HomeOlfaction at the heart oh humans. The place of smelling in the human and social sciences

HomeOlfaction at the heart oh humans. The place of smelling in the human and social sciences

Olfaction at the heart oh humans. The place of smelling in the human and social sciences

L’olfaction au cœur de l’humain. La place du sentir dans les sciences humaines et sociales

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Published on Monday, February 05, 2024


La journée scientifique que nous organisons souhaite explorer l’olfaction sous l’angle des sciences humaines et sociales. Comment les odeurs prennent-elles place dans nos vies ? Quels usages, effets, pensées, émotions, sublimations produisent-elles ? Comment organisent-elles nos vies ? Nous souhaitons définir et explorer des questions que les odeurs soulèvent au regard de notre existence et notre humanité au travers de recherches, d’expérimentations, de retours d’expériences qui concernent la façon avec laquelle des sujets au statut varié appréhendent les odeurs, qu’ils soient enseignants, formateurs, éducateurs, parents, apprenants, créateurs, artistes, soignants (...), dans différents contextes : famille, école, association, formation commerciale, lycée, université, restauration, salle d’exposition, lieu de soin…



Date and location

Thursday November 28, 2024, place Chanzy in Niort (79,000). Catholic University of the West - UCO Niort and Toulouse Jean-Jaurès University

Scientific issues

Research around olfaction is particularly developed in the so-called “hard” sciences. The Nobel Prize awarded in 20024 to Axel and Buck for their discovery of neuroolfactory receptors (Buck & Axel, 1991) marks an advance in hard sciences, in olfaction. More generally, these natural sciences and formal sciences contribute to a better knowledge of the sense of olfaction, its physiology (Klossek, 1998), and its neurological functioning (Minic et al. 2005; Holley , 2006, Trotier, et al., 2007; Salesse, 2012; Duchamp-Viret et al. 2012), its contribution to taste (Salesse & Gervais, 2012; Brondel, 2013; Lavialle, & Salesse, 2015), pathologies associated (Demarquay, 2017), its disorders (Bonfils, 2004), its technical applications such as headspace (Kaiser, 1997) or the analysis of the olfactory quality of the air (Jaubert, 2008). This flourishing research is difficult to define, there is no place here to make an exhaustive inventory. However, the natural sciences and formal sciences contribute greatly to the field.

On the other side of the epistemological spectrum, the human and social sciences provide a different perspective that occupies a less explored place. As proof, a search in Google scholar gives 122,000 results for the query “olfaction sciences” while it only gives 18,400 for “olfaction human sciences”. Academic journals specialized in this area do not exist.

However, research exists and raises heuristic questions on the complex nature of odors and the act of smelling: in philosophy (Jacquet, 2010), in anthropology (Candau, 2000a, 2000b), in the mother/child relationship (Schaal, et al., 1980; Marlier & Schaal, 1997), in questions of language (Rouby & Sicard, 1997; Schnedecker, 2011; Tamba, 2011; Theissen, 2011; Vassiliadou, & Lammert, 2011; Jaubert, 1990; Candau & Wathelet, 2011; Blumenthal, 2011; Kleiber, 2011a, 2011b; Sulmont-Rossé & Urdapilleta, 2012; Rinck, 2018; Jaubert, 2022), in olfactory design (Bonnard 2014; Baudequin (thesis in progress); in marketing (Krishna, Morrin & Sayin, 2014); in olfactory art (Jacquet, 2015; Barré, 2021); in art history (Muller, 2020); in history (Le Guéré, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006; Feydeau, 2019) , in marketing (Classen & Howes, 2003), in educational sciences (Duchesne & Jaubert, 1989, Alvarez, 2019; Cadiou, 2023).

Howes (2003) reminds us that we are at a turning point in the appreciation and place of smells. This ‘Sensual Turn,” is observed by these scientific advances, but also the success of Suskind’s novel, Perfume (1985), the magazine “Nez” or the massification of perfume sales points.

Content and areas

The scientific day that we are organizing is in this direction and therefore wishes to explore olfaction from the angle of human and social sciences. How do smells play a role in our lives? What uses, effects, thoughts, emotions, sublimations do they produce? How do they organize our lives? We wish to define and explore questions that smells raise with regard to our existence and our humanity.

We expect communications of varied nature and content from all disciplines in the human and social sciences.

