Methodological workshop and conference, July 2015 (en)

Transnational mega-events and global environmental governance: methodological issues and avenues of investigation

With support from the GIS Climat Environment et Société

Where? ISCC, 20 rue Berbier du Mets (75013, Paris, France)

When? 5th and 6th July 2015

> Click here to see the programme (pdf)

The next climate change conference (COP21) will be taking place in Paris in December (2015). This event, which will attract tens of thousands of people, is regularly presented as a historic opportunity to reinvigorate the global environmental process. A number of in-depth and long term studies have already been devoted to climate change negotiations and climate governance (see for example, Aykut and Dahan, 2015). Our ambition through this two-day seminar is to go beyond the climate negotiations per se by focusing on “transnational mega-events “ (Little, 1995): the most appropriate ways of studying them and their impact on global environmental governance.

In view of their size and their blurred boundaries, international mega-events – Earth Summits, World Social Forums or Climate and Biodiversity COPs – can be hard to study for individual researchers (Pommerole and Siméant, 2008; Brossius and Campbell, 2010; Foyer, 2015; Baptandier and Houdart, 2015). The diversity of actors, events and spaces of interaction, the complexity and range of issues, as well as countless temporal and spatial overflows, justify the need to adopt a collective approach for the study of on-going global governance processes.

With this in mind we have decided to organise a two-day seminar to share methodological experiences, publicize research outputs and collective research experiences.

The first day will take the shape of a methodological workshop. The purpose of the workshop will be to discuss different ways of collectively analysing mega-events. Drawing on past research experiences, we will collectively seek to answer the following questions: How to set up a research collective and make it work? How important is it to develop a shared research question? What is the most efficient way of monitoring activities in the run-up to mega-events? What are the potential logistical constraints? How do we divide up the work? What are the methodological and technical tools mobilised? How do we share data? How do we collaborate in showcasing and disseminating research material and findings? The workshop’s main purpose will be to share tips and tools that can easily be used by social science researchers involved in the collective study of transnational mega-events.

The second day, open to the public, will give participants the opportunity to present their key research findings. The purpose of these presentations will be to look at how mega-events influence global environmental processes (Campbell et al. 2015) and shape global governance. What are mega-events’ contributions to global environmental governance? What can we learn from the outcomes of these events (often presented as disappointing)? What do they tell us about global governance? What is the real impact of these events on national and local environmental politics? Does global environmental governance act as a “laboratory” for global governance? The morning session will be devoted to presentations of past non-climate related research projects. The afternoon session will focus on global climate governance and key issues relevant to the study of the COP21.

International Participants : Noella Gray, Karin Bäckstrand, Bjorn Ola Linner, Silke Beck, Christopher Rootes, Clare Saunders, Elisabeth Eide, Risto Kunelius, and the members of the ClimaCOP collective.


Brosius, P., Campbell, L., 2010, Collaborative event ethnography : conservation and development trade-offs at the fourth world conservation congress, Conservation and Society, vol. 8, 4, p. 245-255

Campbell, Lisa M., Catherine Corson, Noella J. Gray, Kenneth I. MacDonald, and J. Peter Brosius. 2014. Collaborative Event Ethnography of the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Global Environmental Politics 14(3): 1-20.

Foyer, J. (coord) « Regards croisés sur Rio+20 : la modernisation écologique à l’épreuve », Paris : CNRS éditions, 2015.

Little, P. E., 1995, Ritual, power and ethnography at the Rio Earth Summit, Critique of Anthropology, vol. 15 (3), p. 265-288.

Pommerolle M.E., Siméant J. (Coord.), 2008, Un autre monde à Nairobi, Le Forum Social 2007, Paris, Karthala.

Les questions de la confiance dans le réchauffement global : modélisation du climat, expertise et lien au politique