The approach of this study is to take the expedition itself as an object of sociological research. It is a question of analysing the production of scientific knowledge at work as being both the product of a singular research environment and a reflective activity in the context of the growing importance of the climate issue on a global scale.
A first axis of this project aims to contribute to a study of scientific activity in "extreme environments". Antarctica is an environment where research is subject to multiple constraints. While the climate and geographical isolation pose a real technical, logistical and human challenge, the specific features of its international status also make it a highly strategic territory. Consecrated by the Antarctic Treaty (1959) as a common land dedicated to research, the scientific activities that take place there are subject to strong regulations as well as a requirement for international cooperation. In situ observation of these research practices is in line with recent work on the places where globalized environmental knowledge is produced (Jouvenet, 2016; Grevsmühl, 2016).
Moreover, the fight against climate change is today a major global issue at the interface between policy and scientific research. This study aims to investigate the relationship between scientists and politicians in the constitution of an international climate cause (Aykut & Dahan, 2015). In particular, it will seek to understand the way in which scientific activity contributes to building - and is worked on by - this environmental framework for contemporary political issues. This dialectic calls in particular for researchers to reflect on their own work.
The study conducted throughout the expedition will take the form of an ethnographic survey. Participatory observation will constitute the daily life of the expedition both in its marine phase and during the stay on base. A series of interviews will be carried out with the various actors of the project, as well as with base personnel and polar specialists. An analysis of various scientific documents (publications, protocols, drafts, etc.) will complete the field work.