Formation ESST

Le programme ESST à Namur (en anglais) :

Welcome to University of Namur

The University of Namur is middle-size university (4.500 students) located in Namur, a charming city and the capital of the Walloon Region.

Associated Research Centres

Two research centres from the University of Namur are associated to the ESST programme and will be very please to welcome ESST students :

CITA is a university research centre specialised in the assessment of new technologies and more specially, of information and communication technologies (ICT).
Main research interests of CITA are : sociological and constructive analysis of ICT uses, organisational analysis of ICTs projects, ICT policies analysis and ethics of computing.

CRID is an international research centre specialised in different topics regarding the legal issues raised by the ICTs (privacy, intellectual property, telecommunication and Internet regulation …)

The working language of the centres is either English or French.

ESST team in Namur

The academics :
The scientific team :

30 senior and junior researchers of the associated centres.

 

To rent a student’s room (named KOT in students’ language) in Namur, please consult this Web page.

Topics for ESST Thesis in Namur

Topic 1. E-Democracy and E-Administration Assessment

Topic 2. Governance of ICTs (Internet)

Topic 3. E-Health

Topic 4. Trust and virtuality

Topic 5. Open source : socio-technical approach of open source "community"

Topic 6. Internet, Normalization and Governance

Topic 7. governance ethical problems and internet

Topic 8. intelligent environment : reflexivity and moral issues

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Topic 1. E-Democracy and E-Administration Assessment

University of Namur has progressively gained knowledge and experience in researches assessing IT projects in the field of administration, government and citizenship. The assessment is related to :

  • ex ante analysis regarding the political, ethical, legal or organizational issues of IT projects in the concerned fields;
  • ex post analysis on political, ethical, legal or organizational impacts of implemented projects in the concerned fields.

Namur analytical methods have been successfully applied to numerous contracts with public decision-makers.

Topic 1 should interest ESST students who want to assess (ex ante or ex post) a particular IT project in the concerned fields.

In this assessment process, the students will be help by the academic and scientific team of Namur regarding the following specialisations :

  • Claire Lobet-Maris : Organisational and political assessment
  • Yves Poullet : Legal and political assessment
  • Philippe Goujon : Ethical and political assessment

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Topic 2. Governance of ICTs (Internet)

University of Namur has progressively gained knowledge and experience in researches regarding the governance of ICTs (Internet). Different topics have been studied in Namur University as, for instance :

  • The role of the State in the regulation of Internet
  • The ethical and legal issues in the regulation of internet (as privacy protection, code of conducts, children protection, …)
  • The social divide issues (as cultural diversities, policy of accessibility, …)

Topic 2 should interest students willing to analyse a particular question relating to the Internet Governance on a deep scientific level.

In this analysis, the students will be help by the academic and scientific team of Namur regarding the following specialisations :

  • Yves Poullet : Legal and political analysis (Yves Poullet is very active in the United Nations forums)
  • Philippe Goujon : Ethical and philosophical analysis

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Topic 3. E-Health

University of Namur has developed an important scientific basis in the field of ICT’s projects applied to the medical and hospital field. The researches do concern :

  • ex ante assessment regarding the opportunity of implementing intra and inter-organisational information systems’ projects in medical network of agents (assessment of ethical, legal and organisational issues of those projects) ;
  • ex post analysis on the ethical, legal, organisational and social impacts of the set up of intra and inter-organisational information systems on medical network of agents;

The developed methods and concepts have been successfully applied to numerous contracts with public decision-makers.

Topic 3 should interest ESST students who will, either, to analyse the specific issues related to a healthcare policy/project or to conduct an assessment on the impacts of a policy/project.

In this thesis, the students will be help by the academic and scientific team of Namur regarding the following specialisations :

  • Claire Lobet-Maris : Organisational and social assessment
  • Yves Poullet : Legal and social assessment
  • Philippe Goujon : Ethical and social assessment

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Topic 4.Trust and virtuality

The dematerialization of exchanges and the subsequent new forms of "partnered" service delivery raise the question of the new foundations on which trust can be built with the users. The scientific literature seems to show that interpersonal trust, like institutional trust, can not support uncertainity stemming from these new types of partnered service delivery. Conceptually, this thesis will go deeply into different approaches of trust: the rational one (calculated trust and cognitive trust), the sociological one (institutional trust, emotional trust and inter-personal trust) and the legal approach.

Empirically, this thesis could question for instance an E-Gov platform or an E-commerce service in order to grasp the representations of trust that have influenced the designers and their translation in the organizational, technical and legal measures taken to reassure the user (e.g. privacy policies, rules concerning digital signatures, creation of surveillance committees for certain sectors).

In this thesis, the students will be help by the academic and scientific team of Namur regarding the following specialisations :

  • Claire Lobet-Maris : Sociological assessment
  • Yves Poullet : Legal assessment
  • Philippe Goujon : Ethical and social assessment

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Topic 5. Open source : socio-technical approach of open source "community"

This thesis will try to define a socio-technical frame to analyse the organization and regulation that govern the open-source communities. The thesis will first make an extensive state of the art on existing studies regarding organisation and regulation of OS Community in order to identify how those two dimensions are explored in the literature. Secondly, the thesis will move towards existing conceptual frameworks devoted to the analysis of networking collaboration in order to assess them and define an original theoretical framework to support the empirical analysis. The empirical analysis will consist in a case study made on an open source community.

