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Moll-François Fabien

PhD student in History and Sociology of Science, EHESS

Postgraduate program: Health, Population and Social Policies, EHESS

Dissertation scholarship from the national cancer institute INCa

Contact: fabien_mollfrancois(at)hotmail.com

Dissertation title: Expertise, mobilization, and regulation: Trajectories in France of two environmental carcinogens, asbestos and dioxins

Under the supervision of Jean-Paul Gaudillière

The goal of this doctoral research is to produce a history of the French trajectory of dioxins and asbestos as environmental carcinogens. The research will use the tools of the history and sociology of science to undertake a comparative study of the key debates that have developed in France around these two substances since the 1970s. The proposal is to analyze the circulation among various arenas – scientific, administrative, legal, the media, and community-based organizations – that have made these substances cancer “problems” by highlighting three emblematic “affairs”: that of the Jussieu University campus, that of the asbestos-grinding plant in Aulnay-sous-Bois, and that of the waste incinerator in Gilly-sur-Isère near Albertville. The investigation will focus particularly on the one hand on the process by which professional carcinogens were turned into environmental carcinogens, and on the other hand on the increasingly important place, in these debates, of recourse to law and legal procedures at the expense of environmental risk management of cancer focused on scientific expertise and the definition of industrial standards. Three areas will be explored and analyzed: 1) production and mobilization of knowledge by the different actors (scientific community, public administrations, industries, and community-based organizations); 2) mobilization and recourse to law and how they reconfigure cancer risks; and 3) the construction of public policies and regulations.