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Our mission

Kairos implements a participatory research and scientific mediation approach integrating several disciplines at the interface between natural and social sciences: cognitive sciences, cliodynamics, cultural evolution, computational sociology… Our objective is above all to integrate into the collective conception of the social, economic and political world an awareness of the complex dynamics that structure them over time. We use an integral naturalist approach aiming at understanding the observable world through the study of its underlying causal structures, while reflexively applying this same study to scientific research itself. Our approach thus involves drawing on the tools of the natural sciences as well as those of the social sciences and philosophy.

We want to create a research dynamic outside the academic framework to build transdisciplinary knowledge, and to encourage the development of a large-scale naturalist and critical reflection. This approach implies the renunciation of the belief in the unity or objectivity of scientific knowledge, in favor of a pragmatic conception of research as a tool for understanding and navigating the world. We wish to develop a set of conceptual and methodological tools integrating systemic understanding and situated action within human societies, which can serve a democratic decision-making process capable of navigating the long-term dynamics and structural impermanence whose emergence characterizes the so-called Anthropocene era.

We defend a research ethic oriented towards a situated understanding of social systems and the processes that structure them, and towards a mutual integration of scientific research and contemporary socio-political issues. We therefore oppose the managerial logic embodied in the current academic system, which encourages, through disciplinary compartmentalization and competition for funding, a dynamic of absurd intellectual inflation, and thus seriously harms our ability to understand in an appropriate way the world in which we live. We are therefore committed to building, embodying and disseminating a model of research that is emancipated from the elitism, managerial logic, and power conflicts that define academic research.

Our ethics

Kairos’ approach is part of the broader intention to defend a society based at all levels on personal and collective autonomy, which we aim to embody from now on in the world of research. We do not seek to present here a universal formula for emancipation, nor do we claim legitimacy to represent anyone. On the contrary, we wish to catalyze the capacity of each person to make sense of the world by his or her own means, by building an appropriate structure to develop this capacity within ourselves. We therefore choose to constitute a research collective open to any person adhering to its approach, and governed in an autonomous way by the assembly of its members.

Consequently, any person wishing to participate in the process we are implementing can join Kairos to participate as he or she sees fit in the activity of the collective, and take part in collective decisions with a role equivalent to that of any other member. Kairos recognizes as legitimate decision-makers only the open assembly of its members, and each decision that engages the collective must be collectively accepted following a consultation that allows the participation of each member of the collective and solicits their judgment. Participation in Kairos is not, however, an inalienable right, and remains conditional on a person’s effective registration in the collective’s process.

Access to the spaces associated with Kairos is governed by a set of basic social rules that everyone must respect, at the risk of being called to order, sanctioned, or even banned in the case of especially frequent, serious, or intentional infractions. First, everyone must respect the transdisciplinary and participatory research mandate of Kairos. Second, everyone must refrain from creating a toxic environment through insults, gaslighiting, or language that reinforces documented forms of discrimination (sexism, racism, homophobia…). Third, everyone must respect the right of other members to autonomously define their own participation in Kairos according to their skills, personal needs, and understanding of the collective mandate.

Our activity

Kairos is primarily organized around a Discord server that serves as a central coordination hub for Kairos, from informal discussions to research, coordination of different activities and decision making. In particular, channels are dedicated to each research project, as well as to mediation in different disciplines within the Kairos competencies. We also meet weekly in video-conference to prepare collective decisions, to work on current projects, and to socialize informally. This server is accessible by following this link.

Our research work is articulated primarily in a network of collaborative editing pads that active members can read and edit, which also serves as the collective’s internal documentation. We also maintain a journal with a mandate of “scientific synthesis”, which aims to provide keys to a transdisciplinary integration of knowledge in a framework appropriate for understanding and navigating contemporary socio-political dynamics. It aims to encourage and support an autonomous reflection process on the part of the reader, and not to replace it. It is therefore primarily intended for people who wish to develop a research work similar to that of Kairos.

However, Kairos wishes to invest in the whole spectrum of popular education around its field of competence, and thus produce content accessible to a wider audience. We therefore maintain a strong cooperative relationship with the Société Française d’Évolution Culturelle, an association that aims to popularize cultural evolution and cliodynamics and to support their integration in the French cultural and academic landscape, notably by co-organizing monthly conferences for the general public on cultural evolution. We also participate in the proofreading of popularization articles and videos, including SFEC and Après la Bière.

This article was updated on June 7, 2021