“Natural” risks and catastrophes appeared in the international arena in the early 1990s. A real « world » of “natural” catastrophes has emerged internationally and has become more and more institutionalized. This study raises questions such as: how has this space been built? How do actors legitimize its necessity? What does it tell us about the way the contemporary world manages fears globally? A diachronic approach of this double process of internationalization and institutionalization allows the author to situate the phenomenon in the historical and global context, and notably of a context of transformation of the notion of security. The sociological analysis of the main multilateral organizations that contribute to forming this space invites us to apprehend the various lines of tension that cross over, and to foresee its complexity. Despite the many attempts to make this space appear as a “community” of sense and practices, strong disparities characterize the actors’ approaches.

Damien Krichewsky

The post-interventionist development adopted by Indian governments from the mid-1980s onwards has enabled companies to further participate in the economic growth. Still, growth benefits are very unevenly distributed while social and environmental externalities weigh more and more on Indian society. In such a context, while public regulation tends to reduce social and environmental judicial constraints in order to encourage rapid growth of investments, civil society groups are intensifying their regulatory actions on private companies, and advocate for a balance of public policies in favor of a better protection of the social groups most affected by economic activity, and for a better protection of the environment. As a response, big companies are revising their strategies and practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR), to preserve their social legitimacy and the conciliatory attitude of the State. This study explores the recomposition of relationships and balances of power between economic actors, the State and the civil society, in a context of national modernization. It provides a detailed analysis of stakes and dynamics within public and civil society regulation, as well as companies’ self-regulations.

Isabelle Rousseau

Facing a very complex environment with many economical, geopolitical and climate uncertainties and risks, National and International Oil Companies have been looking for a more rationale organizational structure to hold out against competition. This is the problem Pemex – the Mexican National Oil Company - which is third-ranked in world oil production, has been facing with. The reform process is not easy: it implies changes to the Constitution. With the recent democratization of the political regime, none of the major political parties alone is dominant in the Congress and has the capacity to push through such changes. Since the beginning of the nineties, the teams who governed Pemex tried to reply the following questions: Which kind of organizational mechanisms would allow Pemex to conserve its condition as a National Company and, in the same time, to be managed with the private sector principles and criteria? More concretely, is it possible to stimulate a market context inside a state monopoly without modifying the text of the Constitution? How can a new labor culture be created when the very influential Oil Trade Union has been maintaining a corporatist logic of the ancien régime? How to introduce criteria for corporate social responsibility when secrecy has been part of the traditions in the management of the company? What kind of evaluation is it possible to make nowadays about the reforms those managers offered?

Yves Tiberghien

Since the mid-1990s, a global political battle has developed around one of the most promising industries of the future: biotechnology. While transgenic technology showed great promise and became widely adopted in North America, it also became the target of a global resistance movement including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), key states, and international organizations. The emerging consensus among OECD countries embedded in the 1994 WTO agreement quickly collapsed after 1999, as the EU, Japan, Korea, and other countries led a counter-movement. The battle entails several dimensions—modern technology and human progress, global trade, environmental protection, health, food security, development, democratic deficit, and cultural identity—making it one of the fault lines in globalization. State policy with respect to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) includes both national regulations and support for global standards in international negotiations such as the 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. This study analyzes the stakes in the battle for global governance, the key actors, and the principal battlefields. It then focuses on the roles of two key players, the EU and Japan, and how they led the move toward a more precautionary approach. The study reveals the political mechanisms behind this transformation, emphasizing the role of emerging civil society movements as the determining trigger for policy change.

Florence Padovani

The study of the population movements caused by the major Chinese hydraulic projects reveals the true extent of the change which has come about in relations between the State and society in China. The construction of the Three Gorges dam – which led to considerable controversy both within China and beyond – is a prime case in point. As well as its social consequences, this infrastructure project has ramifications in the political, economic and legal domains, notably because of the forced migrations which it has entailed. The manner in which this question has been managed – both by central government, which planned the project, and by the provincial governments, which had to manage time constraints and financial and human resources at first hand – illustrates the extent to which the country has moved away from the authoritarian approach which had currency under the rule of Chairman Mao. The study of the project provides insights into the manner in which the authorities on the ground actually applied the directives received from the Centre, and into the difficulty encountered by the rulers in Beijing in ensuring that their centralised vision of the new China holds sway. The way in which the sensitive issue of forced migrations has been managed highlights what is at stake in the disputes between the various players, i.e. officials in the many ministries concerned, local and provincial authorities, displaced populations and host populations. The specific modes of justification employed by each group provide pointers towards an understanding of the complexity of China's new "civil society".