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Drafting the Law. Civil Servants at Work at the French Ministry of Ecology

Laure Bonnaud a,*, Emmanuel Martinais b

a Risques, travail, marchés, État (RiTME), INRA, 65 boulevard de Brandebourg, 94205 Ivry-sur-Seine, France
b Recherches interdisciplinaires Ville, Espace, Société (RIVES), ENTPE, rue Maurice Audin, 69518 Vaulx-en-Velin cedex, France

* Corresponding Author.

Available online 16 September 2014 on Science direct
doi : 10.1016/j.soctra.2014.07.005

Abstract
This article analyses the process of drafting the Bachelot Bill on technological risks passed on July 30, 2003 but initiated by Lionel Jospin’s cabinet immediately following the AZF chemical plant disaster in September 2001. It focuses on the practical work of the civil servants at the Ministry of Ecology responsible for deciding on the orientations of the reform, for transcribing them into legal language and ensuring the provisions are supported and passed in Parliament. The analysis hunts down both the successive versions of the bill and the multiple documents used in the preparatory phase. Delving into the administrative production of the law provides a better understanding of the relations between the civil service and the political authorities, and shows how difficult it is to draw the boundary between those two worlds of practice.

Keywords : Drafting the law ; Legislative production ; Central administration, Ministry of Ecology ; Industrial risks ; Politicization ; Technicization.

Article Outline

  • 1. Producing notes or how to define the outlines of a proposed bill
    • 1.1. Writing to remain in command of the crisis and defend a position
    • 1.2. No writing without a preliminary draft
  • 2. Drafting a UMP legislative proposal, or how to recycle a Green text
    • 2.1. Writing to create one’s political difference … while preserving one’s own interests
    • 2.2. New drafters, a new chance for the PPRT
  • 3. Succeeding in having the law voted in, or how to hold the pen at a distance
    • 3.1. Mobilizing and framing initiatives : what is at stake in an amendment
    • 3.2. Notes to prepare public interventions
  • 4. Conclusion
  • References

Sociologie du travail
Volume 56, Supplement 1, November 2014
Translated by Gabrielle Varro