Directors: Eric Fournier, Arnaud Houte, Guillaume Mazeau
Participating members: Fabrice Bensimon, Jacques-Olivier Boudon, Jean-Noël Luc, Vincent Robert, Dominique Kalifa
This area carries over from the last two contract periods and is continuing with international-scale studies in the area of security, policing, deviancy and criminality. We will review the results to assess the status of the project as a whole. From there, we intend to expand its approach beyond state and institutional structures ‒ which will be studied in greater depth, furthering the research conducted during the previous two contract periods ‒ to focus on non-state actors while exploring the dialectic between order and disorder.
The goal will be to investigate why the development of the state monopoly on legal violence was not a given during the long 19th century and to understand how ordinary actors tried to guarantee themselves a right to safety and thus assert regal prerogatives, if not an alternative order. This "constructivist" history from below, which focusses on people, practices, actions, and objectives more than institutions, examines the various forms of popular militias, political or civil vigilante groups, and more generally, all informal methods of security and social control. This will also be an opportunity to study the issue of non-state armies ‒ defense militias, the "general arming of the people" ‒ and the antimilitarism of returning soldiers. This will expand on previous studies on military phenomena.
This area cannot avoid the issue of violence and necessarily involves the study of violent outbursts, as in Alain Corbin's Village of Cannibals.
This area of inquiry into breaches of the usual state-imposed order may also investigate illegitimate regimes, states of siege, states of emergency (and conversely, breakdowns of the State during periods of crisis) and the reactions of populations.
This area on citizen groups and public safety/security forces, armed or otherwise, covers a vast geographic area beyond Europe, including the colonial societies and American territories.
The period studied will be the long 19th century from the French Revolution to the 1930s (encompassing the ligues and the vigilante groups).