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

Cairn - Persee

- Editorial committee

- Additional Documents

- Instructions to Authors

- Online subscription

- Archives


N°79 - Content



No Abstract


Les villages stratégiques : politiques contre-insurrectionnelles et regroupements de populations
Edited by Pamela Colombo


No Abstract


Réaménagements territoriaux, contrôle des populations et stratégies contre-insurrectionnelles
Pamela Colombo


No Abstract


Les « regroupements » de la guerre d’Algérie, des « villages stratégiques » ?
Fabien Sacriste

[”Strategic Villages“? ”Regroupements” during the Algerian War]
The “regroupement camps” created by the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962) are examples of what historian Christian Gerlach has described as “strategic villages”. But is the term “village” well suited to describe these spaces of confinement for forcibly displaced civilian populations? The result of an ad hoc military and administrative strategy, the Algerian “regroupements” most often took the form of camps where the population – brutally uprooted and placed in a situation of lasting dependence – was deprived of basic liberties, exposed to health crises and subject to a high rate of mortality. While the term “village” was widely adopted during the war, it is worth considering the manner in which it was used in order to underscore the fact that, far from being a project to forcibly develop rural society on the part of a small group of actors, regroupement was first and foremost a way of justifying the unjustifiable: a largescale policy of forced civilian population displacement undertaken by the French Army and administration less than a decade following the end of the Second World War.

Le Vietnam des « hameaux stratégiques », à la croisée des influences
Élie Tenenbaum

[Intersecting Influences: Vietnam’s “Strategic Hamlets”]
The “strategic hamlets” program was launched in 1962 by the government of Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam. Inspired by many historical precedents (Indochina, Malaya, Israel), the aim of this project was to regroup rural communities around fortified, modern, autonomous villages for economic and security purposes in order to remove them from the communist influence of the National Liberation Front (NLF). This study examines the mechanisms by which “knowledge circulation” and external influences – in particular, British and American ones – contributed to the program’s conception. By establishing a rigorous genealogy of this system and identifying the various factors that converged in its realization, one may distinguish between analytical errors resulting from “experience transfer” and those associated with the specific manner in which this undertaking was implemented.

De la persistance des villages d’État au Mozambique
João Paulo Borges Coelho

[On the Persistence of State Villages in Mozambique]
Studying the forced displacement over the long term of rural communities in a region of Mozambique allows one to compare Aldeamentos, villages that were constructed and fortified during the war between the Portuguese colonial regime and Mozambican nationalist forces, and Aldeias Comunais, villages created following independence in the aim of developing and controlling the country’s territory. Official accounts of the purposes of these villages notwithstanding, the fact that totally distinct objectives have resulted in nearly identical outcomes reveals the nature of the state and the manner in which it considers and subjugates rural communities in order to appropriate resources.

Construire (dans) les marges de l’État, entre politiques de « développement » et stratégies de contre-insurrection (Chaco, Argentine, 1976-1980)
Pamela Colombo

[Constructing (in) the Margins of the State: Between “Development” Policies and Counterinsurgency Strategies (Chaco, Argentina, 1976-80)]
In order to produce a thorough-going sociopolitical reconfiguration, Argentina’s civilian-military dictatorship (1976-1983) did not merely implement a system for the forced disappearance of individuals but also undertook territorial and urban reorganization at the national level. The present article considers one of these programs: the creation of strategic villages. My research seeks to understand how the state implements social engineering projects in which the spatial reinvention of peripheral territories sought to radically modify a social group and the political-economic situation of the zone in question. To do so, I examine the creation of Chaco Province’s Fuerte Esperanza village in the framework of what was known as the “Western Campaign” undertaken in the “El Impenetrable” region (1976-1980). I show how, under cover of what was presented as a “development program”, Fuerte Esperanza was also created for purposes of counterinsurgency. I seek to understand and deconstruct the discourses and practices associated with these types of “military civic action” programs. Moreover, I am the first to advance the argument that continuities existed between the creation of this village and other similar programs of the time in Argentina (mainly in the province of Tucumán).

