Sophie Russo is a PhD candidate in political sociology at Sciences Po, affiliated with the Center for International Studies (CERI) since 2017. Her research interests revolve around the sociology of crime and policing, the role played by local state and non-state authorities in the application of the law, and the dynamics of state formation in Pakistan. Her dissertation explores the role played by trade union leaders in the maintenance of social order in Karachi's wholesale Old City markets. In that context, she has conducted extensive fieldwork in Pakistan, working especially with traders, bazar leaders, police officers and municipal officials.

Sophie is recipient of a PhD research grant from Sciences Po's National Foundation for Political Science (FNSP). She is conducting her doctoral research under the direction of Gilles Favarel Garrigues (CNRS/CERI-Sciences Po) and Laurent Gayer (CNRS/CERI-Sciences Po). She has been a visiting scholar at Karachi's Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in 2016, and at the Alliance Française's Center for Social Sciences in Karachi (CSSK) in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Before joining the CERI in 2017, Sophie had obtained her bachelor's degree in Comparative Politics from New York University (NYU) and a master's degree in Comparative Political Sociology from Sciences Po's Doctoral School. During her master's studies, she wrote her thesis on the modalities of the participation of citizens, and more particularly businessmen, in crime-fighting activities, on the basis of fieldwork conducted with industrialists and police officers in Karachi. She had also worked as a research assistant for professors in New York and Paris.

Sophie also teaches political science and sociology at Sciences Po Paris, as part of its Asia programme in Le Havre.


Reshaping moral boundaries, finding security: Trade union leaders and the making of social order in Karachi's bazar, supervised by Gilles Favarel-Garrigues and Laurent Gayer

Research Interests

Sociology of crime and deviance; sociology of policing and order maintenance; informality and urban governance; state formation in Pakistan

  • Languages

    French, English, Urdu
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