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The Pragmatic Collective Interest as the Product of Civic Deliberation: The Case of Pesticide Management in Belgium

By François Mélard and Marc Mormont


Through the issue of pesticide management in Belgium, this article offers an empirical and conceptual grasp on what Ulrich Beck called the second-order reflexive modernity; that which is exercised among citizens when they are confronted with threatening and uncertain situations. To achieve this, we use two case studies of two public policy instruments, which we offer to the public for discussion: food product labelling, and the modelling of toxic effects linked to pesticide use. To this end, we organised two focus groups designed to encourage discussion, composed of citizens/practitioners. The results obtained plead in favour of a collective deconstruction-reconstruction of these tools and can lead to what we propose calling a “pragmatic collective interest.” This “pragmatic collective interest” can take the form of a new set-up or new associations that enable the coexistence of conflicting propositions and points of view, and a suspension of efforts to hierarchize causes and required solutions

Topics: participatory research, pesticide, food, deliberation, reflexivity, governance, Environmental sciences, GE1-350, Geography. Anthropology. Recreation, G, DOAJ:Environmental Sciences, DOAJ:Earth and Environmental Sciences, Environmental effects of industries and plants, TD194-195, Renewable energy sources, TJ807-830
Publisher: MDPI AG
Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.3390/su5052233
OAI identifier:
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