Work, Employment, and Professions

This research programme focuses on the transformations taking place in the sphere of work and employment, within a context marked by major technological changes, the rationalisation of work organisations, the development of the digital, and the rising uncertainty and instability of employment situations.

This programme comprises two main lines of inquiry:

  1. The first is based on the observation of a growing destabilization of the borders between employment and non-employment, qualification and non-qualification, and professional and private life. By granting a central role to the work and unemployment experiences of individuals, as well as to the ordeals they endure, researchers seek to study how these phenomena perpetuate differentiation and inequalities between workers, sectors, and professional groups.
  2. The second line of inquiry focuses on complex work organisations, which call on multiple forms of expertise, require continual recalibration, and articulate various levels of service. Researchers analyse work in action, as well as how activities are coordinated, change, and develop.

The research carried out at the CSO is characterized first and foremost by the wide variety of fields studied, be they occupations, organisations, sectors of activity (medicine, politics, culture, industry, services, sports, etc.), or mechanisms regulating professional careers (employment agencies, job fairs, collective agreements, rights advocates, etc.). The comparison of different fields allows researchers to foster a nuanced broad-spectrum analysis of contemporary transformations in work. Our research is further distinguished by the scope of qualitative and quantitative methods of investigation employed: interviews, observations, documents, archives, collection and analysis of original data, secondary treatment of existing surveys, etc.

Programme directors: Léonie Hénaut and Philipp Brandt.


  • Individuals’ work and unemployment histories and experiences
  • Negotiations and regulations of working time
  • Job applicant assessment and recruitment trials
  • Work in action
  • Transformations in work and professional work dynamics in relation to managerial reforms and technological change
  • Inequalities – pay, statutory, recognition, etc. – between workers
  • Cooperation and conflict between professionals
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