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

Olivier Nay

Policy Transfer and Bureaucratic Influence in the United Nations. The case of AIDS
N°33
September 2010

This paper focuses on the circulation of policy ideas within the United Nations (UN) system. Based upon a study of UNAIDS, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, it shows how international bureaucracies can capitalize on policy-oriented information and knowledge to strengthen their autonomy and consolidate their authority within their own environment. Using a policy transfer approach as its analytical framework, the paper draws particular attention to the UNAIDS Secretariat, considered as a “transfer entrepreneur.” It argues that in the 2000s, the Secretariat has demonstrated a capacity to collect, develop and disseminate policy ideas on the epidemic and, consequently, has gradually participated in UN policy development. It thus suggests that the Secretariat has extended its authority within the UN system despite a restricted mandate and low resources. In conclusion, the paper points out the need to examine policy transfer among international organizations through actors, interests, and strategies, as a complement to holistic approaches.

Françoise Daucé, Myriam Désert, Marlène Laruelle, Anne Le Huérou

Les usages pratiques du patriotisme en Russie
N°32
June 2010

Since the second half of the 1990s, the theme of national revival crystallized in Russia, notably in the form of a promotion of patriotism. The apparent convergence between an offer “from above” and a demand “from below” supports the idea that there exists a kind of patriotic consensus in Russia. This new tense and autarchic fusion between state and society summons old stereotypes about Russo- Soviet culture. This issue of Questions of Research seeks to go back over these stereotypes in order to show the diversity of “patriotic” practices in Russia today (which widely surpass the “militarist” variant generally evoked) and the connected social uses that are made of it. Following an overview of the existing literature on Russian nationalism and patriotism, as well as a presentation of the patriotic education curricula being implemented by the Russian state, our study on “patriotic” practices continues through several points of observation (patrioti c summer clubs and camps for children and adolescents in Saint- Petersburg, Moscow and Omsk; ethno-cultural organizati ons; Orthodox religious organizations; and the discursive practices of economic actors). The examination of these different terrains reveals the diversity of everyday “patriotic” activities; and illustrates their utilization to multiple ends (pragmatic concern for one’s professional career, search for a personal source of inspirati on, opportunities for enrichment, pleasure of undertaking activiti es with one’s friend and relations…). In the end, these fieldwork surveys reveal motivations and commitments in which official patriotic discourse and the image of state are often secondary, sometimes even denied.

Marché, bureaucratie, formes de la domination politique. Une économie politique weberienne
N°31
April 2010

From a broad perspective, political economy analyses economic and political exchanges proper to some social groups, embedded in particular historical periods. The great innovation of Max Weber’s analysis is to highlight the intersubjective orientations that support these exchanges and characterize a particular period of history. This study firstly compares different features between free market economy and the soviet-type economy. Secondly, it measures their difference in accordance to the “ideal type” of “market”, bureaucracy” and “forms of domination”. Finally, it insists on the particular “hybrid” figures of “charisma” and “patrimonial bureaucracy”.

Olivier Nay

Administrative Reform in International Organizations : The Case of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
N°30
October 2009

This paper focuses on the causal factors, implementati on, and side eff ects of administrati ve reforms launched within the United Nati ons system, in the fi eld of HIV and AIDS. It is based on an empirical analysis of the UNAIDS Programme, an interorganizati onal system bringing together ten UN agencies to combat the worldwide epidemic, with the support of a Secretariat. Firstly, the paper argues that the administrati ve reform of UNAIDS was unlikely to have come from the UN organizati ons themselves, although the Programme was expected to lead these organizati ons to bett er coordinate and harmonize their AIDS strategies. Secondly, it identi fi es three external factors that have led UN organizati ons to reform their governance mechanisms and procedures. Thirdly, it explores the conditi ons under which the reform of UNAIDS has been implemented since 2005, with parti cular att enti on to the Secretariat that has become involved as an acti ve “reform entrepreneur.” Finally, it identi fi es some of the unexpected eff ects of the reform, with a parti cular emphasis on competi ti on between UN agencies, organizati onal complexity, and bureaucrati zati on. The concluding remarks argue that when analyzing administrati ve reforms within internati onal organizati ons, one should investi gate the interrelati ons between the external pressures that drive reforms and the acti vity of reform entrepreneurs.

Emmanuel Viret

La langue amère des temps nouveaux : dynamique de la violence au Rwanda rural (1991-1994)
N°29
August 2009

Dealing with the dynamics of rural violence under the multi-party transition (1991-1994), this paper suggests new points of view on the mobilization of Rwandan peasantry during the genocide (1994). Going through local archives and interviews held in the hills and in four prisons of the country, the analysis focuses on the increasing development of an economy of violence. The multi-party system incited competing rural elites to recruit a growing number of men and ruffians against other contenders in order to assure their access to power. Local elites (re)formed patron-client links previously dried by the spreading of money and wage incomes in the countryside. Particular attention is paid to the dimension of political entrepreneurship and to the relationship between social brokers and rural elites, in the course of the struggle between political parties as well as during the building of the Power coalitions which led the massacres locally.