Contre-insurrection et urbanisation dans la guerre civile guatémaltèque
Finn Stepputat

[Counterinsurgency and Urbanization in the Guatemalan Civil War]
This article considers the manner in which the Guatemalan army used the transfer and concentration of rural populations in camps and nucleated settlements to reassert control over the national territory in the context of the armed insurgency of the early 1980s. Guatemalan military officers were deeply influenced by the experience of various counterinsurgency campaigns carried out in Algeria and Vietnam. In particular, managing the population via various “civic action” programs played a decisive role in the civil war. Drawing upon the theoretical work of Foucault, Lefebvre and de Certeau regarding the spatial organization of the state, this paper identifies three forms of forced urbanization: the concentration of displaced populations in camp-like sites in 1982; the introduction of “model villages” and “poles of development” in 1983-84; and the stabilization of rural “communities” in the 1990s, the result of postwar reconstruction efforts in former conflict zones. These three urbanization efforts combined spatial forms of organization with processes of subjectification that were permeated with ideas and techniques seeking to forge civilized subjects and a reformed political community

Moraliser les dirigeants syndicaux ? Sur les usages politiques d’une loi de transparence financière dans le syndicalisme états-unien
Émilien Julliard

[Moralizing Labor Union Leaders? On the Political Uses of a Financial Transparency Law in US Labor Unionism]
On the basis of a study of two dissident movements conducted in local-level structures of major US service sector unions, this article considers the political uses of a public transparency measure allowing the accounts of labor union organizations to be consulted. Actors acting on behalf of “labor union democracy” revealed account information to members, including the salaries of local leaders. Here, “transparency” was put in the service of a commonplace moral critique of representation contributing to produce the “labor union oligarchy”: in terms of his way of life, the representative was portrayed as having more in common with the “boss” than with the employees, whose interest he was therefore said to no longer defend. The dissidence entrepreneurs thus resorted to scandal to mobilize the membership in order to put an end to their representatives’ mandate or oblige them to behave differently. In this case, however, the dissidents did not succeed in scandalizing a sufficiently large number of members. Labor union head offices then intervened, simultaneously expelling the dissidents and the local leaders they had targeted.

Quand le geste révèle le militant : sur quelques cas d’entrée en journalisme d’opposition dans la Russie contemporaine
Ivan Chupin, Renata Mustafina

[When the Act Reveals the Activist: A Consideration of Three Cases of Entering the Opposition Journalism in Contemporary Russia]
roviding a case study of three situations where individuals protest against personalities who both represent the power and personify the political regime (a man interrupting the president’s speech, a student protesting against “selective” access to a meeting with the president, a political activist throwing water in a prosecutor’s face after a trial on his friends), this paper offers a sociological analysis of the life trajectories of these three actors, investigating, in particular, their multiple social inscriptions – in the world of media as well as in the universe of contentious politics. Based on the study of media coverage of these acts along with interviews realized with actors themselves, this research contributes to the study of the close relations and circulations between these two fields (activist and media) in the context of Russia’s political regime becoming more and more authoritarian. These gestures of protest constitute a turning point in their journalist careers. The extensive media coverage given to them enlarged the space of the possible for the individuals concerned and facilitated (or reinforced) their integration into the opposition media. Finally, these cases also inform us of the conditions for protest and speaking out in a constrained public sphere.

La gestion de la « crise des ordures » à Beyrouth durant l’été 2015 : quelle police des foules ?
Leila Seurat

[Managing the “Garbage Crisis” of Summer 2015 in Beirut: The Issue of Crowd Control]
Arab countries continue to occupy a marginal place in the study of crowd control. While sociologists and political scientists who are specialists of the region readily take the use of repression into account in examining collective mobilizations, very few specifically attend to policing practices. This article seeks to fill this gap by offering an interpretation of the manner in which the police managed the demonstrations that took place in Beirut in summer 2015. On several occasions, the “garbage crisis” led the Internal Security Forces (ISF) to employ disproportionate force. These events bear upon debates relating to the sociology of the police and social movements. In particular, they underscore the role played by institutional and organizational factors.

Benedetta Rossi

Camille Lefebvre. Frontières de sable, frontières de papier : histoire de territoires et de frontières, du jihad de Sokoto à la colonisation française du Niger, XIXe-XXe siècles, Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 2015, 543 pages

Luis Rivera-Vélez

Bronwyn Winter, Maxime Forest, Réjane Sénac (eds). Global Perspectives on Same-Sex Marriage: A Neo-Institutional Approach, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, XV-241 pages.

Eduardo Rios Ludena

Timothy Mitchell. Carbon Democracy : le pouvoir politique à l’ère du pétrole, Paris, La Découverte, 2017, 391 pages.


Philippe Sands. East West Street, Londres, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2016, 464 pages.