Critique internationale

Revue comparative de sciences sociales

Couverture Critique Internationale

Critique internationale is a quarterly French-language journal published by Presses de Sciences Po, with the help of the Centre national du livre. A peer-reviewed journal, it has been supported by the Centre de recherches internationales (CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS) since its creation in October 1998.

A comparative social sciences journal, Critique internationale aims to shed light on the social sciences of politics from a comparative and empirical perspective. Articles submitted to the journal must therefore be based upon a detailed knowledge of the area(s) studied, acquired by researchers during localized studies and long-term immersion. At the same time, this approach must be accompanied by a solid grounding in the issue of research in social sciences debates.

The editorial committee is made up of individuals specializing in international issues (including transfer of norms, the transnationalization of collective action and public policy, the role of international organizations and NGOs in numerous crises or in the routine life of the “countries of the South,” and migration) in places (other than France) across all five continents. Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and political scientists, its members come from various institutions (CNRS, IRD, FNSP, EHESS, universities) and vibrant research centers in both France and further afield, where comparative studies and studies on international issues provide a variety of perspectives on the way in which research is conducted today.

At the same time, Critique internationale continues to place particular focus on supporting young researchers in their first publishing and project coordination endeavors, while also ensuring that work produced by foreign colleagues is published in its pages.

Each quarter, a thematic dossier of five or six articles presents several case studies based on a cross-cutting issue. What makes Critique internationale distinctive is that each time, this dossier deals with far removed geographical and cultural entities. Together with the miscellaneous contributions that are published in each issue’s “Varia” section, these thematic studies provide particularly rich material for social scientific comparison. The “Readings” section offers reviews as well as reports on the state of thematic literature, allowing for an assessment of the research in a given field.

The journal accepts articles in English, Spanish, Russian, and German, and provides authors with feedback on their manuscripts in the language in which they submitted them. These manuscripts are then translated into French. Critique internationale also translates articles originally written in French or another language into English. These articles, as well as the entire collection, are available online on the journal portal

ISSN paper 1290-7839

ISSN electronic 1777-554X


N°87 - Content

Edito - Sciences en danger, revues en lutte
Le collectif des revues en lutte et Camille Noûs


No Abstract


Thema - Citoyennetés industrielles et formes du lien syndical
Edited by Amin Allal and Karel Yon

Citoyenneté industrielle : à quoi bon exhumer une notion depuis longtemps critiquée et qui semble désormais ne plus être à la mode ? À rebours des usages normatifs qui ont fait florès dans la littérature spécialisée sur les relations professionnelles, nous repartons des intuitions de Michael Burawoy qui a utilisé cette notion comme un révélateur de la dimension politique des relations de travail. Dans cette perspective, le syndicalisme devient une pièce des architectures institutionnelles qui structurent les relations sociales de production. La citoyenneté industrielle, ici métaphore heuristique plus que catégorie d’analyse, permet dès lors de renouveler le regard comparatif sur les formes du lien syndical, appréhendé au croisement des régimes de citoyenneté et de production.

Citoyennetés industrielles, (in)soumissions ouvrières et formes du lien syndical : pour une sociologie politique des relations de travail
Amin Allal, Karel Yon


No Abstract


Une cité logistique fragmentée. Intégration et segmentation du groupe ouvrier dans trois entrepôts en France et en Allemagne
Clément Barbier, Cécile Cuny

[A Fragmented Citizenry. Integration and Segmentation of the Workers’ Group in Three Warehouses in French and Germany]
This analysis of the relationships of logistics workers to the warehouse orders is based on the results of a collective survey conducted in three logistics warehouses in Marne-la-Vallée in the second eastern Paris suburbs, in the south-eastern suburbs of Frankfurt, and in Kassel, a citizenry located roughly in central Germany in the Land of Hessen. In the first part of the demonstration we outline how the structuring of the workers' group within the warehouses helps to isolate its members and develop forms of loyalty to warehouse management thanks to the supervisory role played by local union representatives. Then, we examine the forms of contestation of workers that are emerging despite fragmentation processes. These workers' statements and defections remain most often behind the scene, outside of the warehouse and always individualized and therefore they take place in an isolated way in the logistics city within a segmented workers' group.

Des coopératives au syndicalisme de base : la citoyenneté industrielle dans le secteur de la logistique en Italie (1990-2015)
Francesco Sabato Massimo

[From Cooperatives to Grassroots Labor Unionism: Industrial Citizenship in Italy’s Logistics Sector (1990-2015)]
In the long history of the workers’ cooperative movement in Italy, logistics became one of the most important sectors during the two last decades. Yet, during the 1990s, cooperatives embarked in a generalized process of "entrepreneurization". In reason of their cooptation in transnational value chains, cooperatives became the pivot of a regime of despotic labor that denied workers industrial citizenship and basic social and civil rights. Since the 2010s, this system has been challenged by a series of mobilizations led by “autonomous” or “grassroots” labor unions (SI Cobas and ADL Cobas) demanding the a abolition of cooperatives, the end of the sub-contracting system, and the restoration of standard employment relationships. Workers' struggles have allowed working conditions to be improved in the warehouses. Nevertheless, the Cobas also have had to face the institutional constraints specific to this sector: namely, the cooperatives' reluctancy to normalize their employment relations, client companies' resistance to reduce pressure on labor cost, and the ambivalence of traditional labor unions vis-à-vis rank-and-file mobilizations. The result of the interaction between mobilizations and institutional constraints is a precarious compromise, in which the improvement of working conditions and the recognition of grassroots unions cannot be taken for granted in face of constant employer's backlash.