Laurent Gayer

Le parcours du combattant : une approche biographique des militant(e)s sikh(e)s du Khalistan
N°28
May 2009

Between 1984 and 1995, the Indian Punjab was the theatre for a separatist insurrectional movement led by Sikh irregular armed groups. Most Sikh militants who picked up the gun against the Indian state were male, but a handful of women also took part in this armed struggle, which also enjoyed some support from Pakistan. Rather than the motivations of the fighters, it is their individual trajectories that are explored here. Following a critical biographical approach, paying attention to the silences of the actors and to the distorting effects of their ex-post testimonies, this paper aims at unraveling the familial genealogies of these militant careers, before identifying their successive sequences. Through this exercise, it is possible to shed light on individual dispositions towards engagement. However, this preliminary exercise must be followed up by an in-depth study of the conditions of actualization of these dispositions into a sustained form of commitment. Therefore, this paper focuses on the modalities of recruitment into clandestine organizations, before turning to the practical and psychological dilemmas induced by the return of these combatants to civilian life, which remain understudied. By introducing gender into the scope of the study, this paper also aims at assessing the variations between masculine and feminine ways of being and having been in clandestinity.

Thierry Delpeuch

L'analyse des transferts internationaux de politiques publiques : un état de l'art
N°27
December 2008

Several prolific research fields dedicate themselves to the analysis of the contemporary phenomena of circulation, transfer and convergence of public policies. These clusters of studies have in common to explore the impact of external influences and foreign sources of inspiration or imitation on policy making process. Two major research orientations can be distinguished among these studies. The first one develops a perspective in the close proximity of the new sociological institutionalism. It scrutinizes the causal grounds and the social impacts of the expansion of policy transfers, by putting the stress on the influence of cultural and institutional factors. The second one, which is related to the sociology of social action, primarily examines the implementation of concrete policy transplant operations from one social context to another, by meticulously investigating the social characteristics of transfer agents and analyzing their interactions. Our argument is that the various approaches covered here – which are sociology of diffusion, new sociological institutionalism, europeanization studies, lesson-drawing and policy learning literature, structural sociology, and, of course, the research stream which identifies itself as policy transfer studies - are today on the way to overcome their divergences and to consolidate a common framework of sociological knowledge about policy transfers, grounded in both holistic and individualistic sociological traditions.

Politiques du moment colonial. Historicités indigènes et rapports vernaculaires au politique en « situation coloniale »
N°26
October 2008

The field of colonial studies has gone through tremendous theoretical upheavals in the past three decades. Yet something is still too often missing in the study of 17th, 18th and 19th century situations of colonial or imperial “encounter”, namely this vernacular domain of thought and actions that was kept out of reach of the colonizer’s power and knowledge tools, and that was not geared toward the (whether coerced or not) commercial, political or military interaction with the Europeans. Nevertheless, it is only by focusing on this vernacular (rather than “native” or “indigenous”) hors-champ of the colonial situation that one can achieve a better understanding of the multi-layered historicity of extraeuropean societies. This perspective indeed allows us to make sense of the “colonial moment” of these societies with regards not only to their encounter with Europe, but also to their own long-term ideological and political trajectories (trajectories that began long before the arrival of the Europeans and that never can be wholly equated with the effects and consequences of the latter). This research agenda moreover helps us to get back to a more nuanced and historically accurate view of the initial precariousness and “leopard-skin” style dissemination of European colonial power. Lastly, it enables us to get beyond the now dominant paradigm of the “indigenous appropriation of colonial/European modernity” and its old-fashioned utilitarian language of “native agency” by investigating the local, vernacular visions of the self and of history that were put to use in the tactical engagement with, or avoidance of, colonial rule.

