Boursier Post-Doctorat


Faculté de Droit, de Science politique et de Criminologie
Département de science politique

ULiège address
Bât. B31 Département de science politique
Quartier Agora
place des Orateurs 3
4000 Liège 1
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Martin Denoun has a PhD in sociology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). In 2022, he defended his dissertation entitled From energy salvation to the rescue of the French nuclear industry Investigating the evolution of visions of the future at the heart of a socio-technical system. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at SPIRAL (UR Cité) where he joined the MUNDEC project, led by Céline Parotte and Pierre Delvenne. This project offers a comparison of the mundane decay of various European nuclear infrastructures.
As part of his PhD thesis, he studied the way in which the French nuclear industry projects itself into the future, by analyzing the important mutations that these visions of the future have undergone over the last decades and their consequences on the nuclear power infrastructure. More generally, he is interested in the way in which socio-technical systems become fragile and unravel.

The thesis

This thesis focuses on the way actors in the French nuclear sector have been projecting themselves into the future from the 1940s to the present. Ii shows that until the beginning of the 1980s, the commitment of these actors to the future took the form of a regime of salvation. In this regime, visions of the future propose to revolutionize our relationship to energy and matter by promising abundance and autonomy through the freedom from geological attachments. Since the end of the 1980s, and in an accelerated manner since the beginning of the 2000s, these actors have been engaging in the future under a rescue regime. In the rescue regime, visions of the future propose to preserve past achievements, and thus the possibility of a future, by maintaining the minimal conditions of existence of the socio-technical system. We are witnessing a major change that needs to be explained: how do actors who previously projected themselves into the eternity of a productive system cope with the credible hypothesis that it will come to an end? To describe this mutation, this thesis gives a central role to the nuclear fuel infrastructure. Empirically, the investigation focuses on the programs, projects and scenarios that commit the nuclear power industry to the long term. It is based on a large corpus of interviews, a large corpus of documents and a selection of archives.

Research field

  • Sociologie générale
  • Sociologie de la science
  • Histoire de la technique