Laura Draetta

Research Fellow

Associate Professor, Telecom Paris Tech Graduate School, Paris, France
Research Fellow, Interdisciplinary Institute for Innovation, CNRS/ Telecom Paris Tech/ Mines Paris Tech. Ecole Polytechnique
Affiliated Researcher, Social Responsibility & Sustainable Development Research Center, UQAM, Montreal, Canada.

CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies, Office for the History of Science and Technology
Affiliation period: November 2019 - December 2022
Degrees Ph.D. in Sociology :: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris- France (2003)
Masters in Environmental Science :: Universite de Liege- Belgium (1999)
Laurea in Political Science :: Universita di Milano- Italy (1996)

Research Areas

Previous Visiting Scholar Affiliation Period: March 2015 - June 2015, June 2019 - November 2019

My research lies at the intersection of Environmental Sociology, STS (Science & Technology Studies) and Green-IT. I am interested in the processes of confrontation that associate - and oppose - Technology, Society and the Environment. Within a unified approach to the socio-technical action of innovation actors - companies and users – I focus on two aspects of the relation.

First, the corporate environmentalism and responsible innovation, as forms of reflexivity at the era of the risk society. I try to understand the processes by which companies integrate ecological, social and ethical concerns and translate them into technical innovation (new technologies and applications, new practices of production, as eco-design and privacy-by-design). Secondly, the social incorporation and uses of these emerging technologies and applications. Focusing on users/citizens/customers, I address two particular dimensions of their encounter with new technologies: one is the performative effect in term of changing social practices, which is an expected impact of the innovation; and an other one, which is less expected, is the social construction of risk associated with the use of technology.

My current research projects focus on a specific technological area: the tracking and monitoring technologies, including RFID systems, Internet of Things and Smart Meters for electricity. In fact, by their capacity to capture large amount of data automatically, their operating features (wireless and contactless, in electro-magnetic fields) and their electronic components (whose environmental impact is beginning to raise concerns), these technologies are the issues of public and techno-scientific controversies. These controversies impact both innovation and the social construction of the risk. So they are a fertile ground to simultaneously observe users’ and companies’ actions within the interconnections between Technology, Society and Environment.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, Corporate Environmentalism, Responsible Innovation, Eco-design, Techno-scientific Controversy, Public Debate, Risk construction, RFID, Internet of Things, Smart Meter, Quantified Self, Tracking, Privacy, Electromagnetic Pollution, WEEE.

Laura Draetta is a scholar of Environmental Sociology and STS, with experience in social and ecological sustainability of emerging ICTs. Her shills relate to sustainable development, responsible innovation, eco-design, Green-IT and tracking technologies.

She is Associate Professor of Sociology at Telecom ParisTech Graduate Engineering School and is Research Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Innovation, joint lab of the CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research).

Laura received her Ph.D. in Social Science from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in 2003, with a dissertation on the Ecological Modernisation in the contemporary private capitalist firm, performed on the basis of an ethnographic research by participant observation in industrial companies.

Currently, she is the Coordinator for the Responsible Innovation in ICTs Working Group within the Observatory for Responsible Innovation at Mines ParisTech Graduate School. Since 2008, after a research mission at the OECD on regional innovation, she is supporting the French Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and the Secured Communications Solutions (SCS) world competitiveness cluster for the implementation of their policies of sustainable development/energy efficiency and user-centred innovation. She leads the partnership of Telecom ParisTech with the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region within the PACA Labs Funding Program. PACA Labs is a French regional public program aiming at supporting companies, research and education centers and local institutions working together to develop digital innovation projects grounded on field experiments and end-users empowerment.

last updated: July 6th, 2020