School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences

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The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales
Ehess logo.svg
Other names
Former names
École pratique des hautes études, VI Section (1947–1975),
École libre des hautes études (1941–1946)
Type Grand établissement
Established23 January 1975
Budget€60 million [1]
President Christophe Prochasson
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students3,000 [1]
Campus Urban

The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (French : École des hautes études en sciences sociales; also known as EHESS) is one of the most selective and prestigious grandes écoles of social sciences in Paris, France. It is one of the French grands établissements. [2] [3]


Originally a department of the École pratique des hautes études, an institution created in 1868 with the purpose of training academic researchers, the EHESS became an independent institution in 1975. Today its research covers the fields of Economics and Finance (through the Paris School of Economics), Cognitive Sciences, Humanities, Political Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Development studies, Sociology, Anthropology, History, Musicology, and Philosophy of social science.

The institution is concentrated on scholarly research and some of its faculty (known as "directeurs d'études") have achieved international recognition in different areas: in economics, Thomas Piketty and Nobel laureate Jean Tirole; historians such as Fernand Braudel and Lucien Febvre; anthropologists such as Claude Lévi-Strauss and Marcel Mauss, sociologists such as Pierre Bourdieu, Edgar Morin and Alain Touraine; philosophers such as Jacques Derrida, and interdisciplinary scholars such as Raymond Aron.

As a higher education institution under the jurisdiction of the French Ministry of Education, the EHESS trains academic researchers and professors specialised in the social sciences. It awards graduate degrees, such as the Master of Research and the doctorate, as well as a school diploma. Some of them are awarded conjointly with institutions such as the École Normale Supérieure, the École Polytechnique, the École pratique des hautes études, and some of the universities of Paris.

The EHESS is a grande école and, as such, is not part of the mainstream university system. It evaluates students through a selection process based on the research project of the applicants. The scholars in training are free to choose their own curriculum among the large quantity of seminars offered by the school. The école has a small student-faculty ratio (830 researchers for 3000 students). Most faculty belong to other institutions, mostly within the CNRS but also other schools of Université PSL such as the ENS, the EPHE and the ENC, schools of Université Paris-Saclay such as Télécom ParisTech and the ENSAE, and some of the universities of Paris. [4]


École pratique des hautes études

Originally part of the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE) as its VI Section: Sciences économiques et sociales, the EHESS gained autonomy as an independent higher education institution on 23 January 1975. The creation of a dedicated branch for social science research within the EPHE was catalyzed by the Annales historical school and was supported by several academic initiatives of the Rockefeller Foundation, dating to the 1920s. After WWII, the Rockefeller Foundation invested more funds in French institutions, seeking to encourage non-Marxist sociological studies.

The VIth section was created in 1947, and Lucien Febvre took its head. Soon after its creation (1947), the VI Section, later EHESS, became one of the most influential shapers of contemporary historiography, area studies and social sciences methodology, thanks to the contribution of eminent scholars such as Fernand Braudel, Jacques Le Goff and François Furet. F. Braudel succeeded L. Febvre in 1956. He concentrated the various study groups at the well-known building on boulevard Raspail (area of allée Claude-Cahun-Marcel-Moore), in part by financing from the Ford Foundation. [5]

Independent institution

Today, the EHESS is one of France's Grands établissements. It functions as a research, teaching, and degree-granting institution. It offers advanced students high-level programs intended to lead to research careers. Students are admitted on the relevance of their research project and undertake at the EHESS master programs and doctoral studies. The main areas of specialization include: history, literary theory, linguistics, philosophy, philology, sociology, anthropology, economics, cognitive science, demographics, geography, archaeology, psychology, law, and mathematics. The institution's focus is on interdisciplinary research within these fields. The EHESS has more than 40 research centers (among which are several joint research units with the CNRS) and 22 doctoral programs, 13 of which are in partnership with other French Universities and Grandes écoles . [6]

PSL Research University

The school is a constituent college of the federal PSL Research University. Other institutions include the College de France, the École Normale Supérieure, the École pratique des hautes études, Chimie ParisTech, ESPCI ParisTech, the École des mines, and Paris Dauphine University.



