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°85 - Content



No Abstract


Thema - La fabrique et le gouvernement des crises
Edited by Sara Angeli Aguiton, Lydie Cabane and Lise Cornilleau


No Abstract


Politiques de la « mise en crise »
Sara Angeli Aguiton, Lydie Cabane and Lise Cornilleau


No Abstract


Définir et gouverner les crises au sein du Comité de la sécurité alimentaire mondiale (1974-2008)
Lise Cornilleau

[Defining and Governing Crises in the Committee on World Food Security (1974-2008)]
This article examines how world food crises are defined and governed within the Committee on World Food Security, in line with the work on the strategic uses of knowledge and ignorance in global governance. Created to regulate the 1974 crisis, it was reformed to face the 2008 crisis. In 1974, the Committee developed the world food security paradigm promoting productivism and free trade in agriculture. An examination of its archives shows that it institutionalized the diagnosis of Western diplomaties despite the opposition of the G77, which preferred a regulation based on reserve stocks and food aid. In 2008, the Committee opened itself up to non-state actors and drew upon an independent panel of experts, thereby kindling hopes among supporters of food sovereignty and of the right to food that global food regulation would be transformed. Yet the ethnography of the Committee suggests that multi-positioned actors in the field of global food governance continue to defend the paradigm first forged in 1974.

L’extension du domaine de la crise ? Les exercices de gestion de crise dans la gouvernance de la filière nucléaire française
Olivier Borraz, Elsa Gisquet

[The Expansion of Crisis Management. Simulation Exercises in Crisis Management in the French Nuclear Industry]
How does crisis preparedness fit within the everyday operations of those organizations exposed to the possibility of a serious and potentially destabilizing situation? This study of crisis management simulation exercises in the French civilian nuclear industry sheds light on the process by which crisis management has become bureaucratized within these organizations and as a consequence, crises normalized. In particular, it argues that strategies for excluding “uncomfortable knowledge” have converged in producing an orderly and pacified vision of crises. This in turn sheds additional light on the regulation of complex organized systems.

Formuler l’action publique en termes de tests. Les stress tests européens comme réponse aux crises financières et nucléaires
Brice Laurent, Başak Saraç-Lesavre and Alexandre Violle

[Formulating Public Action in Terms of Tests: European Stress Tests as a Response to Financial and Nuclear Crises]
In Europe, stress tests are used by institutional leaders as a tool for regulating the banking and nuclear sectors. They were first used in 2009 in the banking sector in the wake of the sovereign debt crisis and in 2011 in the nuclear sector following the Fukushima accident. Where in the former case their purpose is to convince investors of bank stability, in the latter they seek to reassure the European public as to the safety of nuclear power plants. Both explicitly aim to offer an “objective and transparent” evaluation of technical objects. This evaluation defines “crisis” and the ways for resolving it in well-delimited terms. Stress tests result in an expansion of the domain of European institutional intervention, which is centralized in the case of banking and distributed in that of nuclear power. While doing so, they also eliminate alternate ways of conceptualizing crisis and possible responses thereto.

Quand une crise en cache une autre : la « crise des terres rares » entre géopolitique, finance et dégâts environnementaux
Soraya Boudia

[When One Crisis Conceals Another: The "Rare Earth Crisis" through the Lens of Geopolitics, Finance and Environmental Degradation]
The expression “rare earth crisis” was used by a collection of actors in the United States, Europe and Japan to describe the situation created by the 2010-2011 surge in the global market prices of 17 metals occupying a strategic place in many industrial sectors and the fear that supplies would be disrupted following China’s adoption of export quotas. Yet this crisis – described both as a trade crisis and a geopolitical one – concealed a financial operation and major damage to the environment. This article adopts several perspectives to study what may be described as “interwoven crises”, paying special heed to J. Roitman and M. Dobry’s call to be attentive to the processes by which crises are labelled in addition to their dynamics and effects. Analysis is further enhanced by extending the timeframe of the analyzed circumstances, thus providing a better grasp of their longer-term dynamics and re-situating these critical situations in their temporal and spatial contexts.

