olivier godechot

Inquiries 4 Sociology

Olivier Godechot

Year: 2021/2022. Fall semester
Thursday 10:10-12:10. In class
Reims Campus

Like many disciplines, sociology is hard to define. There is no single canon and no dominant paradigm. However, we still find within sociology a sense of continuity and community. One basis of this feeling may be the importance of empirical inquiries on which sociological knowledge relies. Compared to other social science disciplines, sociology has the particularity of conducting –and sometimes combining– very diverse types of inquiry. It observes social milieu in situ. It constructs questionnaires. It uses administrative databases. It relies on in depth interviews. It digs in dusty archives. It set up experiments. It collects internet data.

The aim of this course is to enable students to discover a variety of inquiries, and, beyond them, sociology itself, its logic, its knowledge, its reflexivity and its imagination. They will also discover the logic, the methods, and the pleasures of inquiries. Beyond academia, in public administrations, in private organizations, in the media, in the police, inquiries are the tools through which people get to know things. They are at the heart of the knowledge society.

During this course, students are asked to prepare two collective oral presentations of two different research papers. One presentation will be a 15-minutes summary of the key points of a paper, and students are asked notably to insist on the methodology and the type of inquiry. The other will be a 10-minutes criticism (both positive and negative) of a research paper (no need to summarize as it will be done by the other group). Students are notably asked to evaluate whether the empirical research design enables to answer correctly the research question.

As the number of students is large this year, I will constitute two teams for presenting the paper, and two teams for criticizing the paper. Only one team out of two will be randomly selected to present or criticize a paper in class. For the evaluation, students are asked to pre-record their presentation. I will assign randomly students to presentations. If a student is not totally happy with the random draw, she or he can try to swap with another student. I will accept such bilateral swaps.

The evaluation of the presentations and class participation will count as one third of the grade of the Methods conference. A 2-hours final exam will follow the course. Students will be asked to propose a research design in order to understand a given social phenomenon. This course comes with a method conference supervised by Shi Rong Lee and Charlotte Corchette. Under their guidance, students will study different aspects of the COVID health crisis.

1. Thursday 2 September 2021. The logic of inquiry

2. Thursday 9 September 2021. Accessing and observing a milieu difficult to approach
Hoang, Kimberly Kay. Dealing in desire: Asian ascendancy, Western decline, and the hidden currencies of global sex work. Univ of California Press, 2015.
- Introduction (p. 18-24) and Appendix
- Chapter 5.

3. Thursday 16 September 2021. Standardizing reality through questionnaires
Armstrong, Elizabeth A., Paula England, and Alison CK Fogarty. 2012. “Accounting for women’s orgasm and sexual enjoyment in college hookups and relationships.” American Sociological Review 77(3): 435-462.

4. Thursday 23 September 2021. The administrative tools of the social sciences
Durkheim, Emile. Suicide: A study in sociology. Routledge, 2005. Introduction and Book 1. Chapter 1 p. 3-29.

5. Thursday 30 September 2021. Exploring the past
Gould, Roger V. 1993. “Trade cohesion, class unity, and urban insurrection: Artisanal activism in the Paris Commune.” American Journal of Sociology 98(4): 721-754.

6. Thursday 7 October 2021. Experimenting
Lemasson Alban, Manon Toutain, Francesco Madrisotti, Martin Aranguren. 2021. Effects of the islamic headscarf on vocal arousal and intimacy: a field experiment in the Paris metro. Working paper.

7. Thursday 14 October 2021. Making people talk
Rivera, Lauren A. 2012. “Hiring as cultural matching: The case of elite professional service firms.” American sociological review 77(6): 999-1022.

8. Thursday 21 October 2021. Follow the network
Smilde, David. 2005. “A qualitative comparative analysis of conversion to Venezuelan evangelicalism: How networks matter.” American Journal of Sociology 111(3): 757-796.

9. Thursdays 28 October 2021. Mix Methods I
Smith, Sandra S., and Mignon R. Moore. 2000. “Intraracial diversity and relations among African-Americans: Closeness among Black students at a predominantly White university.” American Journal of Sociology 1061 (1): 1-39.

Fernandez, Roberto M. 2001. "Skill-biased technological change and wage inequality: Evidence from a plant retooling." American Journal of Sociology 107(2): 273-320.

10. Thursdays 18 November 2021. Mix Methods II
Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt. 2007 [1899]. The Philadelphia Negro. Oxford University Press, Chapter I, II, XVI, XVIII and Appendix A.

11. Thursday 25 November 2021. The survey 2.0
Cointet, Jean-Philippe, et al. 2020. "What colours are the yellow vests? An ideological scaling of Facebook groups." Working paper.

12. Thursday 2 December 2021. Revisiting, replicating
Haslam, Nick, Steve Loughnan, and Gina Perry. “Meta-Milgram: An empirical synthesis of the obedience experiments.” PloS one 9.4 (2014): e93927.

Français | English


OgO: plus ici|more here

[Presse] Lechevallier, Anne-Sophie. 2021. "Dans l’effervescence des temples de la finance", Paris Match, n°3379 Dans l’effervescence des temples de la ...: plus ici|more here

[Publications] Godechot, Olivier and Nicolas Mariot, The two forms of social capital. Relational structure of PhD committees and recruitment in French: plus ici|more here

[Publications] Godechot (Olivier), The Bazaar of Rationality. Towards a Sociology of Concrete Forms of Reasoning, Politix: plus ici|more here

[Publications] Godechot (Olivier), Interpretar as redes sociais, A pesquisa sociológica: plus ici|more here

[Publications] Godechot, Olivier, Paula Apascaritei, István Boza, Martin Hallsten, Lasse Henriksen, Are Hermansen, Feng Hou, Jiwook Jung, Alena Křížková, Zoltán Lippényi,: plus ici|more here

[Publications] Gautié, Jérôme, Olivier Godechot and Pierre-Emmanuel Sorignet, Institutional arrangements and the labor market functioning: The case of executive search, Sociologie: plus ici|more here

Tweets (rarely/rarement): @OlivierGodechot


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