En quoi les « partis ethniques » sont-ils « ethniques » ? Les trajectoires du MDL en Bulgarie et de l’UDMR en Roumanie
N°25
June 2008

A rather marginal theme in Eastern European studies before the end of communism, ethnic politics and minority policies in Central and South-East Europe have given birth to a very rich body of literature in the 1990s. Some analyses have been influenced by the so-called “transitology” paradigm; others have borrowed from ethnic conflict studies. In both cases, though, ethnocultural diversity has mostly been treated in a normative way and portrayed as an obstacle to democratization. As for ethnic parties, they have alternatively been presented as conducive to better political participation and integration for the minorities (in a multiculturalist perspective) or as a threat to state stability and to democracy. Regardless of these cleavages, most research on ethnic identifications and on their mobilization in politics has been grounded upon substantial definitions of ethnic “groups” and has reified differences between “generalist” and “ethnic” parties. The present comparison between the trajectory of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MFR, which represents the interests of the Turks and other Muslims in Bulgaria) and that of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (DAHR, representing the Hungarian population) departs from these approaches in two ways. First, it emphasizes the centrality of the sociology of collective action to understanding the politicization of ethnicity, while insisting on the need to trace the particular historical processes through which ethnicity has been constructed and politicized in every single case. Second, attention is brought to the role the social imaginary plays in shaping the strategies of social and political actors. To put it otherwise, we argue that identities are not exogenous to politicization processes; they are redefined, renegotiated and reappropriated as social actors invest the political field. “Ethnic parties” are in urgent need of deexoticization: Like most parties, they cannot elude the traditional dilemmas of political representation, in particular the need to be perceived as both responsive and accountable.

En quoi les « partis ethniques » sont-ils « ethniques » ? Les trajectoires du MDL en Bulgarie et de l’UDMR en Roumanie
N°25
June 2008

A rather marginal theme in Eastern European studies before the end of communism, ethnic politics and minority policies in Central and South-East Europe have given birth to a very rich body of literature in the 1990s. Some analyses have been influenced by the so-called “transitology” paradigm; others have borrowed from ethnic conflict studies. In both cases, though, ethnocultural diversity has mostly been treated in a normative way and portrayed as an obstacle to democratization. As for ethnic parties, they have alternatively been presented as conducive to better political participation and integration for the minorities (in a multiculturalist perspective) or as a threat to state stability and to democracy. Regardless of these cleavages, most research on ethnic identifications and on their mobilization in politics has been grounded upon substantial definitions of ethnic “groups” and has reified differences between “generalist” and “ethnic” parties. The present comparison between the trajectory of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MFR, which represents the interests of the Turks and other Muslims in Bulgaria) and that of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (DAHR, representing the Hungarian population) departs from these approaches in two ways. First, it emphasizes the centrality of the sociology of collective action to understanding the politicization of ethnicity, while insisting on the need to trace the particular historical processes through which ethnicity has been constructed and politicized in every single case. Second, attention is brought to the role the social imaginary plays in shaping the strategies of social and political actors. To put it otherwise, we argue that identities are not exogenous to politicization processes; they are redefined, renegotiated and reappropriated as social actors invest the political field. “Ethnic parties” are in urgent need of deexoticization: Like most parties, they cannot elude the traditional dilemmas of political representation, in particular the need to be perceived as both responsive and accountable.

Le concept de situation thermidorienne : régimes néo-révolutionnaires et libéralisation économique
N°24
March 2008

The concept of "Thermidorian situation" finds itself in the tradition of the "authoritarian situation" (Guy Hermet) and "colonial situation" (Georges Balandier). It accounts for historical experiences of postrevolutionary regimes and their economic liberalization in the context of neo-liberal globalization. Developed from the Cambodian case, the Thermidorian comparative paradigm helps to interpret the economical and political liberalization processes in post-communist states and the establishment of their revolutionary elite into a dominating class. This interpretation does not refer to the normative and teleological terms of "transitology". Nevertheless, understanding the Thermidorian moment implies that it should not be reduced to a mere preservation of power, as an utilitarian reading of the events would imply. Indeed, it has to deal with autonomous social dynamics. Other types of post-revolutionary trajectories that are non-socialist, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, can serve as good examples of this phenomenon. The Thermidorian paradigm takes into account a plurality of relatively homogeneous trajectories that combine into a revolutionary event, a process of institutionalization and professionalization of the latter, and of a dynamic of integration into the capitalist world economy. This concept cannot stand for an explanation, but emphasizes the specificity of the regimes that stem from a revolution and that are confronted to their own reproduction within the context of the dismantling of the socialist camp and neoliberal globalization. "Thermidorisms" have their own historicity, notably the revolution they arose from. They also have their own political economy that cannot be reduced to the imposition of the neo-liberal model. Thermidorian moments are historical experiences subjected to contingency vagaries and social struggles. As such, they are "situations" (Jean-Paul Sartre) in which the reproduction of power and liberty of actors are simultaneously at stake.