Contestation et apprentissage, ou l’entrée en citoyenneté des ouvriers immigrés (Talbot-Citroën, 1982-1983)
Vincent Gay

[Contestation and Apprenticeship, or the Entrance into Citizenship of Immigrant Workers (Talbot-Citroën, 1982-1983)]
In early 1980s, migrant workers in several automobile factories in suburbs of Paris tacked part in long social conflicts. These conflicts are part of a special moment in the redefinition of industrial citizenship, which has been curbed for many years by systems of authoritarian social relations. The citizenship of immigrant workers is then deployed in various ways, more or less agonistic. The participation in the elections of staff representatives allows a first entry into citizenship, then it is prolonged by strike, by daily contestation and finally by trade union activism. The practices of immigrant workers as well as the modalities of their collective representation then give a new dimension to industrial citizenship.

« Si les salariés nous suivent, c’est parce qu’on leur est utiles. » Les ambivalences de la citoyenneté industrielle dans une usine agroalimentaire en Argentine
Pierre Rouxel

[“If the Employees Follow Us, It’s because We’re Useful to Them”: The Ambivalence of Industrial Citizenship in a Food-Processing Plant in Argentina]
As Latin America turned left in the 2000s, labor union organizations once again assumed a central place in the balance of power. In Argentina, grassroot union groups are often seen as the vector for new forms of horizontal and democratic organization. As such, they represent a vantage point for understanding the conditions under which labor unionism today functions as a tool upon which employees may draw to assert their rights and as a resource for deepening citizenship at work. An examination of a food-processing plant that embodies this “bottom-up” renewal of Argentina labor unionism nevertheless reveals the degree to which the institutionalization of more participatory practices continues to be constrained by the relations of subordination that organize factory work. In doing so, it sheds light on the relative continuity of labor union efforts to distribute personalized favors, a characteristic of the strategies for maintaining the factory order that emerged in the neoliberal decade of the 1990s.

La représentation syndicale comme lien personnel : ouvriers et délégués dans une usine italienne
Angelo Moro

[Workplace Representation as a Personal Relationship: Workers and Delegates at an Italian Factory]
Thirty years of continuous restructuring of a manufacturing plant in central Italy have weakened collective bargaining and reoriented delegates’ field work towards supplying trade union services and conducting micro-negotiations to solve the individual problems of employees. These transformations of trade union work and industrial relations have affected the representative relationship between delegates and workers. While the personal character of the relations uniting them is part of the longer-term history of trade unionism in the factory, in the present configuration these personal relations become a resource for pragmatic exchanges allowing the delegates to remain in close contact with the employees, albeit sometimes at the cost of certain forms of personalised domination. However, the workers retain the ability to act on these relations, by turns shaping and challenging them.

De vive voix
Un mouvement de défense des retraites victorieux ? La mobilisation des retraités espagnols en 2018
Interview with Manuel Jiménez-Sánchez by Hélène Combes


No Abstract


L’autonomie dans les bureaucraties régionales latino-américaines : le rôle et la place des Secrétaires généraux
Kevin Parthenay

[Autonomy in Latin American Regional Bureaucracies: The Role and Place of the General Secretaries]
In Latin America, as in the rest of the world, regional have multiplied since the 1990s. The research questions focus on the variety of regionalisms, or their changing nature (post-liberal, post-hegemonic). To go beyond these questions, it is necessary to work on the Latin American regions through an actor-centred approach. This reflection will enable to give a more precise answer to the question of the configuration of power within Latin American regionalisms while observing Secretaries’ positions related to two key variables to understand autonomy: the institutional ambiguity and individual dispositions. In this article, we will study the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the Union of Southern Nations (Unasur) and the Central American Integration System (Sica).

Les charmes du cheikh. Construire et défendre sa notabilité au Yémen (2009-2019)
Marine Poirier

[This Charming Sheikh. Constructing and Defending Notability in Yemen (2009-2019)]
By following the differentiated trajectories of two “state-sheikhs” in Yemen, I explore the manner in which these actors mobilize the resources related to their tribal title to construct and defend their notability and thereby maintain their place within the ruling class. Drawing upon observations and interviews conducted between 2009 and 2019, I consider the evolving value and use of tribal capital in politics and empirically examine the interlocking relations between state and tribe – first in Yemen before and after the 2011 revolution and then in Egypt, from the ordeal of exile since 2014 and the outbreak of civil war. In particular, I show that tribal capital operates at a distance as a tool of political reassertion by adapting to and continuing to confer meaning to the social and political activities of leaders who “act tribal” even when they are detached from their institutions and territories of reference.