Marianne Blanchard, Sylvie Bourdin, Cédric Calvignac, Roland Canu, Étienne Ciapin, Paolo Crivellari, Anaïs Daniau, Bruno David, Franck Domergue, Ygal Fijalkow, Baptiste Giroud, Stéphanie Goirand, Nicolas Golovtchenko, David Gouard, Élodie Hommel, Guilhem Juteau-Martineau, Anaïs Lafage-Coutens, Michèle Lalanne, Jérôme Lamy, Philippe Lemistre, Annalisa LendaroChristelle Manifet, Wenjie Mei, Oriana Philippe, Mariangela Roselli, Mathieu Rossignol-Brunet, Vincent Simoulin, Jan Smolinski, Catherine Soldano, Sommer-Houdeville ThomasLéo Touzet

Associate members: Yann Ferguson, Françoise LarréBoris Ménard

Partners: Hélène Ducourant, Elsa Martin, Christophe Maufras, Élise Roullaud


Roland CanuPaolo Crivellari,


Public policy ; Education policy ; Production of norms and rules ; Market ; Consumption ; Innovation ; Digital ; Social, economic and education inequalities ; Relationship to the user

Examples of conducted studies

ASIL-EU: Asylum seekers at Europe’s borders. The ordinary in bypassing the law.

This projects offers to shine a multidisciplinary light (sociology, anthropology, philosophy, political science, law) on the internal and external borders of Europe, through the prism of the regulation of human mobility and notably the travelling of asylum seekers.

Funding MSHS-T

Contact Annalisa Lendaro

PARCOURS: examines the policies for professionalizing branches of higher education with regards to the skills required for employment and acquired in training.

Funding LabEx SMS

Contact Philippe Lemistre

PUBLICUS: examines the universities’ relationship to their « adult » public through institutional arrangements and studies’ experience, and from this base, reflects on the restructurings of the State and of the education institution.

Funding LabEx SMS

Contact Christelle Manifet

DIGCON: studies digital market technologies and the way in which they configure markets and consumption practices, as well as the associated political issues.

Funding Swedish Research Council

Contact Franck Cochoy

DIACRE: adopts a lexicometric analysis of the representations of the economic crisis in the press.

Funding LabEx SMS

Contact Roland Canu

PUBLINNOV: Innovation in the public sector.

This project studies the innovations that potentially put human health at risk, coming from the medicinal products sector via the collaboration between public and private actors.

Funding MSHS-T

Contact Paolo Crivellari

Presentation of our research

Our work is at the crossroads of the Sociology of policy and the Sociology of economy. No matter which social spaces are studied (markets, educations…), we are interested in the processes of institutionalization and of resistance, in the rules, in the political and commercial behaviors and the relationship with users.

We seek to comprehend to what extent and how these emerging institutionalizing processes elude regulation by public policy, creating “excesses” or “outbursts”, and on the contrary how and why they generate, necessitate or call for intervention.
To explore the terms, the temporalities, the territories, and the conditions that produce politics « within and outside of the political », amounts to defining more precisely what we mean by “politics”, and to go beyond the formal spaces of rule production in order to understand the effects in terms of social relationships.

We are also committed to an empirical approach aiming to test and sometimes to combine different research methods: ethnography, statistical analysis, audiovisual tools, international comparison, social history.

Our research is organized around the three following programs

1) The production of “out of politics” politics and markets

We start with the premise according to which the frontiers between politics and markets are blurring. Market anthropology, inspired by the Sociology of sciences and techniques, has rejected any sharing between two separate and opposite universes, that of the market and that of politics. Rather, the interest lies in the complex arrangements that constitute each of them, most notably the measures aiming to direct and govern the choices of users, customers and consumers.

In order to shed light on these issues, we are leading several distinctive but closely articulated studies on the same collective questioning. Some of them, for example, look at the current movement of digitizing consumption, as part of several projects: a French and Swedish project, funded by the Swedish Research Council (Digcon, 2013-2016), a Labex SMS project (merchant worlds operation) dedicated to tourist travel to Albi, or even the Omniscan project (project in partnership with the Unitag startup – funding from the Midi-Pyrénées Region, 2014-2015).

2) Education systems (manager: Philippe Lemistre)

We consider education systems from a specific perspective, as well as their role on the public and the users they reach (or miss). We do this as much regarding educational trajectories in initial training, the first job, than the start of careers.

The institutional context within which is created the « education systems » program finds its source in the European framework of « the knowledge and innovation economy », or more particularly in the specific transposition into the French historical and institutional context. This context notably leads to the professionalization of contents (creation of new professionalized diplomas and certifications, professionalization of certain contents, breakdown of contents into “skills”) and of careers, with the professionalization of careers participating in securing them. Securing careers is in fact not only a question applied to the working life, but also to studies as a whole. Thus public policy instruments, expressed at the national and local levels, and supposed to enable careers with the least breaks possible, are preferred. Successive training sessions and the measures they incorporate now play an essential role in careers.

In this perspective, the « education systems » program is as much interested in institutional logics than in individual careers, with a main field of investigation in higher education and more specifically university. Another field that partly covers the former is that of learning. The investigations examine the role of public policies, of the various components of the educational path and the forms of socialization induced by studies, of the territory, and also the socio-demographic characteristics (gender, social origin) and their effects on public categorization and individual careers. For example (minus the previous examples), some studies look at: the (discriminating) role and the meaning of new measures for universities in preparing for the labor market; how and why does the public use or not university services (libraries and guidance counseling especially); the link, or rather the absence of one, between the higher ranking apprentice and the lower one, etc. Several studies are backed by the activities of the CEREQ, as the CERTOP is a companion center.

3) Public action, measures and users

Our studies are fully set in the Sociology of public policy, linking social and political regulations. Two perspectives are favored.

The first perspective aims to better understand the processes of categorization and construction of social and territorial inequalities that policies and their instruments generate (migration policies, scientific policies, employment policies, environmental policies). At the heart of the question is the analysis of the issues surrounding the production of norms, the circumvention of these, the resistance and the political, professional and militant use of tools of public policy. The goal of these works is to grasp, at different scales (European, national, local), the changes in government and governance of policy, and the forms of regulating control generated by the public authority in order to produce social cohesion.

The second perspective deals with the introduction of new public management norms/tools. The evaluation of public policies and their implications on the running of administrations and public bureaucracies has contributed to organizing the placement on the market of a great number of public services. A first question looks at the receipt of and the resistance of professionals to the new management of measures, notably in sectors where it is difficult to assess the short-term efficiency of actions (social policies). The second question pertains to the recent diffusion of a new tool for public decision-making which is experimentation. The experimental approach is part of the transformation of forms of coercion which questions the normative construction of “good practices” and the democratic participation in decision-making.

update january 2016