Pierre Beckouche, Claude Grasland, France Guérin-Pace & Jean-Yves Moisseron (dir.), CIST, 2016
The “Founding Territorial Sciences” conference marked the birth of the International College of Territorial Sciences (CIST), a new research body devoted to the study of space and territory. The purpose of the conference was to answer the following question: Although the concept of territory is central to recent social changes, are we justified in seeking to establish the “territorial sciences” as a new academic field or discipline?
To answer this question, we need to address a number of other issues. These include:
– the issues raised by interdisciplinary research in other countries; if we want to develop an international network, we will need to ensure that similar initiatives are underway in other countries and that they are compatible with the research projects of the CIST;
– the issues surrounding the questions addressed by researchers in the territorial sciences; though it has defined an initial set of research questions, the GIS may need to explore other avenues;
– the issues surrounding the nature of the “territorial sciences”: should the territorial sciences be defined as an interdisciplinary field, i.e. as a set of disciplines brought together to understand the territorial dimension of their objects of study? Or should they be defined as an emerging discipline, the key concepts, principles and methods of which will need to be defined?
The new field covers a wide range of disciplines extending well beyond the humanities and social sciences. The main theoretical and methodological challenges are to foster links between the humanities and social sciences and the life and earth sciences, the health sciences and the engineering sciences (modeling, complex systems, etc.). For example, the lack of collaboration between physicists and mathematicians working on climate change models and humanities and social science researchers concerned with the territorial impact of climate change has created a gap between global and local approaches.
Finally, beyond the confines of academia, what is the proper relationship between the territorial sciences and territorial development strategies and practices?
This book has been published in French (Fonder les sciences du territoire) in 2012 in “La collection du CIST” series in Karthala.