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Centre for Ethnology and Comparative Sociology

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India, 1988 (photo G. Tarabout)

The Laboratoire d’ethnologie et de sociologie comparative (LESC – Centre for Ethnology and Comparative Sociology) is among the French main research centres in Social and Cultural Anthropology. This “lab”, as it is often called, is on campus of the Université Paris Nanterre (where it is part of Maison de l’archéologie et de l’ethnologie René-Ginouvès).

It is co-funded by the University and by the CNRS, and has 17 Faculty members (5 full Professors), 30 full-time permanent Researchers (9 with rank of Professor), 11 administrative and documentation staff, and more than a hundred graduate students. A large number of the Faculty, as well researchers, teach undergraduate students in the Département d’anthropologie of the University. The lab regularly hosts foreign research scholars and post-docs, and is part of a European doctoral convention that comprises the Universities of Paris West Nanterre, Bucharest, Perugia, and the Free University of Brussels (ULB).

The lab’s vocation is comparative in scope. Its activities extend across various cultural areas and different sub-disciplines of Anthropology , including: religious studies, kinship studies, migration studies, political Anthropology, gender studies, linguistic Anthropology, performance studies, heritage studies, Anthropology of human / non-humans relationships, and the epistemology of the discipline. In recent times it has also integrated two more specialized teams: a Centre of Research in Amerindian studies (EREAEnseignement et recherche en ethnologie amérindienne), and a Centre of Research in Ethnomusicology (CREMCentre de recherche en ethnomusicologie).

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Japan, 2003 (photo S. Houdart)

The LESC places special emphasis on scientific documentation and the use of ethnographic archives, and is an active member of scientific networks and programmes that deal with these political and ethical issues. There are three research libraries: the main one, Bibliothèque Éric-de-Dampierre (named after the founder of the lab), coordinates a hub of four documentation centres in Anthropology, belonging to other French institutions; the two other libraries are those of the EREA and the CREM. In addition to this, the LESC hosts a large and valuable collection of ethnographic and ethnomusicological materials, including field documents dating back to the first half of the 20th century. This collection is available for scientific consultation. The catalogue forms part of a hub with two other institutions (Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme). A large number of documents have now been digitized; a collection of documents in ethnomusicology is on open access on the internet site of the CREM.

The lab publishes a peer-reviewed electronic journal, Ateliers d’anthropologie, on thematic issues; number 37 is currently in preparation. It has also made an agreement with a non-profit scholarly society, the Société d’ethnologie, which has already published more than 120 titles (many of which are works of reference), and manages the prestigious “Bourse Eugène Fleischmann”.

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Mis à jour le 25 September 2017

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This site is no longer updated, for up-to-date LESC information, please visit http://lesc-cnrs.fr/

Philippe ERIKSON

Baptiste BUOB
Direction adjointe

Sous-direction (EREA)

Sous-direction (CREM)



Frédéric DUBOIS
Bibliothèque - Archives

Sandrine SORIANO

UMR 7186 – LESC
Maison Archéologie & Ethnologie René-Ginouvès
21, allée de l’université
92023 Nanterre cedex
tél. 33 (0)1 46 69 25 90