Questions de recherche

Questions de rechercheTextes scientifiques à caractère exploratoire issus d’une recherche en cours (réflexions théoriques, discussion de concepts, méthodologie, études de terrain…). La collection vise à faciliter une première diffusion des travaux et permettre aux auteurs de tirer profit des commentaires et critiques. Elle est publiée sous format électronique sur ce site

- Recommandations aux auteurs

Responsables scientifiques:
Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, gilles.favarelgarrigues@sciencespo.fr, tél. + 33158717070
Sandrine Perrot, sandrine.perrot@sciencespo.fr, tél. +331158717081

Comité éditorial :
Antonela Capelle-Pogacean, Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, Laurent Gayer, Sandrine Perrot, Sandrine Revet, Daniel Sabbagh.

Contact presse :
Karolina Michel, karolina.michel@sciencespo.fr, tél.+33158717007

La spoliation des biens juifs en Bulgarie pendant la seconde guerre mondiale : un état des lieux historiographique
N°48
March 2016

The study of the Bulgarian case provides an original contribution to the scholarship on the confiscation of Jewish property in Europe during World War II. This ally of Nazi Germany passed anti-Semitic legislation in January 1941 and laid the framework for the expropriation of Jewish properties. In the “Old Kingdom” (pre-1941 borders) however, the economic deprivation of the Bulgarian Jews did not prefigure their deportation. By contrast, in Yugoslav and Greek territories under Bulgarian occupation, economic dispossession, deportation and extermination were inexorably linked. Could the issue of spoliation therefore provide a perspective shedding new light on this tragic bifurcation? How can one interpret the micro-social dynamics, which led some social actors to take part in the grabbing of Jewish property and at times to also publicly oppose the deportation of Bulgaria’s Jews? The publication of a pioneer piece of research by Bulgarian historian Roumen Avramov provides the opportunity to offer a review of the literature on the Holocaust and the expropriation of Jewish properties in Bulgaria. Building upon Avramov’s work, this article also suggests areas for further research on anti-Jewish policies in Bulgaria.

Eran Tzidkiyahu

“God Cannot Keep Silent”. Strong Religious-Nationalism – Theory and Practice
N°47
October 2015

This article wishes to discuss the phenomenon of strong religious-nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a comparative approach, paving the road for further research to come. The term strong religion-nationalism occurs when a nation-state unites the nation, state and ethnicity with religion. This kind of cultural political phenomenon flourishes in areas of conflicts concerning contested central holy sites, in which politicians are likely to mobilize religious-nationalism. Societies and states containing significant strong religious-national elements are in greater risk of falling into radical nationalism, fascism and totalitarianism. The term “strong religious-nationalism” is a paraphrase on the title of the book by Almond, Appleby and Sivan: Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms around the World (2003). This does not mean that strong religious-nationalists are necessarily fundamentalists as depicted by the authors. It does correspond with the author’s choice of the term Strong Religion, relating to the movements they examined as “[…] militant and highly focused antagonists of secularization. They call a halt on the centuries-long retreat of religious establishments before the secular power. They follow the rule of offense being better than defence, and they often include the extreme option of violence and death.” The authors “intend the notion of ‘strength’ to suggest that these are movements to reckon with seriously” (Almond, Appleby and Sivan 2003: 2) Strong religious-nationalists merge successfully within the framework of the nation-state, making politics a part of religion, politicizing religion, transforming the nation-state into a “vehicle of the divine” (Friedland 2002: 381).

Samuel B. H. Faure

La coopération internationale dans le secteur de l’armement. Apports et critiques de la littérature à la lumière du cas français
N°46
June 2015

This article focuses on the decision-making dilemma of arms procurement policy. Why does a State decide sometimes to cooperate internationally with other States and their defense industries, to buy military goods such as jet fighters, tanks and warships, and why does it decide sometimes to not cooperate and prefers autarky? To answer this Research Question, this article brings in the form of a literature review, all the contributions in political science (almost hundred references) that explain this decisional variation. The aim is to map all explanatory models of this dilemma by testing their theoretical and methodological proposals on the case of France, to identify their main contributions and their weakness.

Fred Eboko

Vers une matrice de l’action publique en Afrique ? Approche trans-sectorielle de l’action publique en Afrique contemporaine
N°45
February 2015

This paper deals with the recurrences, which structure a relative standardization that concerns actors of the public policies in contemporary Africa. The proposed entrance is twofold. At first the author aims to highlight configurations of actors (international, national, public, private, associative, etc.), at the level of institutions, presented under forms “of agencies” (of normalization/standardization, regulation, execution, counterproposal, etc.). Secondly, a comparison within the health sector (AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis), then a comparative approach with two other sectors (the education and the biodiversity). This configuration of actors and institutions is based on a central hypothesis: the construction of “a matrix of the public action in Africa” among which the dynamics and the expected or prescribed results are different from one sector to the other. The main hypothesis, which tends to explain these differences, is articulated on the dynamic notion of “epistemic communities” developed by Peter Haas. The New Funding Model (NFM) of the Global Fund against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria represents an ultimate model of this matrix.

