Joint research unit UPPA/CNRS - Laboratory energy and environmental transitions (TREE)



Leader : Sébastien Chailleux

  • 2 permanent employees
  • 1 PhD
  • 5 post-doctoral fellows

Key dates

  • Kick-off: april 2018
  • Duration: 5 years

Financial contribution/year

PolSSolDynamics of subsurface politicisation for energy transition

The PolSSol Junior Chair analyses the ways the utilizations of the subsurface for energy transition produce or not a politicization, which is how it sets a debate about social representations or a conflict about the stakes of a project.

Studying the characteristics of the projects (mines, gas or energy waste storage (post doc Julie Blanck 2018-2019)) and of the territories, our work outlines the trajectories making some utilizations of the subsurface more credible and legitimate in a given governance frame.

Comparing various projects in different settings (metropolitan and overseas: Ph D Flavie Retourney 2018-2021), our research enables, on one side, a better understanding of the conflicts through a work on actors’ narratives and actions, and on the other side, an analysis of the rigidities of the governance frame, in its local implementation but also in the national debates that may occurred.

We also focus on legitimate knowledge called upon to assess subsurface projects (Ph D Julianna Colonna 2020-2023). But our research also targets divestment phenomenon (post doc Pierre Wokuri 2020-2022) in order to better understand novel representations of the subsurface.

The main goal is to better understand the role of each actor and to use potential conflicts as an opportunity to redefine existing links between local residents and their environment, but also between project promoters and the territories and the scenario for energy transition.


Political scientist specialized on energy,  Sébastien Chailleux  developed a research on unconventional oil and gas during his Ph D to outline the role of social mobilization in framing the definition of a public problem. He also suggested how governance tools are able to reshape a public problem in order to make it solvable within a frame more legitimate for policymakers.