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Abélès Marc

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Directeur d’études à l’EHESS

Directeur de Recherche (DR1) CNRS


LAIOS, EHESS, 54 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris

Tél : 01 53 63 51 32

marc.abeles at

Marc Abélès is an alumnus of Ecole normale supérieure (Paris). He holds a ‘Doctorat de 3e cycle’ and a ‘Doctorat d’Etat’ in Anthropology. Marc Abélès first worked under Claude Lévi-Strauss’s supervision on the political practices of the Ochollo in southern Ethiopia. After joining CNRS he was a member of the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale from 1979 to 1995. Based on his work among the Ochollo, his subsequent research was devoted to political life and institutions in France and Europe. Elections, assembly practices, and political symbolics lie at the core of his work on political life in Burgundy (Quiet days in Burgundy: a study of local politics, 1991, orig. 1989), on the political rituals orchestrated by François Mitterrand (Anthropologie de l’État, 1990), the French Parliament (Un ethnologue à l’Assemblée, 2000), the misadventures of political representation (L’Echec en politique, 2005), and on European parliament (La vie quotidienne au Parlement européen, 1992). In 1993, Marc Abélès directed anthropological research within the European Commission at the latter’s request. More recently, his research has focused on founders of startup companies and philanthropists in Silicon Valley (Les Nouveaux riches. Un ethnologue dans la Silicon Valley, 2002), and on new powers and countervailing powers at play in globalisation (Politique de la survie, 2006). MA sat on the Comité national of CNRS from 1990 to 1998. He has run the LAIOS since its creation with other colleagues in 1995. He was also elected Directeur d’Etudes at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in 2005, where he teaches anthropology of institutions. Marc Abélès was a Visiting Scholar at Brown University (1997), Stanford University (2000), and invited Professsor at New York University (2004), Boston University (2006), and Universidad de Buenos Aires (2006).

Research themes

Marc Abélès’s investigations centre on three themes. Following upon his work in political anthropology on elections, he is currently preparing a book on the French presidential campaign in 2007. A second theme is devoted to new sites of global governance, especially of organisations involved in regulating global markets. His third project consists of an essay in preparation on anthropology in the face of globalisation.