Related publications

May 2018 - Book review of Rogers Brubaker’s Trans - by Sarah Mazouz

Available on Books and Ideas.

In a dense, stimulating and thought-provoking book, sociologist Rogers Brubaker investigates why, in the United States, the social acceptation of transgender situations has no equivalent for transracial cases.

The book review can be read here.




Mars 2018 - Actualités de la sociologue Sarah Mazouz


Entretien avec Sarah Mazouz dans le Webzine Vivre ensemble : Républicanisme et altérité – sortir du « secret public »

"Dans cet entretien, Sarah Mazouz, sociologue au CNRS et auteure de La République et ses autres. Politiques de l’altérité dans la France des années 2000 (Lyon, ENS Éditions, 2017), analyse les effets de l’indifférence manifestée par l’État français à l’égard de différents groupes de citoyens. Elle explique surtout comment une indifférence à l’égard de l’origine et de la couleur conduit à des assignations qualifiées de racialisantes. D’importants enjeux d’exclusion peuvent ainsi être mieux analysés."

L'entretien complet est disponible ici.

Compte-rendu de l'ouvrage La République et ses autres par Pauline Picot dans Le Mouvement social (mars 2018)

"Le livre de Sarah Mazouz, adapté d’une thèse de sociologie, est le résultat d’une riche enquête de terrain ethnographique et d’une analyse de deux politiques publiques rarement traitées ensemble : la politique de la nationalité, via la naturalisation, et la politique de lutte contre les discriminations. L’auteure interroge ainsi la notion d’égalité républicaine : si l’analyse de la procédure de naturalisation permet d’aborder la frontière entre national et étranger littéralement en train de se faire – puisqu’elle nous donne à voir la façon dont le pouvoir discrétionnaire de l’administration s’exerce – il est également question des frontières internes, à travers les politiques antidiscriminatoires dont l’objectif premier, mais progressivement délaissé, était de réparer une « inégalité raciste » entre citoyens français."

Le compte-rendu détaillé est accessible ici.



August 2017 - "Technocrats’ Compromises: Defining Race and the Struggle for Equality in Brazil, 1970–2010", by Brenna Marea Powell and Graziella Moraes Silva

This article focuses on census policy-making by analysing the decision-making processes behind the apparent stability of Brazilian racial categories within a context of multiple changes in racial politics and policies over the last four decades (1970–2010). Empirically, we rely on archival material, survey and census data, as well as key informant interviews with senior technocrats from the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics, IBGE). Our findings show the central role of technocratic actors in shaping and giving meaning to these categories in a context of uncertainty about the most valid approach to measurement. Their role is particularly evident in IBGE's early application of the negro category to the non-white population and repeated rejection of the moreno category. Beyond technical expertise, these census officials navigated various professional, political and ideological motivations. We develop the concept of technocratic compromise to capture census officials’ decision-making process and underscore its importance to explaining census policy outcomes.


July 2017 - "The failure of the importation of ethno-racial statistics in Europe: debates and controversies" by Patrick Simon

The 2010 census round has shown a significant growth in the number of countries collecting ethnic and racial data as a consequence of the increasing consciousness of their internal ethnic diversity and to implement more active equality policies addressing ethno-racial discrimination. However, Europe is not part of this dynamic: almost nothing has changed on the ethnic statistics’ frontline in between the two census rounds. This article addresses some of the justification for the enduring resistance of “statistical blindness” to ethno-racial diversity in Europe, locating it mainly in the strategy to erase race from the public sphere as a leverage to combat racism. The limits of this strategy in the context of mass migration from former colonial empires where racial subordination and classification have been produced and developed are discussed. Europe should ultimately face its past domination (rebranded but still active today) without silencing its consequences.



July 2017 - Counting Americans: How the US Census Classified the Nation, by Paul Schor

How could the same person be classified by the US census as black in 1900, mulatto in 1910, and white in 1920? The history of categories used by the US census reflects a country whose identity and self-understanding--particularly its social construction of race--is closely tied to the continuous polling on the composition of its population. By tracing the evolution of the categories the United States used to count and classify its population from 1790 to 1940, this book shows that, far from being simply a reflection of society or a mere instrument of power, censuses are actually complex negotiations between the state, experts, and the population itself. The census is not an administrative or scientific act, but a political one. Counting Americans is a social history exploring the political stakes that pitted various interests and groups of people against each other as population categories were constantly redefined. Utilizing new archival material from the Census Bureau, this study pays needed attention to the long arc of contested changes in race and census-making. It traces changes in how race mattered in the United States during the era of legal slavery, through its fraught end, and then during (and past) the period of Jim Crow laws, which set different ethnic groups in conflict. And it shows how those developing policies also provided a template for classifying Asian groups and white ethnic immigrants from southern and eastern Europe--and how they continue to influence the newly complicated racial imaginings informing censuses in the second half of the twentieth century and beyond.


