A broad-based, comparative research center in sociology

Mirna Safi (image Alexis Lecomte, Sciences Po)

The Observatoire sociologique du changement (OSC) is a research center affiliated with  Sciences Po and the Institut des sciences humaines et sociales (InSHS) of CNRS (UMR 7049).

Head of the OSC is Mirna Safi, Associate Professor at Sciences Po, since January 1, 2019. She has been a member of the OSC since 2007. She is the first woman leading the laboratory since its start in 1988.  Her research topics focuses on migration, urban segregation, discriminations and ethno-racial inequalities.

Research at the OSC focuses on four main pillars:

OSC is a broad-based, comparative research center in sociology. 
Henri MendrasFounded in 1988 by Henri Mendras and led by Marco Oberti since January 1, 2014, the OSC investigates social dynamics in contemporary societies.
Combining qualitative and quantitative methods, the center gives primacy to cross-national comparative perspectives and multiple scales of analysis. The research produced at the center is solidly grounded in empirical inquiry.

A well-established team in social research communities in France and worldwide

Researchers at the OSC collaborate on interdisciplinary projects with other research teams at Sciences Po and with the French and international scientific communities at large. 

As active members of sociological associations and editorial board members of sociological journals, the OSC researchers are regularly invited to share their expertise on scientific boards and in national or international conferences. They have established worldwide partnerships.
The research produced at the OSC resonates far beyond the academic world, as the center's researchers and doctoral students are regularly invited to make media appearances and to participate on expert committees addressing social issue in contemporary societies.

A Strong investment in doctoral training and supervision

With over 30 PhD students fully integrated into the life of the center, the OSC plays an important role in doctoral training as one of the host research centers for the Sciences Po Doctoral Program in Sociology.

The center's members teach a number of courses within the are actively involved in teaching in Sciences Po Sociology department.


The OSC was rated A+ by AERES (French Evaluation Agency for Research and Higher Education) in January 2013 for each of its 6 evaluation criteria:

  • Production and quality of scientific research
  • Academic renown and attractiveness
  • Interaction with the social, economic and cultural environment
  • Organization and life of the center
  • Involvement in research training
  • 5-year strategy and project

Read the AERES evaluation in French (.pdf).


Article updated on 28-11-2019
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