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Faculty Advanced Institute for Research (FAIR)

Last updated: 21/08/14

Sylvie Contrepois


Reader in European Employment Relations, Working Lives Research Institute
Permanent member of the research laboratory CRESPPA-GTM (CNRS-Paris)




I began my academic career in France in the mid 1990s, progressively shifting away from my professional activities in journalism and institutional communication to concentrate on scholarship.

From 1995, I delivered lectures and seminars at Evry (where I held a half-time lectureship for 10 years) and Paris X Universities and at the ISG International Business School of Paris (2 years' part-time lectureship). I taught theories and methods in sociology; social policies and labour law.

During the same period, I developed international collaborations through comparative and European research projects on trade union activism, employment relations in the banking sector, and on teleworking.

I was awarded my PhD on 'Today’s trade union practices and strategies', in 2001. It was published as a book, Syndicats, la nouvelle donne, in 2003. I conducted the fieldwork in the industrial area of Corbeil-Essonnes (near Paris) between 1995 and 1999.
I obtained a post-doctoral fellowship from the regional council of Paris in 2006 in order to conduct research in France on ‘Women and collective bargaining’ (January 2006 - June 2007).

I was first appointed at the Working Lives Research Institute in 2002. I became a full-time member of staff in 2007, with my research activity being based in France, at the CRESPPA-GTM CNRS research laboratory. Most of the research projects I work on are focused on industrial relations and on collective identities. Amongst these two of them played a particular and important role in structuring my present research activities.

The first one was a three years project funded by the French ministry of Labour (2005-2008): “How transferable is the French social model? French multinational companies and their influence on the evolution of industrial relations in Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland ». This research aimed to see whether French multinationals exported any aspects of the French social model of employment relations to their subsidiaries when they invested in central and eastern Europe. I coordinated the work that involved researchers based in the three target countries and co-edited the book arising from it, Globalizing Employment Relations: Multinational Firms and Central and Eastern European Transitions.

The second research is a three years FP7 project : Space, Place and the Historical and contemporary articulations of regional, national and European identities through work and community in areas undergoing economic REstructuring and regeneration (SPHERE, 2007-2011). I was the national co-ordinator of the research in France in this six-country (France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the UK) comparative project examining changes in concepts of identity in face of massive industrial restructuring. I took the lead role in creating a photographic exhibition to be used by all partners and co-edited the book Changing Work and Community Identities in European Regions: Perspectives on the Past and Present.

I joined the teaching team of the WLRI Professional doctorate in researching work in 2011 and I am currently supervising doctoral students.
Having a great interest in social history, I also developed some work in this field, being a member of a local history association focusing on Revolutions and social movements in the Essonne department (near Paris), since 1997. In parallel, I have been a contributing author to the Dictionnaire biographique du mouvement social (Biographical dictionary of the labour movement) Maitron, since 2001.

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Research interests and expertise


Industrial relations and collective identities are my main areas of expertise. Working in these fields, I am especially interested in examining the fundamental notions of institutions, institutionalisation, democracy, representation, collective action and direct action. In relation to these concepts, I have also conducted some research in social policies, sociology of work, social history, labour law and employment policies.

Contact details


Centre de Recherches Sociologiques et Politiques de Paris
59 - 61 rue Pouchet
75849 Paris Cedex 17 
(+33) 1 40 25 11 79

(+33) 6 84 52 74 42

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International refereed journals 

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Book Chapters

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Recent conference papers

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"Restructurations Economiques et Identités territoriales » / « Economic restructuring and a sense of identity », comparative exhibition designed in 30 pannels exploring the effects of deindustrialisation and regeneration processes on local, occupational, class and community identities in Germany, France, Poland, Spain, Turkey and UK.


"Des industries et des hommes » / « Workers and industrial change », 35 mn DVD exploring deindustrialisation and regeneration processes in Germany, France, Poland, Spain, Turkey, UK  and their effects on class identities. http://www.workinglives.org/research-themes/wlri-project-websites/sphere/sphere-corbeilevry-france/vidos.cfm

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