When fieldwork challenges categories
The purpose of this conference is to question how young researchers use and invent categories of analysis.
Notions of “South” or “cultural areas” gave the possibility of interdisciplinary dialogue and helped the research to make major progress. Moreover, they played a key role in the division of academic institutions and in the mobility of researchers. Yet these notions, as any category, are historically meaningful. Even if the terms “North” and “South” refer to neutral cardinal points, these categories replaced former dichotomies such as “West/East”, “West/Third World”, “developed countries/developing countries”, “colonizers/colonized”, they may induce risks of ethnocentrism. In North America and in several European research laboratories, similar questions can be studied through the scope of “cultural areas” : asian studies, latin-american studies, etc. But by linking territories and cultures in a globalized world, the category “cultural area” limits the analysis of circulations and social hybridizations.
Do these divisions in the research landscape still correspond to contemporary realities of our fieldworks? Are they still relevant while in some F3S’ laboratories half of the young researchers come from the “South”? Are they still “operative” when researchers study social phenomena in the “North” and the “South” with new concepts which transversely enrich the social sciences all around the world? In social and human sciences research on cultural and geographical areas which are often separate, is it possible to avoid these categories to study human beings in its entirety?
The scientific process, as an ongoing process of challenging standard knowledge, constructs, deconstructs and reconstructs new categories . This construction work is also a question of linguistics on words’ meanings [2, 3]. The scientific and academic traditions, as well as the practical difficulties of a fieldwork often lead young scientists to play and workaround with realities . The increasing number of scientists from the so-called “South” countries has a gradual impact on research questions and problematics. Their shifted point of view on the same fields make them redesign the analytical categories of their colleagues.
The young scientists who would like to participate in this conference are invited to consider their research practices, to explain how they adapt and interpret existing categories of analysis, how they get inspired by investigation methods and research theories (for example, using intersdisciplinarity, comparatism, “studies” – global studies, subaltern studies, cultural studies, urban studies – or concepts such as intersectionlity, transnationalism, circulations,…) and even how they suggest new categories.
- To which extent did categories have an impact on the design of your research project?
- To which extent did categories have an impact on the preparation of your fieldwork and the design of your investigation tools and methods?
- To which extent did your fieldwork modify the categories you initially considered?
- To which extent did you twist your data so that they fit the categories you initially considered?
Any topic is welcome but we will be especially interested in papers that precisely describe processes of such operations and that highlight practical difficulties – scientific, professional, political, semantic, personal – that these operations can produce.
 Florence Delmotte et Denis Duez (dir.), Les frontières et la communauté politique. Faire, défaire et penser les frontières, Bruxelles, Presses de l’Université Saint-Louis, 2016, 252 pages.
 Ludwig van Bertalanffy, Théorie générale des systèmes, Chap. 10 – La relativité des catégories, Paris, Ed. Dunod, 1973 (1968), pp. 227-254
 Louis Quéré, La valeur opératoire des catégories, Cahiers de l’URMIS, n°1, 1995
 Roger Bastide, “Mémoire collective et sociologie du bricolage”, L’Année sociologique, vol. 21, 1970, pp. 65-108
This conference, conceived and prepared by PhD students of the F3S, is thought to be an opportunity for young researchers (PhD students, Post-Docs, young doctors) from any field of research to exchange and share experiences. A cocktail party will be organized at the end of the conference.
Authors should provide a short abstract of their paper (500 words max. – excluding bibliography) to firstname.lastname@example.org, showing the topic, the field of research, the methods and the theoritical framework. Once selected, authors should provide the final paper, between 4000 and 8000 words.
- 15/07/2016: Submission deadline for abstracts (500 words)
- 15/09/2016: Authors receive notification of the acceptance of their paper
- 30/10/2016: Deadline for sending papers (4000 to 8000 words)
- 17-18/10/2016: Conference date
- Mid-2017: Potential collective publication based on a selection of papers
Abstracts and papers should include:
- Your name
- Your status (PhD students, Post-Docs, young doctors)
- Your research center and/or university
- The title of your paper
Social Sciences Souths Federation (F3S)
Created in the frame of PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité, the Social Sciences Souths Federation (F3S) gathers four interdisciplinary laboratories dedicated to studies on problematics specific to countries from the “South”: CEPED (Center population and development, Paris Descartes Université – IRD), CESSMA (Center for studies in social sciences on african, american and asian worlds, Paris Diderot Université – INALCO – IRD), CREDA (Center for research and documentation on the Americas, Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle Université) and URMIS (Research unit on migrations on societies, Paris Diderot Université – Sophia Antipolis Université – CNRS, IRD).
Eliza Benites, Sociology, CREDA, Sorbonne – Nouvelle Université
Marine Bismuth, Anthropology, URMIS, Paris Diderot Université
Giulia Breda, Anthropology, URMIS, Sophia Antipolis Université
Nicolas Fayette, Sociology, CREDA, Sorbonne Nouvelle Université
Elodie Gamache, Political science, CREDA, Sorbonne Nouvelle Université
Ludovic Joxe, Sociology, CEPED, Paris Descartes Université
Eleni Lazidou, History, CESSMA, INALCO
Tatiana Medvedeva, Anthropology, URMIS, Paris Diderot Université
Elsa Paris, History, CESSMA, Paris Diderot Université
Joseph Désiré Som I, Sociology, CEPED, Paris Descartes Université
Charlotte Vampo, Anthropology, CEPED, Paris Descartes Université
David Dumoulin, MCF, Sociology, CREDA, Sorbonne Nouvelle Université
Véronique Dupont, DR, Demographics, CESSMA, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
Laurent Faret, PR, Geography, CESSMA, Paris Diderot Université
Etienne Gérard, DR, Sociology, CEPED, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
Gilles Guiheux, PR, Sociology, CESSMA, Paris Diderot Université
Nolwen Henaff, CR, Economics, CEPED, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
Odile Hoffmann, DR, Geography, URMIS, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
François-Michel Le Tourneau, DR, Geography, CREDA, Sorbonne Nouvelle Université
Nicolas Puig, CR, Anthropology, URMIS, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
Dominique Vidal, PR, Sociology, URMIS, Paris Diderot Université