Scales, Reefs and Bureaucracies – International Political Fieldworks

In: Political Anthropological Research on International Social Sciences (PARISS)
Johanna Siméant-Germanos Departement de sciences sociales, École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France

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Florent Pouponneau Assistant Professor, Institut d’études politiques de Strasbourg (UMR SAGE), Strasbourg, France

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The political sociology of the international, because it refers, at least in part, to practices and configurations in which the routine superposition of a society and a state is even more problematic than it already is when the investigation is confined within national borders, may call for the deployment of particular empirical and theoretical strategies. This article outlines some of these strategies, which relate to the question of identification of the field and processes of internationalization, access to the bureaucracies of foreign affairs and war, and the question of secrecy. The article reflects on ways to capture the division of labor among and in these international organizations, and on the tracing of individual paths as a means of reconstructing the milieux of international activism. It examines the possibilities opened up by collective investigations of international events. Rooted in the idea of the unity of social sciences, the article hopes to show how the ordinary methods and tools of sociology can contribute to enriching the study of international fieldworks (and how in return the development of international political sociology can contribute to the renewal of social sciences practiced on a national scale).

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