March 2017 - La République et ses autres : politiques de l’altérité dans la France des années 2000, by Sarah Mazouz

Is France afraid of its others? Focusing on the various discourses and practices that have been progressively formalized over the last 15 years, this book investigates "French policies of otherness." Drawing upon a double ethnographic study in government bodies fighting racial discrimination and naturalization offices of a large city in the Parisian region, Sarah Mazouz demonstrates how issues of immigration, nation and racialization are articulated in social space. By investigating these two public policies, she explores processes of inclusion and exclusion within the nation itself (by looking at antidiscrimination’s various modalities) and outside of it (by looking at naturalization practices). In doing so, she strives to grasp the paradoxical relationships that ties the Republic to its others and the plurality of logics that relate to the production of a national order.


January 2017 - Special issue "Contemporary Perspectives on Race in the United States," edited by Daniel Sabbagh

The issue of race in the United States is just as topical as ever, as reflected both in the emergence of the ’Black Lives Matter’ movement - in response to instances of police brutality too frequent and too serious to be dismissed as isolated incidents - and to the surprising victory in November 2016 of a presidential candidate who had made disparaging statements about Hispanics. Those recent events have triggered a great many comments. Yet they are only the most striking evidence of the persistence of race as a multidimensional problem, a problem addressed by the complementary contributions by Juliette Galonnier, Ann MorningDaniel Sabbagh and Richard Thompson Ford, brought together in the following symposium.


May 2016 - "Causalism and contextualization : on the uses of biology in the social sciences" by Carole Reynaud-Paligot and Sébastien Lemerle

The interconnection between life sciences and social sciences is an issue that has been continuously raising concerns during the last decade. On the basis of four examples (social neuroscience, social naturalism, epidemiology of representations, behavioral genetics), this paper deals with the kind of dialogue existing nowadays between these two fields of knowledge. It then addresses two questions that seem to sum up the main problems : the issue of causality in the two approaches and the issue of the relationship between biological factors and social “context”. Finally, it shows that the discussion must not be limited to epistemological debates but must tackle all the dimensions of bio-naturalism, whether theoretical or applied.


January 2016 - "La discrimination dans l’accès à l’éducation : les leçons de la jurisprudence de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme" by Julie Ringelheim

Cet article analyse l'évolution récente du droit européen de la non-discrimination qui, marquée par la consécration de la notion de discrimination indirecte, permet de porter un nouveau regard sur le problème des inégalités en matière scolaire. La jurisprudence de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme en témoigne. Depuis 2007, la Cour a rendu plusieurs arrêts importants touchant au problème de la discrimination subie par les enfants roms au sein du système scolaire de divers pays, qui se traduit par différentes formes de ségrégation de fait. Mais la portée de cette jurisprudence dépasse le cas particulier de la minorité rom.


November 2015 - Race, racisme, discriminations : anthologie de textes fondamentaux, edited by Magali Bessone and Daniel Sabbagh

La race n'est-elle qu’une chimère — une fiction collective aux effets pernicieux —, ou bien un concept nécessaire à l’analyse et à l’éradication éventuelle du racisme et de ses conséquences ? Cette catégorie ambiguë relève-t-elle de la biologie ou bien renvoie-t-elle à une réalité de nature socio-politique ? Le racisme est-il d’abord un attribut des individus ou des institutions — un état mental fait de croyances et d’affects ou un système social ? Toute discrimination raciale est-elle inévitablement raciste ? Est-elle immorale et injuste même dans les cas où elle ne serait pas entièrement irrationnelle ? Enfin, la discrimination positive est-elle justifiable ? Telles sont quelques-unes des questions abordées dans ce recueil, qui propose une introduction au champ d'investigation que la race, le racisme et les discriminations constituent pour la philosophie — ici envisagée dans son articulation avec les sciences sociales. Il réunit dix textes majeurs, presque tous inédits en français.