olivier godechot

Inquiries 4 Sociology

Olivier Godechot

Year: 2019/2020. Fall semester

Thursday 10:10-12:10. Room K303

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.

This course will present a variety of important sociological inquiries, ranging from different periods and using different methods. These inquiries are not necessary “big” by their time-length, the size of the team or the amount of data collected. But they had, or they could potentially have, a “major” impact on the construction of sociological knowledge.

The aim of this course is to enable students to discover a variety of major 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 1) present orally one of the following articles or chapters (30%), 2) to write a one-page essay (500 words maximum) devoted to criticize (negatively or positively) one the following articles or chapters (15%), 3) to participate actively to the class discussion surrounding students’ (15%). 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 Andreas Chiriboga. Under his guidance, students will conduct their own survey in order to understand an intriguing phenomenon: scissions in political parties.


1. Thursday 5 September 2019. The logic of inquiry


2. Thursday 12 September 2019. Accessing and observing a milieu difficult to approach

Goffman, Alice. Chapter 2 and Appendices. On the run: Fugitive life in an American city. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014.

3. Thursday 19 September 2019. Standardizing observations through questionnaires

Rault, Wilfried, and Camille Lambert. 2019. “Homosexuality and Bisexuality: Contributions of the EPIC Survey” Population (English edition) 74 (1): 167-185.

In French:

Rault, Wilfried, and Camille Lambert. 2019. “Homosexualité, bisexualité: les apports de l’enquête Étude des parcours individuels et conjugaux.” Population (french edition) 74 (1): 173-194.

4. Thursday 26 September 2019. The administrative tools of the social sciences

Durkheim, Emile. Suicide: A study in sociology. Routledge, 2005. Introduction and Book 2. Chapter 4


In French:

Durkheim, Émile. Le suicide: étude de sociologie. Alcan, 1897.

5. Thursday 3 October 2019. Exploring the past

Braun, Robert. 2018. “Minorities and the Clandestine Collective Action Dilemma: The Secret Protection of Jews during the Holocaust.” American Journal of Sociology 124(2): 263-308.

6. Thursday 10 October 2019. Experimenting

Pate, Anthony M., and Edwin E. Hamilton. “Formal and informal deterrents to domestic violence: The Dade County spouse assault experiment.” American Sociological Review (1992): 691-697.


7. Thursday 17 October 2019. Making people talk

Lamont, Michèle. 1992. Money, morals, and manners: The culture of the French and the American upper-middle class. University of Chicago Press.

Chapters 1, 6 and Appendices.

In French:

Lamont, Michèle. 1995. La morale et l’argent: les valeurs des cadres en France et aux Etats-Unis. Editions Métailié, 1995.

8. Thursday 24 October 2019.Follow the network

Bearman, Peter S., James Moody, and Katherine Stovel. “Chains of affection: The structure of adolescent romantic and sexual networks.” American journal of sociology 110.1 (2004): 44-91.

9 & 10. Thursdays 7 & 14 November 2019. A major mix method survey (ex. Distinction)

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Harvard University Press.

Chapter 5 (5.1 and 5.2. p. 257 -295) + Appendices 1 and 2

In French:

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1979. La Distinction. Une critique sociale du jugement. Minuit.

Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Harvard University Press.

Chapter 7 + Appendices 1 and 2

In French:

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1979. La Distinction. Une critique sociale du jugement. Minuit.


11. Thursday 21 November 2019. The survey 2.0

Schradie, Jen. 2018. “The digital activism gap: How class and costs shape online collective action.” Social Problems 65 (1): 51-74.


12. Thursday 28 November 2019. Revisiting, replicating

Shor, Eran, and Dalit Simchai. 2009. “Incest avoidance, the incest taboo, and social cohesion: Revisiting Westermarck and the case of the Israeli kibbutzim.” American journal of sociology 114 (6): 1803-1842.

Français | English


OgO: plus ici|more here

[Encadrement] Chamboredon, Audrey. 2020. Rôle et stratégies des parents des classes moyennes au moment du choix des études supérieures. Le ...: plus ici|more here

[Encadrement] Besançon, Faustine. 2019. Travailler le couple. La répartition du travail domestique chez les couples LGBTQ+, Mémoire de Master 2 ...: plus ici|more here

[Publications] Godechot, Olivier et al., , The Great Separation: Top Earner Segregation at Work in High-Income Countries: plus ici|more here

Tweets (rarely/rarement): @OlivierGodechot


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