- Electronic voting at the French National Assembly. Prevent and contain the failure in the RepublicAbstract: The electronic voting system used by the French National Assembly’s Members of Parliament is presently receiving careful attention, as it must not fail under any circumstances. Nevertheless, the Standing Orders of the institution provide the voting procedures to be applied in the event of any malfunction on its part. In this article, I question these two apparently contradictory facts presented above. Why this imperative quest for reliability if there is an alternative way to vote? Conversely, why this regulatory provision if this system cannot fail? I begin by briefly retracing the history of this “voting machine” installed in the hemicycle of the Palais Bourbon since 1959, and then describe its infrastructure. In order to explain the feared risks, two failure situations that occurred in October 1997 are presented and analyzed, showing that the shortcomings of the machine are interpreted as those of the political system itself, i.e. that of the French Fifth Republic. To conclude, I detail the strategies undertaken by the parliamentary administration to achieve this objective of reliability, by showing that this voting machine meets the expectations to which it is subject thanks to invisible human activities are closely linked to its functioning. Overall, this article deals both with the cultural representations surrounding a technical device where the functioning of the State apparatus relies upon it, and the conditions of possibility of this technical reliability.
- The telephone operators of France’s Chamber of Deputies. Communication infrastructure and division of labor at the Palais Bourbon during the Third RepublicAbstract: This article deals with the transformation of the profession of MPs in France during the Third Republic, caused by the installation of the telephone and the creation of a service in charge of its operation at the Palais Bourbon, since 1881. The analysis of the historical archives of the Chamber’s quaestors shows that, due to various constraints, the appropriation of this means of communication was singular: it took the form of a delegated use. Instead of phoning by themselves, MPs progressively unloaded their calls on the telephonists, usher in a new dividing up of parliamentary work. The formalization of MPs' telephone use then illustrates the rationalization of French parliamentarism at the beginning of the 20th century.
- Twitter and Relations of Seduction between MPs and Journalists. The Quatre Colonnes and Digital SociabilitiesAbstract: This article describes how Twitter has made its way into the centre of the games of influence between MPs and journalists in the production of political news in France today. The analysis shows how the new uses of the media that Twitter facilitates enable Deputies to break free from a parliamentary institution that historically has closely controlled the media’s coverage of its activities. However, while this dynamic contributes to bringing into the open relations between the press and the Assembly, the modes of interaction between MPs and journalists in this space are not significantly different from those prevailing in the Quatre Colonnes (the hall where MPs and journalists meet).
- An Organic Metaphor about Reflexivity. Ethnography, Epistemologies and WritingAbstract: This paper discusses how reflexivity exercise, in anthropology and sociology, has become a know-how provided by the academic institution to its students. However, this know-how did not help the authors to explore their own PhD fieldwork, but rather led them to confusion and misunderstandings. Several discrepancies are identified here and some theoretical assumptions are questioned. The exercise of reflexivity is then reformulated to give legitimacy to forms of off-protocol writing, which require taking into account the slowness, the situated nature and the non-reproducibility of the process of knowledge production. Such a formulation leads to join methodological issues to the fieldwork ones which, according to the authors, produces a different rapport to the scientific statement.
- Free Software for the French National Assembly. Freedom of Code versus Freedom of UseAbstract: At the end of 2006, for the thirteenth legislature, the French National Assembly chose to install exclusively free software on the computers of parliamentary offices. The story of the evolution of this project, from its conception to its realization and its deployment to the users, illustrates what expectations this technology has aroused during the decade 2000-2010, and therefore the challenges they faced. The fact is that the project did not live up to initial expectations: due to the flexibility it brought to the design of the specific systems, free software was used more to resolve the challenges posed by the sponsors rather than those of the users. Paradoxically, the implementation of this project ultimately led to MPs perceiving free software as coercive and anachronistic.
- Alain Caillé (2014), « Anti-utilitarisme et paradigme du don. Pour quoi ? »
Published in Lectures, November 2014.
- Michel Naeples (2013), « Conjurer la guerre. Violence et pouvoir à Houaïlou (Nouvelle-Calédonie) »
Published in Lectures, June 2013.
- Jean-Loup Amselle (2012), « L’anthropologue et le politique »
Published in Lectures, November 2012.
- Alexandre Coutant (2012), « Internet et politique »
Published in Lectures, June 2012.
- Elénie Mitropoulou, Nicole Pignier (eds.) (2012), « De l’interactivité aux interaction(s) médiatrice(s) »
Published in Lectures, April 2012.
- Bernard Traimond (2012), « Penser la servitude volontaire. Un anthropologue de notre présent, Gérard Althabe »
Published in Lectures, February 2012.