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Transdisciplinary participatory-action-research from questions to actionable knowledge for sustainable viticulture development

  • Masson, Jean E.1
  • Soustre-Gacougnolle, Isabelle1, 2
  • Perrin, Mireille1
  • Schmitt, Carine1
  • Henaux, Mélanie1
  • Jaugey, Caroline1
  • Teillet, Emma1
  • Lollier, Marc2
  • Lallemand, Jean-François3
  • Schermesser, Frederic3
  • Isner, P.3
  • Schaeffer, P.3
  • Koehler, C.3
  • Rominger, C.3
  • Boesch, M.3
  • Rué, P.3
  • Miclo, Y.3
  • Bursin, A.3
  • Dauer, E.3
  • Hetsch, J. M.3
  • And 6 more
  • 1 SVQV UMR 1131, Colmar, F-68000, France , Colmar (France)
  • 2 Université de Haute Alsace, 33 rue de Herrlisheim, Colmar, 68000, France , Colmar (France)
  • 3 GIEE, 1 rue de Rouffach 68250 Westhalten, Paris, France , Paris (France)
Published Article
Humanities and Social Sciences Communications
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication Date
Jan 25, 2021
DOI: 10.1057/s41599-020-00693-7
Springer Nature


Viticulture negatively impacts the environment, biodiversity, and human health; however, despite the widely acknowledged challenges that this intensive agricultural activity poses to sustainable development, measures to reduce its invasiveness are constantly being deferred or rebuffed. Constraints to change are linked to vine cultivation methods, the impacts of climate change on vine resilience and disease sensitivity, and socio-economic models, as well as growing criticisms from society. Research and training have thus far failed to provide solutions or mobilise stakeholders on a large scale. Such resistance to sustainable practices development calls into question the effectiveness of knowledge production systems and relations between scientists, winegrowers, and society: Have scientific disciplines overly isolated themselves from each other and from the wider society to the point of losing the capacity to incorporate alternative forms of knowledge and reasoning and achieve collaborative action? Herein, we describe our findings from a participatory action research project that began in Westhalten, France, in 2013 and ultimately spread to Switzerland and Germany over the next 6 years. We show that participatory action research can mobilise long-term collaborations between winegrowers, NGOs, advisers, elected officials, members of civil society, and researchers, despite differing visions of viticulture and the environment. The epistemological framework of this research promotes consensus-building by valuing complexity and dissensus in knowledge and reasoning such that all actors are involved in experimentation and the production of results. From these findings, consensus statements were collectively elaborated in qualitative and quantitative registers. Once acknowledged by the scientific community, these consensus statements became shareable knowledge. We propose that this renewed interdisciplinarity associating the human and social sciences with agronomic and biological sciences in collaboration with stakeholders produces actionable knowledge that mobilises and engages winegrowers to conceive and implement sustainable viticulture on a transnational scale.

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