Historical sociology of politics: issues and methods


The purpose of this integrated class is to engage students in a cross-disciplinary reflection involving several areas of the humanities and social sciences: mainly history, sociology, and political science. By building bridges between these disciplines and disrupting academic routines, the historical sociology of politics makes it possible to envisage not only a social history of politics - and thus to identify the dynamics that give meaning and coherence to current political life – but also a political history of the social able to reveal the profound imprint of the political on the social. However, we will not be able, in this class, to cover all aspects of this field of research, which has become particularly fertile in France, the United States, and Canada. We have therefore chosen to focus on the methodological and epistemological issues associated with this cross-disciplinary area of study. In doing so, we hope to attract the students’ attention to the importance of this detour via the past for understanding and analyzing the present of our societies.

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

It is recommended that the participants in this class have prior training in political sociology and political science. Good knowledge of the history of the humanities and the social sciences in Europe and North America is recommended. The bibliography below will help to fill possible knowledge gaps.

Form of assessment

The number of ECTS credits and the assessment methods are likely to be different for students in credit exchange programmes.


  • Delanty G. et Isin Engin F. (eds.), Handbook of Historical Sociology, London, Sage, 2003.
  • Déloye Y., Sociologie historique du politique, Paris, La Découverte, 4e édition, 2017.
  • Dufour F. G., La sociologie historique. Traditions, trajectoires et débats, Québec, Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2015.
  • Goodin R.E. et Tilly C. (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Offerlé M. et Rousso H. (dir.), La fabrique interdisciplinaire. Histoire et science politique, Rennes, PUR, 2008.

Educational formula

This class is delivered in the form of six three-hour modules every other week between September and December. Between each session, all students will be required to read two to three texts. In groups of 2 to 4, students will be in charge of presenting the theme that will be studied in the following session. The latter will be divided into two sequences: the first in the form of a lecture delivered by the teacher, the second in the form of presentations and debates by and with the students.

In brief

Year Fifth year

Teaching languageFrench

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 3.0

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activitySeminar

ValidationContinuous assessment

Mandatory teaching

Open to exchange students



Educational manager :
Déloye Yves [+]