De vive voix
Anti-Crisis : penser avec et contre les crises ?
Interview with Janet Roitman by Sara Angeli Aguiton, Lydie Cabane and Lise Cornilleau


No Abstract


Le développement du secteur privé en Afrique subsaharienne : transfert d’une norme entre l’Europe et les pays ACP (1985-1990)
Olivier Van den bossche

[Private Sector Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Transferring a Norm from Europe to ACP Countries (1985-1990)]
Since the late 1980s, European cooperation policies have included an increasing number of “private sector development” programs in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Among other things, these programs targeted the promotion of entrepreneurial culture, business support measures, improving the business environment and openness to global trade. Examining the mechanisms whereby an international norm emerged, circulated and was transferred allows one to consider official and unofficial strategies of influence and political principle legitimation – in this instance, strategies formulated in Brussels and applied in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. The OECD, EEC, World Bank and the countries of the African, Caribbean, Pacific Group of States (ACP) were all parties to this game. Yet the actors of ACP countries played little role in the emergence and circulation of this norm. Instead, American institutional “go-betweens”, publications and conferences occupied a preponderant place in this process. Piloted by the economic and political institutions of the North for implementation in the “countries of the South”, liberalization does not appear to have been the result of a joint EEC-ACP decision.

La mise en marché de l’enseignement supérieur au Kenya
Olivier Provini

[The Marketization of Higher Education in Kenya]
This article seeks to identify the rationalities of higher education marketization in Kenya and offer new sociological variables to help understand a transformation that first began in the 1980s. The higher education sector is today managed in keeping with mechanisms that mimic the operation of the market. Contrary to those who would argue that the successive reforms of this sector were imposed from the outside by international actors, the origins of this market are above all to be found in the role played by political elites and the strategies of administrators and instructors within teaching establishments. Under the pretext of responding to an ever-growing demand on the part of student-clients, the market mimeticism that has structured the higher education sector since independence in fact and above all serves the interests of elites and instructor-managers.

« Éduquer nos soeurs opprimées » : urbaines diplômées et paysannes dans la révolution éthiopienne (1974-1991)
Pierre Guidi

[“Educating Our Oppressed Sisters”: Urban Graduates and Peasants Women in the Ethiopian Revolution (1974-1991)]
Starting in 1979, the military government that took power in the 1974 Ethiopian revolution launched a national literacy campaign to build the socialist nation. Tens of thousands of young city-dwellers were sent to the countryside to educate the peasant population. The experience of these young instructors offers a privileged vantage point for observing the social dynamics of the revolution through gender and class relations. Studying official and activist documents as well as interviews conducted among former instructors allows to understand how the latter took responsibility for their role and interacted with peasants, and enables to identify the possibilities opened up by the revolution and the uses women have made of them. This approach requires, first, to consider the academic and political socialization of educated urban women under the preceding regime as well as the revolutionary discourse regarding the “woman question”. It contributes to ongoing research on how women used the policies of otherwise authoritarian socialist regimes to win greater autonomy and recognition.

État de littérature. Les rapports entre inégalités, politiques publiques et démocratie : trajectoires brésiliennes
Carla Tomazini


No Abstract


Nicolas Martin-Breteau

Karl Jacoby, L’esclave qui devint millionnaire. Les vies extraordinaires de William Ellis, Toulouse, Anacharsis, 2018 (traduction par Frédéric Cotton de The Strange Career of William Ellis : The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire, New York, WW Norton & Co, 2016) 432 pages

James Cohen

Thomas Brisson, Décentrer l’Occident. Les intellectuels postcoloniaux chinois, arabes et indiens, et la critique de la modernité, Paris, La Découverte, 2018, 280 pages

Katiana Le Mentec

Yoann Moreau, Vivre avec les catastrophes, Paris, PUF, 2017, 390 pages

Sébastien Gardon, Amandine Gautier

Florian Charvolin et Guillaume Ollivier, La biodiversité entre science et politique. La formation d’une institution internationale, Paris, Éditions Pétra, 2017, 300 pages