From International Relations to International Sociologies

The political turmoil triggered by the end of the Cold War and the growth of globalisation have led to a paradigmatic renewal of the discipline of International Relations. At the same time, there has been a growing interest in studying international affairs from other disciplines (sociology, anthropology, history, philosophy, language sciences, etc.), raising new questions around gender studies, post-colonial studies, analysis of public policy, economic sociology and so on. It is now understood that public policy, just as private sector policy, is deployed transnationally across different spatial and temporal scales. New linkages and the socially constructed character of problems and the political treatment they receive are now coming to light.

Members of this stream share the conviction that a sociological approach to international affairs can overcome certain dichotomies that the discipline of international relations has artificially constructed (the agent/structure, actor/system, idea/matter oppositions, to give just a few examples). The central hypothesis is that the sociological approach provides an empirical foundation for research and, consequently, a historical context for the study of international affairs.

Three new approaches under way

  • New Approaches to Security and Violence (Kenza Afsahi, Gilles Bertrand, Mathias Delori, Jacques Faget, Eric Macé, Adrien Ostolski, Evelyne Ritaine, Alessandra Russo, Damien Simonneau, Delphine Thivet)
  • New Approaches to International Political Economy (Kenza Afsahi, Olivier Cousin, Caroline Dufy, Andy Smith, Alina Surubaru)
  • New Dimensions of Regionalism: Emerging Powers and Globalisation (Daniel Bach, Gilles Bertrand, Caroline Dufy, Morgan Lans, Alessandra Russo).

2018-2020 Research Programme

For the past two years, the International Sociologies stream has been examining the production and circulation of a variety of objects (human and non-human, goods, knowledge, rules, practices, etc.). The aim is to determine the factors driving these circulations: are they endogenous/exogenous, politicised, technicalised?  Is it possible to determine patterns of circulation for the various objects? What are the effects of these circulations? Do they produce asymmetries, changes, resistance? What forms do they take?

Three central themes have been defined

  • 1) Objects in circulation: humans (migration, regionalism), goods (are there disputed markets and objects?), how they circulate, the dead ends and limits of circulation  
  • 2) The circulation of norms and standards: new approaches to safety, development of sustainable cities, etc.
  • 3) Resistance and circulation of legitimacy: violence, social movements, conflicts

You can view the programme for the current year here.

More information

Updated on 02/10/2020