It may involve research, experimentation, feedback which concerns the way in which subjects of varied status apprehend odors, whether they are teachers, trainers, educators, parents, learners, creators, artists, caregivers (...), in different contexts: family, school, association, commercial training, high school, university, catering, showroom, place of care, etc.

We seek to circumscribe the various issues that drive this object of odor research: what questions do odors raise, what tensions are we caught in when we smell or use odors? How do we feel and learn to feel? How do we appreciate this information that we receive, perceive and symbolize?

Axis n°1: olfaction in teaching, training, education

How are smells educated and taught depending on whether we live in a culture, a country, or an era? This axis examines various contexts: the family, the educational institution, the professional world linked to odors, from sales to industry including fine perfumery. And it aims to describe the foundations, the objectives, the stages, the means of this education, but also its difficulties, even its obstacles. This axis focuses on pedagogy and didactics in olfaction.

Axis n°2: olfaction in gastronomy, oenology

In this dynamic are all the works that contribute to what “eating means”, considering that olfaction is an integral part of taste. It is a matter of perceiving what is hidden behind the aphorism of Brillat-Savarin (1865): “Tell me what you eat, I will tell you what you are” by plagiarizing it into “Tell me what you are”. feel and I will tell you who you are”. Gastronomic choices are questioned by the sociological, ethnological, economic focus…

The question of the transmission of olfaction in gastronomy and oenology is particularly welcome in this area.

 Axis n°3: olfaction in aesthetics

This axis is interested in the place of olfaction in the aesthetic and/or artistic domain. Whether it is fine perfumery, olfactory art, research-creation in olfaction, olfactory design, live shows linked to olfaction. We seek to report on productions of an aesthetic nature, artistic approaches linked to the olfactory experience. Gastronomy and oenology also have their place here.

Axis n°4: olfaction in the human experience.

This axis is interested in the place of olfaction in human life, apart from questions of transmission of knowledge, gastronomy and aesthetics. He is interested in the ordinary life of individuals: habits, hygiene, functions... odors and smell, but also in the extraordinary: accidents, illness, the apprehension of novelty in terms olfactory. The anthropological, sociological, historical, philosophical, linguistic… entries allow us to question the place of odors in the lives of humans whatever their age, their environment, their gender, their physical state.

The list of areas cited is non-exhaustive and we look forward to being surprised…


Launch of the call for papers from January 2024.

Submission of the submission before April 30, 2024

on: https://olfactioneducation.sciencesconf.org

Provide: a title, 3 to 5 key words, a summary of 400 words, 5 references maximum, the chosen axis.

As part of a research, we invite you to present a classic sequence: introduction, theoretical and methodological framework, results and discussions, conclusion. As part of feedback, you will specify the context, the olfactory issues and a discussion.

Return of the experts on June 30, 2024. The proposals will be evaluated double-blindly by the scientific committee.

Registration opens on September 1, 2024


Dominique Alvarez: dominique.alvarez@univ-tlse2.fr

Sandra Cadiou: scadiou@uco.fr

Scientific Committee

  • Jean-Noël Jaubert (Professeur des universités, chimie, Université de Lorraine)
  • Roland Salesses (Ingénieur Agronome, Docteur ès Sciences, INRA Unité de Neurobiologie de l'Olfaction)
  • Laurence Fanuel (Docteure  biotechnologie, parfumeuse, peintre, artiste transmédia, enseignante ISIPCA/ IFF, ESP )
  • Émilie Bonnard (Docteure design olfactif, université Jean Monnet, designer olfactif, enseignante FLE )
  • Didier Trottier (PU neurobiologie de l’olfaction  et de l’Olfaction et de la Gustation, CNRS )
  • Cyrille Laporte (MCF sociologie de l’alimentation, directeur de l’ISTHIA - Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès)
  • Marie-France Carnus ( Professeur des Universités Ingénierie didactique. Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, laboratoire EFTS).
  • Pablo Buznic-Bourgeacq (Professeur des universités Sciences de l’éducation et de la formation, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie)



  • Centre Du Guesclin, Place Chanzy
    Niort, France (79)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


  • Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Attached files


  • olfaction, éducation, gastronomie, esthétique, expérience humaine


  • Sandra Cadiou
    courriel : scadiou [at] uco [dot] fr
  • Dominique Alvarez
    courriel : dominique [dot] alvarez [at] univ-tlse2 [dot] fr

Information source

  • Sandra Cadiou
    courriel : scadiou [at] uco [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Olfaction at the heart oh humans. The place of smelling in the human and social sciences », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, February 05, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/vr25

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