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Blumer Stéphane

by Blumer Stéphane - published on

Translation(s) : français Português Español


Supervisor: Dr.Marc Abélès


Changing the world with Post-its
Ethnographying freelancers’ networked communities in the light of artistic processes, towards a political anthropology of Social Innovation in Europe.

This PhD thesis focuses on the concept of Social Innovation (SI) through a multi-sited ethnographic approach within networked communities formed by freelancers blending management cultures and artistic research processes in Europe (England, Spain, France, Greece, Portugal and Switzerland). 

Through extensive participant observations in several concrete projects between 2015 and 2020, the research investigates the socio-political and economic models emerging from ideologies and value systems encountered in these configurations, as well as the governance and management practices developed among them. Through ethnographic descriptions of the roles, rituals and rules constructed in these organisations, the study exposes the imaginary models and relationships that innovation communities nourish with the technologies they develop (social and digital). A focus is placed on their conceptions of collapses, ecosystems, commons and community, collective consciousness and intelligence, self-management, (re)production of open source knowledge, and the original social paradigms that arise from them. 

Within an analysis of the elective affinities between management and entrepreneurship methods with artistic processes, the thesis offers original theoretical and practical tools moving towards the development of a political anthropology of innovation. This approach allows for a better understanding of the logics of connivance between innovation processes and the dominant system of capital production as well as the policy trends induced both by the actors and institutions of SI in Europe. Innovation is seen as a potent political vector, an all-embracing concept containing in my field the notions of creativity (or inventiveness), change, evolution, progress and transition. It is therefore timely to expose what is really at stake today within the communities of the Social Innovation European scene which promote (promise) a total change in society and are aligned with current normative tensions and evolutionary discourses. 

The investigation is part of the actual debates around the transformations of capitalism resulting from the global awareness of the ecological, social, economic and political crises of the beginning of the 21st century. The main problematic lies in the incorporation of the axiology and models of governance of counter-culture movements by the market economy within its use of critical artistic strategies, including experimentation, collaboration, a desire for autonomy, self-management (autogestion) and anti-hierarchical claims. 

Fieldwork: Convergence of networked communities in the fields of socio-political activism and social innovation in Europe.

Keywords: social innovation, social entrepreneurship, hacker, open source, self-management, decentralization, culture 3.0, society 3.0, anti-hierarchy, commons movements, contemporary art networks, co-living and co-working.


Since 2015 PhD in Social Anthropology, EHESS, Paris, FR (current)
2015 Saas-Fee Institute of Art, The European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, CH
2010–2012 MA (HONS) Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK
2007–2010 BA (HONS) Fine Art, HEAD, Haute Ecole D’Art et Design, Geneva, CH

Professional Experiences
Since 2016 Lecturer, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Paris, FR UFR Department of Psychology and Education Sciences (SPSE) TD Introduction to Sociology and Anthropology, BA1

Since 2017 Referent Lecturer – School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris, FR Seminar of Centre - (Un)ruling others and the self - with Olivier Coulaux

2016 Referent Lecturer, School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris, FR PhD seminar CLC - Reading group of the Capital, K.Marx, with Ana Maria Guerrero

2016 Visiting Lecturer , School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris, FR Seminar Arts, Politics and Anthropology – with Dr. Véronique Bénéï.

2015 Guest Lecturer, MA and BA, Fine Art, Bath Spa School of Art and Design, UK
Since 2014 Founder, Curator — Assembly Passage Project, Whitechapel, London, UK
2012-2014 Represented artist — BYCR Gallery, Milan, IT
2011-2013 Represented artist — La Scatola Gallery, London, UK


Full Professional Proficiency: French (mother tongue), English, Portuguese, Spanish
Intermediary: German
Beginner: Chinese Mandarin / perfect fluency in Pinyin.

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