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HomeSocial control practices and territories. European and American societies (19th-20th centuries)

Social control practices and territories. European and American societies (19th-20th centuries)

Pratiques et territoires du contrôle social. Sociétés européennes et américaines (XIXe-XXIe siècle)

Prácticas y territorios del control social. Sociedades europeas y americanas. (siglos XIX-XXI)

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Published on Wednesday, November 04, 2020


This issue of Amnis analyses the notion of social control. It will be to examine the practices of domination and power. The lines of this issue are: Formal and informal actors in the exercise of social control; Territory and social control; The manufacturing of conformity



There are few concepts as tenacious as social control, which has been mobilised by the social sciences since the beginning of the 20th century. Many have tried to do away with it. Robert Castel wrote in 1988 that ‘this notion of social control seems today to be so discredited that most “researchers” cannot use it without blushing and disassociating themselves from it. But it refuses to go away. It continues to appear in articles and books. We may criticise it, but we have not managed to get rid of it.

There are many reasons for this persistence. One probably lies in the concept’s malleability. It circulates between disciplines. It was first introduced into the field of sociology by Edward Alsworth Ross in 1901, but it has been worked on by historians, anthropologists and philosophers alike. It also has thematic mobility. Originally conceived to describe ‘the learning of conformity’, it was subsequently used, especially in the wake of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, to also describe the ‘containment of non-conformity’.

The concept is equally applied to the past, present and future. The so-called totalitarian regimes of the past not to mention the great dystopias, from 1984 to Minority Report, have long had a monopoly on the representation of social control taken to its extreme, where an individual’s every waking moment is controlled both vertically by the state and its agents and horizontally through a population that spies and informs on one another. Recent developments in surveillance in China, with facial recognition and the social credit system, as well as the impacts of the Covid-19 epidemic on democratic societies worldwide have led to a renewed interest in the concept.

The circulation of this concept corresponds well to the multidisciplinary approach that has energised Amnis since its creation. This issue will be an opportunity to continue the already rich research in this area by increasing the number of perspectives and the range of micro/macro focuses. The objective here is not, of course, to completely revisit an imposing bibliography but to use this concept to examine the practices of domination and power.

The proposed articles may address the following major themes

1— Formal and informal actors in the exercise of social control

Exercising social control means enforcing norms. The main agents exerting this power are already well known, namely the state and religious institutions. This issue of Amnis could be an opportunity to also look at actors situated at the margins of these powerful protagonists. For example, articles could investigate forms of social control without or in spite of the state. The privatisation of social control, where responsibility for imposing the norm is delegated to private groups (militias, private prisons, etc.), also merits attention. Finally, how is a population’s engagement with social control measures assessed to ensure their effectiveness?

2— Territory and social control

Variations in focus, from the central to the local, seems to be a key approach for understanding domination. What are the sites of social control? Social control is imposed on a given territory. What are the factors that explain or determine the variations? What impact does geography have on the modalities of social control? How can a norm be enforced over a large territory? What are the spaces that escape social control? And how?

3— The manufacturing of conformity

Ever since Foucault, historians and sociologists of social control have been very interested in the repression of deviance and opposition. It might be interesting to return to the conceptual model developed by early scholars to examine the construction of conformism in different political regimes. How does an individual learn to conform?

Submission guidelines

Article proposals (30 lines) may be written in French, English or Spanish. They should be sent, along with the author’s Curriculum Vitae, to the following address

by 20 December 2020


Accepted articles must be submitted by 1 June 2021 at the latest. Following appraisals by the journal’s scientific committee and two external reviewers, the articles will be published on the journal’s website during the course of 2021.


François-Xavier Nérard

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Scientific Committee

  • Angel Alcalde, University of Melbourne, Australie, Histoire.
  • Óscar Álvarez Gila, Universidad del País Vasco, (Vitoria), Espagne, Histoire.
  • Sylvie Aprile, Université de Paris-Ouest Nanterre, France, Histoire.
  • Avner Ben-Amos, Université de Tel-Aviv, Israël, Histoire.
  • Zoraida Carandell, Université de Paris-Ouest Nanterre, France, Littérature et culture espagnoles.
  • Martine Chalvet, Aix Marseille Université, France, Histoire.
  • Paulo Bernardo Ferreira Vaz, Universidad Federal de minas Gerais, (Belo Horizonte), Brésil, Communication Sociale.
  • Alec G Hargreaves, Florida State University (Tallahassee), Director Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, Etats-Unis, Littérature française et études francophones.
  • Pierre-Cyrille Hautcœur, EHESS, École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris), France, Sciences Economiques.
  • Jérôme Jamin, Université de Liège, Belgique, Sciences politiques.
  • Gerd Krumeich, Université de Düsseldorf, Allemagne, Histoire.
  • Stéphane Michonneau, Université de Lille, France, Histoire.
  • Ellen McCracken, UCSB, (University of California Santa Barbara), Etats-Unis, Littérature et etudes culturelles latino-américaines.
  • Mónica Moreno Seco, Universidad de Alicante, Espagne, Histoire.
  • Edilma Osorio Pérez Flor, Facultad de Estudios Ambientales y Rurales, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombie, Sociologie, Anthropologie.
  • Maitane Ostolaza, Université Paris Sorbonne, France, Civilisation espagnole.
  • Manuelle Peloille, Université d’Angers, France, Civilisation espagnole.
  • Alejandro M. Rabinovich, Consejo Nacional de InvestigacionesCientíficas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de La Pampa (UNLPam), Argentine, Histoire.
  • Mario Ranalletti, Instituto de estudios históricos, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Argentine, Histoire.
  • Jean-Robert Raviot, Université de Nanterre (Paris X), France, Civilisation russe.
  • Philippe Schaffhauser, Centro de Estudios Rurales. Colegio de Michoacán, Mexique, Sociologie et anthropologie sociale et culturelle.
  • Pierre Schoentjes, Université de Gand, Belgique, Littérature française.
  • Leonard V. Smith, Oberlin College (Ohio), Etats-Unis, Histoire.
  • Taline Ter Minassian, INALCO, (Paris), France, Histoire.
  • Dominic Thomas, UCLA, (University of California Los Angeles), Etats-Unis, études culturelles et politiques des mondes francophones.
  • Amarela Varela Huerta, Academia de Comunicación y Cultura, Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, Mexique, Sociologie.
  • Luis Veres, Universidad de Valencia, Espagne, Littérature latino-américaine.


  • Sunday, December 20, 2020


  • contrôle social, pratique, domination, dénonciation, territoire, norme, conformité


  • Severiano Rojo Hernandez
    courriel : severiano [dot] rojohernandez [at] univ-amu [dot] fr

Information source

  • Severiano Rojo Hernandez
    courriel : severiano [dot] rojohernandez [at] univ-amu [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

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« Social control practices and territories. European and American societies (19th-20th centuries) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, November 04, 2020,

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