Vincent Dubois SAGE (UMR 7363), Université de Strasbourg, MISHA
5 Allée du Général Rouvillois CS 50008 - F-67083 Strasbourg cedex France
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  • « Cultural Capital Theory vs Cultural Policy Beliefs: Pierre Bourdieu and French Cultural Policies »

    Cultural Capital: Limits and Prospects, Network for the Studies of Cultural Distinction and Social Differentiation (SCUD), Milton Keynes – April 13-14 2010

  • « Popular culture in French cultural policy »

    Workshop "Policy and the Popular", Popular Cultures Research Network and Warwick Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, Leeds (Great-Britain), 24-25 June 2009

  • « Europeanisation through elective affinities: active social policy model and national control policies of the unemployed »

    March 2009, 16 p.

    See online : Academia

  • "Towards a critical policy ethnography. Lessons from fieldwork on welfare control in France"

    Critical Policy Studies, 3 (2), 2009, p. 219-237.

    read the summary

    Policy ethnography approaches provide useful qualitative data that offer a nuanced and realistic ground-level view of policies, too often analyzed abstractly from the top. However, the ambition of these approaches must not be limited to producing more precise information. Fieldwork on the control of welfare recipients in France shows that ethnography, and more specifically direct observation, is particularly suited to uncovering the structural features of the new wave of public policies sweeping through advanced societies in the wake of demise of the Fordist-Keynesian compact. Indeed, among other consequences, the “de-objectivation” of the collective categories built during the process of welfare state development leads to more astringent and intense controls of recipients. These controls are based on loose criteria defined in situated practices and interactions. The ethnographic capture and analysis of the concrete practices of the agents of welfare bureaucracies enable us to track and critique the more abstract transformations of the social state in the age of “workfare.” Such fieldwork provides an illustration of the empirical and theoretical potentials of critical policy ethnography.


    See online :

  • « Territories of low brow music »

    International sociological forum, Barcelona, 5-8 septembre 2008

  • « Cultural policy in France: genesis of a public policy category »

    October 2008, 33 p.

  • « The Ethnographic Disclosure of Structural Transformations of the Social State. About the bureaucratic treatment of the “bad poor” »

    Ethnografeast III – Ethnography and the public sphere, Centro de Estudos de Antropologia Social, June 20-23 2007, Lisbon (Portugal)

  • « Between aestheticisation and depreciation: public policy towards a popular culture »

    Culture, politics and policies, March 15-17 2007, Université Charles-de-Gaulle, Lille

  • « Social and political issues of cultural policies »

    keynote speech, 4th International conference on cultural policy research, July 12-16 2006, Vienna.

  • « Dilemmas of the institutionalisation process. From cultural mobilisation to cultural policies »

    International Journal of Cultural Policy 10 (3), 2004, p. 331-349

    read the summary

    Local cultural policies in France became institutionalised essentially over two decades: the 1970s and the 1980s. This institutionalisation process comprised the cultural specialisation of local administrative services, the professionalisation of local cultural agents and the promotion of culture as one of the mains sectors for local public policies, from the political as well as financial point of view. Based upon the case study of a middle-sized town, this article shows that this was a conflictual process. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, association activists from the new middle classes, politically and culturally close to the political mobilisations of the post-1968 period, launched programmes of cultural action. At first, the municipalisation of their policy was a success for them. However, progressively, this local cultural policy was driven less and less by these former activists, who were replaced by new professionals, and earlier socio-cultural and political ambitions (revolving, for example, around a culture of everyday life designed to promote greater local democracy) were replaced by a more technical orientation. Finally, this instituionalisation process also consisted of the dispossession and disillusion of those who had believed they could change social and political relations through cultural involvement.


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