Sociology of expertise


The class invites students to reflect on the social construction of legitimate knowledge and the relationship between technocracy and democracy. We will take as a starting point the question of "economic expertise": the goal is to specify the conditions under which a particular interpretation presents itself as "neutral" and "objective", to the point of standing in the way of alternative interpretations or at least of restricting elected officials’ room for manoeuvre. The class sessions will be opportunities to approach the question from complementary angles: the transformation of an academic discipline into a "science of government"; the involvement of researchers in politics; the training of high ranking civil servants and the development of State expertise; the legitimization of certain types of knowledge by international organizations; the role of consultants (employed in auditing and consulting firms); the "locking in" of certain sectoral policies.


  • Berard Y., Crespin R. (dir.), Aux frontières de l’expertise. Dialogues entre savoirs et pouvoirs, Rennes, PUR, 2010.
  • Berrebi-Hoffman I., Lallement M., À quoi servent les experts ?, Cahiers internationaux de sociologie, n°126, 2009.
  • Delmas C., Sociologie politique de l’expertise, Paris, La Découverte, 2011.
  • Déloye Y., Ihl O., Joignant A. (dir.), Gouverner par la science. Perspectives comparées, Grenoble, PUG, 2013.
  • Dumoulin L., La Branche S., Robert C., Warin P. (dirs.), Le recours aux experts. Raisons et usages politiques, Grenoble, PUG, 2005.

In brief

Year Fifth year

Teaching languageFrench

Teaching term Six-monthly

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activitySeminar

ValidationContinuous assessment

Mandatory teaching



Educational manager :
Roger Antoine [+]