Thomas Fouquet

Penser au-delà du « terrain sexuel » à Dakar Éléments d’une épistémologie située
N°44
November 2014

Based on a long lasting fieldwork experience in the Dakar by night, this study questions the terms and issues of ethnographical implication, facing the double externality that characterizes the position of the researcher: being a white French man among Senegalese women, whilst many of them are looking for western male partners or “sponsors.” How to cope with the image of “prey” that broadly surrounds the ethnographer? How to articulate the critical analysis of the ethnographic situation, and that of social, political, economical and phantasmatic issues that emerge through “postcolonial encounter”? The problem is in particular not to reduce such an experience to the description of a “sexual fieldwork” thus designed as an ethnographic exceptional area. By showing that the real object of reflexivity always proves elusive, this rooted epistemology relies on a heuristic paradox: it is the progressive distancing of an “Ethnographer’s Self” that ultimately allows to come closer to the interlocutors. Incidentally, this paradoxical negotiation of the distance carries by itself some major anthropological informations.

Christophe Wasinski

Le monde est notre théâtre d’opération : interventions militaires et régime technostratégique depuis la fin de la guerre froide
N°43
August 2013

We hereafter make the case that a certain technostrategic knowledge regime exists that builds a good reputation to military interventions. This contributes to normalizing the latter within the apparels responsible for the execution of foreign policies, since the end of the cold war. Supported by a contemporary military and security discourse analysis, this work analyses how this regime of knowledge was elaborated, how it circumscribes a field of possibles for intervention and how it attributes great credibility to this very field of possibles.

Sécularisation et orthodoxie dans la Russie contemporaine : pour une hypothèse continuiste ?
N°42
May 2013

Due to the growing importance of religion in post-Soviet Russia and the prevalent place of the Orthodox Church in Russian politics, certain analysts have argued that Russia is undergoing a process of desecularization today. While this phenomenon is also occurring in other parts of the world, Russia is different from these cases—notably because of its sociopolitical history and its particular religious context. Instead of opposing this trend toward desecularization to the earlier trend toward secularization at the time of the Soviet Union, the emphasis is put on the continuity of governemental practices. Religion today has become an essential part of a mode of governing that was made possible through a form of identity-building reinvented by the elites. This mode of governing reflects to a certain extent the continuity of the Soviet mode of governing characterized by a non pluralist ideology.

Secularization without Secularism in Pakistan
N°41
September 2012

Pakistan was created in 1947 by leaders of the Muslim minority of the British Raj in order to give them a separate
state. Islam was defined by its founder, Jinnah, in the frame of his “two-nation theory,” as an identity marker
(cultural and territorial). His ideology, therefore, contributed to an original form of secularization, a form that is
not taken into account by Charles Taylor in his theory of secularization – that the present text intends to test and
supplement. This trajectory of secularization went on a par with a certain form of secularism which, this time,
complies with Taylor’s definition. As a result, the first two Constitutions of Pakistan did not define Islam as an
official religion and recognized important rights to the minorities. However, Jinnah’s approach was not shared
by the Ulema and the fundamentalist leaders, who were in favor of an islamization policy. The pressures they
exerted on the political system made an impact in the 1970s, when Z.A. Bhutto was instrumentalizing Islam. Zia’s
islamization policy made an even bigger impact on the education system, the judicial system and the fiscal system,
at the expense of the minority rights. But Zia pursued a strategy of statization of Islam that had been initiated
by Jinnah and Ayub Khan on behalf of different ideologies, which is one more illustration of the existence of an
additional form of secularization that has been neglected by Taylor.

Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos

Boko Haram et le terrorisme islamiste au Nigeria : insurrection religieuse, contestation politique ou protestation sociale ?
N°40
June 2012

In Nigeria, the Islamic terrorism of Boko Haram raises a lot of questions about the political relationship between so-called "religious" violence and the state. At least three of them expose our confusions about islamization, conversion, radicalization and the politicization of religion, namely:
– Is it a religious uprising or a political contest for power?
– How does it express a social revolt?
– How indicative is it of a radicalization of the patterns of protest of the Muslims in Northern Nigeria?
A fieldwork study shows that Boko Haram is not so much political because it wants to reform the society, but mainly because it reveals the intrigues of a weak government and the fears of a nation in the making. Otherwise, the radicalization of Islam cannot be limited to terrorism and it is difficult to know if the movement is more extremist, fanatic and murderous than previous uprising like the one of Maitatsine in Kano in 1980. The capacity of Boko Haram to develop international connections and to challenge the state is not exceptional as such. Far from the clichés on a clash of civilizations between the North and the South, the specificity of the sect in Nigeria has more to do with its suicide attacks. Yet the terrorist evolution of Boko Haram was first and foremost caused by the brutality of the state repression, more than alleged contacts with an international jihadist movement.

