Sociology of Creative Work


[Pierre-Michel Menger]

1) Research on labor, employment and careers in higher education and research

Analysis of careers, employment, remuneration and institutions of higher education is far more developed in the Anglo-American world than in continental Europe. However, European reforms have changed the situation, causing differentiation in the academic fabric and making intra- and international competition visible and more intense. The changes they trigger reshape careers selectively, partly because of the unequal exposure of various scientific disciplines and different generations of faculty in international competition through research. In addition to structuring careers for domestic market, competition and mobility are changing the architecture of organizations, allocation of teaching and research tasks, assessment guidelines for individual and team activity, and the levels and compensation mechanisms as well as incentives to productivity.

In this project, the link between teaching and research receives special attention. Many analyses have shown a general tendency towards a dislocation of the teaching-research link. New higher education governance models and development of university human resources departments are reflected in many countries by a differentiated management of academic staff according to their main function (teaching or research). Studies in the United States, Australia and the UK have uncovered a trend towards decoupling teaching and research with an increase in the division of academic work.

This evolution may have two additional explanations. The first relates to the anatomy of the academic employment. Part of the increase in division of labor comes from the increase in the proportion of monovalent posts (specialized in research or education). The second explanation refers to the decreasing importance of statutory regulation of functions in favor of devices that individualize annual educational services.

The overall objective of the research currently being conducted is to analyze transformations of the link between teaching and research in France using the large databases we are building to study the career of all faculty/researchers active between 1984 and 2014. The major dimensions of the analysis are differentiation through scientific disciplines, the typology of academic institutions and the recruitment and promotion mechanisms in university employment.

The analysis will extend to institutional dualism and its impact on careers – research careers in research institutions, and research and teaching careers in higher education institutions.

More specific research focuses on certain disciplines: administration and management, mathematics, and philosophy.

Research team:

Pierre-Michel Menger, Colin Marchika (EHESS & Collège de France), Simon Paye (OST-HCERES & Collège de France), Yann Renisio (Collège de France), Pablo Zamith (IEP Paris).Partnerships with Yves Gingras (UQAM, Canada Research Chair), Jacques Mairesse (INSEE-CREST) and Jean-Marc Schlenker (University of Luxemburg).

2) Other current research

- With Colin Marchika (EHESS & Collège de France): The “grands écoles”, recruitment of students and diversification of admission processes – the business school case

- With Fabien Accominotti (LSE, London): Relational fame and its consequences on the careers of artists in the performing arts, 1986 -2005.