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Formal Analysis of the Conflictive Play of Actors Regarding the Building of a Dam

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Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS,volume 42)


French people were astonished to learn of the death of an opponent to the construction of a dam in the Sivens forest, in the Tarn department (France), during clashes with the police on the night of 25 to 26 October 2014. However, the violence of the means deployed to realize this work and the determination of opponents, together woven in the play of all the actors of this project, foreshadowed the possibility of such a drama. Using a formal analysis framework based on the sociology of organized action, we present a model of this interaction system whose simulation results highlight the overdetermined nature of the emergence of a conflict of extreme intensity. Variations in this model allow the identification of the main determinants of this conflict and to consider other possible futures.


  • Social simulation
  • Play of actors
  • Use conflict
  • Governance
  • Natural resource

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-11506-7_9
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Fig. 9.1


  1. 1.

    Name given to people who occupy a Zone A Défendre (Area to Be Defended).

  2. 2.

    Announced by the Ministry for environment and sustainable development on February 27, 2015, this protocol stipulates that (1) the General Council renounces this project, (2) does not attack the State for the cancellation of the decree authorizing the works, and (3) the State compensates the General Council for € 3.3 million.

  3. 3.

    Designed to replace the Nantes city airport, The Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport project, which dates back to the 1970s, was finally abandoned in January 2018.

  4. 4. Accessed 25 Feb 2018.

  5. 5.

    “To die for ideas is one thing, but it’s still relatively stupid and silly”, T. Carcenac (La Dépêche du Midi, 27/10/2014).


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Correspondence to Christophe Sibertin-Blanc .

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This form is used to collect data from actors in the field to quantify the model. We start by presenting to the interviewee the architecture of the model using Fig. 9.1 and the interpretation of the effects functions, so that he knows how his statements will be used to fill a column of Table 9.2.

  Interviewee: . . . . . . . . . . Resources
As model’s actor: . . . . . . . . . . R1 R2 - - -
1. What are the resources do you need to perform your tasks, to achieve your objectives? What does matter for you?    
2. On who do you depend to access the resource, to use it according to your own need? Who controls the resource? <actor name> <actor name> <actor name>
3. How much important is that resource for your own work (on a scale 0 … 10)?    
  What is the behavior of the person who controls the resource that would be (answers to the following questions will serve to draw the shape of effect functions):
4. a- the worst case for you? describe this behavior    
5. Assess the effect of this behavior on your capability to achieve your objectives (on a scale −10 … 0)    
6. b- the best case for you? describe this behavior    
7. Assess the effect (on a scale 0 … 10)    
8. c- the neutral case, neither favourable or unfavourable? describe this behavior    
9. Assess the effect (on a scale −10 … +10)    
10. d- the behavior that you experience usually?
describe this behavior
11. Assess the effect (on a scale −10 … +10)    
12. Who does matter for you?
  Favorably (on a scale 0 … 10) Actor XX: . . . . .
  Adversely (on a scale −10 … 0) Actor YY: . . . . .

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Sibertin-Blanc, C. (2019). Formal Analysis of the Conflictive Play of Actors Regarding the Building of a Dam. In: Boulet, R., Lajaunie, C., Mazzega, P. (eds) Law, Public Policies and Complex Systems: Networks in Action. Law, Governance and Technology Series, vol 42. Springer, Cham.

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