The course globally aims to solidify the links / interactions between engineering sciences and social sciences. Given the present rapid changes in many technologies and in their host social conditions, it is believed that a global and shared understanding of the future challenges is mandatory between these two eduation, research and practitioner communities, in order to develop the necessarily inter/transdisciplinary analysis and action tools. Such tools are largely missing today. One mission of this course is to establish an educational (and also research) forum to build the premisses of 'strong interdisciplinarity regimes' between engineering and social sciences.
Focus of the course this semester will be on TECHNOLOGY, NETWORKS and SOCIETY. Technological networks are increasingly shaping our physical world but also our social communication spaces. Conversely, they are also shaped by several sociopolitical and economic determinants. They are typically “large scale socio-technical systems”. Starting by the road, railroad, canal, telegraph networks during the early industrial periods, continuing by the highways, telephone networks, high-speed trains, all sorts of energy networks in modern times, and booming today by telecommunication networks, these systems are also the privileged canals of technical and organisational innovation diffusion. They heavily rely on scientific and technological knowledge development, impact all spheres of social activity, from nation building to geopolitics, from the development of large scale business corporations to changing our living and working modes, from financial structures to scientific organizations. The socio-technical systems based on network industries are a kind of 'social total fact' diffusing in all social tissues but also fed by them. The course will focus on the dynamics of scientific-technological–organizational innovations, the combinations of which characterize the development of network industries. Examples, mainly from transport, telecommunications and energy sectors network industries, will be analyzed, from technical innovation, economic, policymaking, sociological, historical and regional comparison and inter-sectoral interaction perspectives.