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Experts et consultants au service de l'action publique locale : une approche pragmatique du travail de l'ingénierie privée

Abstract : In urban and environmental planning, the private engineering actors hold a growing place in the implementation of public policies. At times considered as “experts”, these invisible elements of projects are known for assisting local authorities on technical dimensions. Incidentally, they are not impervious to the contemporary mutations of capitalism, which affect local public action. In this context, they become actors of change and support renewed approaches to face a supposed complexification. Based on an ethnographic investigation, the thesis describes the work of engineering and consulting firms on local public action. The framework characterized by the pragmatic sociology of tests allows us to understand the work carried out to develop mechanisms, as well as to produce categories and critiques, which is the guiding principle of their activity. This research work documents a global normative change around the concept of project at the expense of a technicist rationality, which modifies local public action where private engineering represents a mirror. Firstly, in terms of organization and work, the expert’s practices are downgraded in the face of the animation capabilities given to the project’s leader. However, the latter is subjected to the contradictory orders stemming from the permanent discussion. Secondly, facing the client, engineering is increasingly known as a “consultant” to transform the executive relationship into a partnership. This coordination creates the negotiation of needs throughout the mission. Moreover, the global changes that divide the work into a planning work encourage a more local and uncertain coordination, at the expense of a technocratic State. Relying on private engineering is seen as a way to regain flexibility between an increasing number of actors. Lastly, the engineering work throughout the projects showcases, beyond technique, the important political work in the attribution of roles to carry out a project. Ultimately, this study shows the evolution of coordination in the construction of space, between the preservation of mechanisms of linear decision-making and new modalities of iterative exchanges. This compromise leads to the containment of political debates over the project’s ends, while priority is given to the means to accomplish it.
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Contributor : Nicolas Bataille <>
Submitted on : Sunday, May 3, 2020 - 10:39:22 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 10:54:03 AM

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  • HAL Id : tel-02518433, version 2

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Nicolas Bataille. Experts et consultants au service de l'action publique locale : une approche pragmatique du travail de l'ingénierie privée. Architecture, aménagement de l'espace. Université de Tours, 2020. Français. ⟨tel-02518433v2⟩

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