Christian Olsson

De la pacification coloniale aux opérations extérieures
N°39
April 2012

In this study, we try to apply the genealogical methodology to the analysis of French, British and American military discourse on the « pacification of populations » from the xixth century until today. The objective is indeed to analyse and problematise the colonial continuities that the leitmotiv of the « hearts and minds » reveals. We do this by focusing on the « moments » that have framed and reframed the social uses and significations of this leitmotiv: firstly, the « moment » of colonial conquest ; then, the « moment » of the wars of decolonization ; finally, the « moment » of western interventionism in postcolonial states. While highlighting the colonial continuities of military practice, our main conclusion is that the meanings of the leitmotiv are extremely variable and always subjected to contradictory interpretations. The genealogy of the « hearts and minds » hence draws attention to its many discontinuities. It particularly shows how the postcolonial « moment » has subverted its colonial meanings.

Ivan Manokha, Mona Chalabi

The Latest Financial Crisis: IR Goes Ban
N°38
December 2011

The latest financial crisis has put the state and the international system to the test. In this context one would expect an explosion in literature from the discipline that claims academic monopoly over the international sphere: International Relations. However, as our research shows, surprisingly few IR scholars have made any attempt to analyse the crisis. This article seeks to explain this paucity of engagement, and the failings of those few works that did attempt to engage with the crisis, by exposing the limits of the discipline's orthodoxy. It argues that the discipline of IR has been predominantly concerned with the analysis of political interactions of sovereign states, their external behaviour towards each other in an anarchic international system, with each of these territorial units seen as pursuing their national interests, usually vaguely defined in terms of power or resources. With such privileging of the political over the economic, of the external over the domestic, of state actors over non-state actors, and of the study of conflict over the analysis of other types of interactions, the discipline of IR has inherently and structurally been unable to engage with, and render intelligible, the latest financial crisis and its consequences. The article then sketches out an alternative approach which seeks to overcome the dichotomies that characterize the orthodoxy and provides a more holistic explanation of the crisis.

Xiaohong Xiao-Planes

Les nouvelles sources chinoises sur l'histoire politique de la "première Chine populaire" (1949-1976) : bilan provisoire
N°37
September 2011

Documentary sources on the "first people's republic of china," running from the foundation of the new regime in 1949 to the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, have increased for the last three decades without receiving particular attention. It is as if, in the eyes of a majority, Chinese history had no existence or remained totally jeopardized by the controls it is subject to. This study aims to measure the importance and value of these new sources, in the most lucid and balanced way possible. To reach this, we must first remind very briefly the sources that served as basis for studies on Chinese political history (mostly from American universities), which have emerged since the fifties.

Anthony Amicelle

The Great (Data) Bank Robbery: Terrorist Finance Tracking Program and the "SWIFT Affair"
N°36
May 2011

The present paper examines current dynamics of surveillance regarding the fight against “terrorism” and its financing. Close analysis of the so-called “SWIFT Affair” and the US terrorist finance tracking program draw attention to one specific case-study which allows us to question the contemporary politics of massively accessing commercial data-banks for intelligence purposes. With reference to the SWIFT affair, the paper explores a sensitive aspect of transatlantic cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism

Amandine Regamey

Les femmes snipers de Tchétchénie : interprétation d'une légende de guerre
N°35
March 2011

The legend of women snipers who allegedly fought against Russian forces in Chechnya was first fueled by war stories among Russian troops before Russian authorities officially embraced and promoted the narrative. It was eventually disseminated in society through movies and literature. This legend offers insights into the war narratives of Russian troops about the war in Chechnya and its portrayal in Russian society more generally. It consists of different intertwined layers that vary in importance and significance, all of which contribute to its success. Drawing on the figure of the « Wight Tight », mythic women mercenaries from the Baltic States, the legend portrays Russia as a victim of an aggression thus legitimizing the war in Chechnya. Additionally, the legend recounts the experience of Russian soldiers, therefore providing grounds for Russian political and military leaders to stigmatise women and justify the violence committed against civilians. Finally, it allows men serving in Chechnya to construct a male identity based on the war experience, which is able to oppose the imaginary threats of these female enemies. The text addresses also the way war legend can help understand armed conflict, and the way scattered sources and questionable testimonies can be turned into an object of research.

Refining the "Moderation Thesis" Regarding "Radical Parties". The Jana Sangh and the BJP between Hindu Nationalism and Coalition Politics in India
N°34
December 2010

The inclusion of Hindu nationalist parties in India's democratic process has not resulted in their moderation in a linear way. Since 1947, the parties have oscillated between a sectarian strategy of religious mobilization and a more moderate one respecting the secular norms of the Constitution. Whether the Hindu nationalist parties opted for the path of radicalization or that of moderation has chiefly depended on their relation with their mother organization, the RSS, the perception of the Muslims that prevails at a given time in India, of the attitude of the other parties regarding secularism and - in correlation with the variables mentioned above - of the most effective electoral tactic.