In this thesis, the students will be help by the academic and scientific team of Namur regarding the following specialisations :

  • Claire Lobet-Maris : Organisational and sociological studies
  • Philippe Goujon : Norms and regulation approach

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Topic 6. Internet, Normalisation and Governance

The global debate on Internet governance is in a liminal state. There is a total lack of consensus about how to define Internet governance, and about which  issues and institutions are and should be involved in what manner. Similarly, there is a lack of agreement as to whether there are significant problems with existing governance mechanisms, and whether there are any pressing but unresolved issues that need to be tackled through international cooperation.

The goal of this proposed thesis is to developed an analysis of the Internet Governance issues facing society and to focused on the technical standardization problem. The aim would be to analyse the network of expert politics and association which are connecting with the management of domain names, IP numbers and protocols, today under the coordination of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

How these technical standards have been, and are still, developed? The study will seek to develop and extensive analysis of the different component of the complicated network which managed the internet normalization, to understand the relation between the different bodies of that network and to treat of the normative problem of the conditions of a real democratic governance of the internet. In this regard, we believe that the focus of the ongoing discussions on “Internet Governance” should be on how the issues that have been identified, for example, Domain Names (DNS) and Internet Protocol (IP) address technical coordination, network security, and SPAM, can be addressed in the processes by which decisions related to the Internet are made, recognizing that there may some gaps and proposing some possible alternatives.

In this thesis, the students will be help by the academic and scientific team of Namur regarding the following specialisations :

  • Claire Lobet-Maris : Organisational and sociological studies
  • Philippe Goujon : Norms and regulation approach

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Topic 7 governance ethical problems and internet

This thesis will try to define a socio-technical frame to analyse the importance of ethics in the international discourse surrounding internet governance. The thesis will first make an extensive state of the art on existing studies regarding internet regulation in order to identify how the ethical dimensions are explored in the literature. Secondly, the thesis will move towards an analysis of the international reports concerning internet regulation. The thesis will seek to determine how the ethical problems are taken in account and from a normative perspective how they should be taken in account. The thesis will try to propose a reflexion concerning the democratic and epistemological conditions that are necessary to allow ethical perspective to be taken in account. The case study will focused on the IPV6 norms.

In this thesis, the students will be help by the academic and scientific team of Namur regarding the following specialisations :

  • Claire Lobet-Maris : Organisational and sociological studies
  • Philippe Goujon : Norms and regulation approach

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Topic 8. Intelligent Environment : Reflexivity and Moral Issues

The first step of this analysis will proceed to an extensive review of the literature dedicated to the ethical and sociological problems raised by intelligent system.

Three main questions will structure this analysis of intelligent environment :

  • The first question does concern the socio-cognitive and philosophical impact of this environment. To a certain extent this intelligent environment suppresses the human and social reflexivity by confronting the human to a sort of adaptive and deterministic simulator, to an environment without exteriority. This raises important questions regarding the self determination and the human ability to give sense to its environment as generally admitted in the constructivism paradigm.
  • The second question regards the moral limits that should be integrated into the design of this intelligent environment. Those limits have to be drawn regarding some ethical principles as human dignity and identity, human freedom self determination and human control on data regarding its behaviour and habits.
  • The third question is more pragmatic and regards the ethical norms and the moral responsibilities principles that should guide the designer and the owner/user of those intelligent environments. It regards also the social acceptability of this type of system. The issues regarding potential manipulation and abuse of control should be addressed and correctly analysed in order to draw the ethical lines to follow in the design and in the ownership of this system.

In this thesis, the students will be help by the academic and scientific team of Namur regarding the following specialisations :

  • Claire Lobet-Maris : sociological approach
  • Philippe Goujon : Moral and ethical approach

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Scientific organisation

1. Agenda
2. Libraries
3. Methodology

1. Agenda

A scientific meeting is organised every 15 days. The objectives of this meeting are:

  • to present the working progress of each thesis
  • to discuss the scientific orientations taken (or to take)
  • to receive the advice of the academics
  • to set up the objectives of the work to be achieved for the following term

During each meeting, the student is invited to present the progress of his (her) thesis during 15 to 30 minutes. This presentation should be supported either by a text or by a slides collection.

Between these meetings, our offices are open for you for any other advice that you would wish.

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2. Libraries

The main library of the University is The Moretus Plantin Library . A specific library in Science, Technology and Society does exist in the CITA office and some books are in Pr. Ph. Goujon's office.

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3. Methodology

The first stage of your thesis relates to the formulation of your problematic. To develop this one, three entrance points must be privileged.

The historical entry

This entry consists in considering the historical construction of the idea or the project which you wish to analyse (E-health, E-democracy, Open Source Community). With through this entry, it is a question of identifying the actors, the objectives which carry them, rhetoric’s which they use... It is also a question of analysing "the trajectory" of the project or the idea and of pointing out the points of bifurcation, of change of meanings.

The epistemological and conceptual entry

This second point of entry consists in considering the concepts related to your thema (democracy, health , open source or community) and in opening them to a broad search of meaning in order to confront this conceptual analysis to the rhetoric analysis made in the first point. (i.e. when a policy does promote the e-democracy, to which sense of democracy does it refer to ?). In this epistemological part, it is also important to question the relations between technology and society and the concept of technology it self, in order to confront this epistemological approach to rhetoric’s one made in the first point.

The problematic entry

With historical and conceptual light back you will be able to formalise a problematic. This thesis problematic should consist in arguing answers to the following questions

  • What is the main question I would like address ?
  • What is my personal motivation to push this question ?
  • How can I relate this question to broader societal questions of sense/meaning ?
  • How do I look to the methodological way to treat this question ? (first tracks…)
  • What are the main bibliographical references collected to inform this question ? (first argued list of references).

The argued answer to those questions is the topic of your paper for the next term ( 5 pages + the argued bibliography)

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