the public provoke some significant changes in the technical concepts as well as in the framing of the questions at stake? • To what extent does safety management take place in a larger perspective involving the justification of the activity? Do interactions with the public open the way to the reframing of the rationales that support this justification? • How is addressed the dilemma between “contributing to safety maintenance” and “avoiding the hazardous activity”? Trust • How rational and transparent are the conditions to establish trust in particular social situation? • Are there institutionalised possibilities to reinforce trust in industrial (technological) safety? • How much contingent outcome (unpredictable, undesirable events) are threatening trust in safety of particular technology? • How much this notion of trust as a link between faith and confidence is recognised and how much it is threatening the stability of technology operation? • How much trust in technology is dependent on trust in people who manage these technology (and vice versa)? • Is it possible to take “calculated risk” but be unaware of the dangers. How much these blindness is present in particular situation? • Is it possible to confirm this balance in particular social condition? • Is this “socialization” of risk recognised and accepted as normal, or is recognised and articulated as a problem? • The opposite of trust is not simply mistrust. In its most profound sense, the antithesis of trust is thus the state of mind which could best be summed up as existential angst or dread. Are such extreme qualifications recognised in expert and public discourses?

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