Renaud Egreteau

L’analyse de la « rivalité » dans les relations internationales. Le cas de l’Inde et de la Chine
N°23
December 2007

The rise of both India and China at the dawn of the 21st century has been one of the main strategic stakes on which many international academic and political studies have been focusing since the end of the Cold War. With an almost two-digit growth, a booming trade, an ever increasing military budget, the possession of a credible nuclear force and asserted diplomatic ambitions on regional and international arenas, the simultaneous emergence of India and China have fascinated, but also raised many interrogations throughout the world. Will this emergence and the global Sino-Indian bilateral relationship be peaceful? Are the two Asian giants entrenched in a global and enduring rivalry? After a brief overview of the concrete rise of the two Asian neighbours on the international scene, this paper will analyse this phenomenon in the light of an original theoretical corpus, the “Rivalry” literature. Marginal in Europe, but well studied in the United States since the nineties, the “Rivalry” conceptual framework will enable us to see whether the bilateral relationship established by India and China might be theoretically qualified as a “rivalry” or if the expression has been too hackneyed. 1

Ingrid Therwath

Le Sangh Parivar et la diaspora hindoue en Occident : Royaume-Uni, États-Unis et Canada
N°22
October 2007

« Long-distance nationalism », an expression coined by Benedict Anderson, is often used in reference to transnational political activities. But the dynamics of this expatriate nationalism tend to be neglected. Mere nostalgia or even spontaneous mobilisations are evoked to explain this phenomenon. They, however, fail to explain the mechanism that lies behind « long-distance nationalism ». This paper wishes to highlight, through the example of the Hindu nationalist movements, the implication of political entrepreneurs in the country of origin and the instrumental dimension of « long-distance nationalism ». The Sangh Parivar, a network of nationalist Hindu organisations, was indeed replicated among the Hindu diaspora and its structure was litterally exported by a centralised body located in India itself. Of course, the spread of the Sangh Parivar and of its Hindutva ideology abroad was greatly facilitated by local policies like multiculturalism and by the rise of racism in the countries of emigration. A comparison of Hindu nationalist outlets in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada brings to light the two main factors in instilling « long-distance nationalism » : a favorable local context for ethnic mobilisation among migrants on the one hand, and a centralised organisation in the country of origin on the other hand. Eventually, the engineering of long-distance Hindu nationalism from India questions the changing nature of nationalism in a globalised world.

Julien Meimon

L’invention de l’aide française au développement
N°21
September 2007

In the turbulent international context of the late 1950s, the French 5th Republic and its leaders orchestrated the end of the colonial system, i.e. all of its emblematic institutions: the French “Overseas” ministry and minister, the administrative corps of colonial functionaries and standard recruitment path (the École nationale de la France d’outre-mer) disappeared, setting the stage for a new, fairly complex system labeled “Coopération.” The ministry of the same name was to play a major role up until the end of the 20th century. This new system, which came about as a result of the breakup of the colonial empire, is closely related to the issue of development aid and relies essentially on civil servants having received their training in the colonial institutions and seeking for redeployment. This study analyzes the paradox of a “new policy” embodied by officials infused with a colonial culture, focusing on their reconversion in terms of deeds and discourse. This will point up one of the initial weaknesses of France’s African policy and one of the reasons that it has slowly crumbled.

Dag Erik Berg

Sovereignties, the World Conference against Racism 2001 and the Formation of a Dalit Human Rights Campaign
N°20
April 2007

This paper examines how the World Conference against Racism in Durban 2001 intensified an old debate in India about caste and race. The controversy arose after the ‘National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights’ wanted to present caste discrimination in Durban as equivalent to racial discrimination. The Indian government protested, and distinguished sociologists entered the fray by claiming that race is a western concept which cannot be compared to caste, strengthening the official position. Conceptual logic became central to the debate. First, the position represents conventional knowledge, which reflects the anti-colonial attempt to define race as being irrelevant to India. But, secondly, the scholarly discourse acted to exclude oppression from the debate in clear contrast to the Durban agenda on racism and intolerance. The debate showed, broadly, how Durban represented a transformative potential by connecting global racism discourse to the moral status of an embedded postcolonial state. Further, the paper argues that the dominating conceptual focus reflects a paradigmatic individualism, which informs the scholarly approach to modern caste formations. While individualist approaches exclude Dalit rhetoric as subjective, they do not sufficiently acknowledge that the exclusionary logics inflicted on Dalits in modern bureaucratic institutions is a racial dynamic. To shed light on the Durban controversy, the paper outlines the larger background to caste in India and provides examples of Dalit discourse. It also presents the formation of the human rights network and controversial issues regarding the way they define themselves as NGOs, Dalits and Christians. These attributed properties were fundamental for the debate(s). Durban cannot be seen as an episode with tangible empirical impact. Rather, the debate was an intense moment in an ongoing historical argument about hierarchical practices and equality in India as well as about its moral status in the global community. In December 2006, however, at an international conference in New Delhi, the Prime Minister of India compared the Dalit situation to apartheid.