Influence from the Annales School

Lucien Febvre and Fernand Braudel were members of the École des Annales, the dominant school of historical analysis in France during the interwar period. However, this school of thought was contested by the growing importance of the social sciences and the beginning of structuralism. Under pressure from Claude Lévi-Strauss, in particular, they integrated new contributions from the fields of sociology and ethnography to event-based historical analysis, a concept put forward by the Annales school, to advocate for the concept of "a nearly imperceptible passage of history". They were reproached, along with the structuralists, for ignoring politics and the individual's influence over his fate during a period in which the colonial wars of liberation were taking place.[ citation needed ]

The work of Braudel, Le Roy Ladurie and other historians working under their influence greatly affected the research and official teaching of history in France beginning in the 1960s. The work of Jean-Marie Pesez renewed interest in the issue of methodology in medieval archeology and created the idea of "material culture".[ citation needed ] François Hartog, who serves as the director of the school's ancient and modern historiography department, is also noted for proposing that the problems of modern time schema are not entirely caused by an imperialist past. [7] He is also known for challenging the Eurocentric reflection of history and the present. [8]

New History

During the 1970s, EHESS became the center of New History under the influence of Jacques Le Goff and Pierre Nora. During this period, a generation of ethnologists working under the ideas of Georges Balandier and Marc Augé were critical of the French colonial tradition and applied modern sociological concepts to third world countries.

New Polish School of Holocaust Scholarship

In 2019, held the New Polish School of Holocaust Scholarship conference. The conference was disrupted by Polish nationalists. [9] [10] [11] EHESS President, Christophe Prochasson, said he could not recall such a violent disturbance at any scientific conference. [12] Minister Frédérique Vidal condemned Polish authorities. [13] [14]


Pierre Bourdieu, Luc Boltanski, Alain Touraine, Jean-Claude Passeron have all been associated with EHESS.


EHESS has always been a central place for economic debate in Europe. In France this debate is also enabled by the proximity of the researchers in Paris with national economic institutions: In this sense EHESS's advisors who have been drawn from economic professors have enjoyed a large media audience (a case example was Jean Fourastié). The diversity of viewpoints has been a priority, and liberal and Marxist economists have had the chance to debate in EHESS. Since the 1970s and 1980s EHESS has focused on quantitative economics, with classes led by well-known professors such as Louis-André Gérard-Varet, Jean-Jacques Laffont, François Bourguignon and Roger Guesnerie. They initiated not only the Paris School of Economics but the Toulouse School of Economics and Grequam (Aix-Marseille).



More than 50% of the student body comes from countries other than France.

Domestic and foreign networks


The school is a founding member of the Paris School of Economics, Toulouse School of Economics, and Aix-Marseille School of Economics, the three French leading centers in Quantitative Economics. Since 2014 it is an associated member of the Paris Research University (PSL).

International partnerships

EHESS has exchange programs with universities such as Oxford and Cambridge in the United Kingdom; Columbia, Yale, University of California, and Michigan State in the United States; Heidelberg in Germany; Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan; Peking in China; the European University Institute in Florence, etc. Also, it has many relations and exchange programs with universities in Asia and the Middle-East; it holds research centers on Asian Studies and Islamic Studies.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

Past and present faculty (including EPHE's VI Section):

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Annales</i> school Group of historians

The Annales school is a group of historians associated with a style of historiography developed by French historians in the 20th century to stress long-term social history. It is named after its scholarly journal Annales d'histoire économique et sociale, which remains the main source of scholarship, along with many books and monographs. The school has been highly influential in setting the agenda for historiography in France and numerous other countries, especially regarding the use of social scientific methods by historians, emphasizing social and economic rather than political or diplomatic themes.

École normale supérieure (Paris) French "grande école" (ENS Paris)

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Lucien Febvre

Lucien Paul Victor Febvre was a French historian best known for the role he played in establishing the Annales School of history. He was the initial editor of the Encyclopédie française together with Anatole de Monzie.

Jacques Le Goff

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The grands établissements are French public institutions under ministerial charter under the administrative category referred to as Établissements publics à caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel (EPCSP).

Paris School of Economics French research institute

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École pratique des hautes études

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Jean-Louis Fabiani French sociologist

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Antoine Bozio is a French-Swiss economist who currently works as Associate Professor at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and Associate Researcher at the Paris School of Economics (PSE), where he directs the Institut des politiques publiques. His research focuses on labour economics and the economics of ageing. In 2017, Bozio was awarded the Prize of the Best Young Economist of France for his research on the structure of pension systems and the impact of social security contributions on the supply of labour and wage levels.

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  1. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Comprendre les sociétés humaines".
  3. "The Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales | Columbia | HILI".
  4. Sociales, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences (7 December 2015). "Partenaires". EHESS.
  5. Sociales, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences (19 December 2018). "L'histoire de l'École". EHESS.
  6. Sociales, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences (25 November 2015). "Les unités et centres de recherche". EHESS.
  7. Lorenz, Chris; Bevernage, Berber (2013). Breaking Up Time: Negotiating the Borders Between Present, Past and Future. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 209. ISBN   978-3-525-31046-5.
  8. Diawara, Mamadou; Lategan, Bernard C.; Rüsen, Jörn (2010). Historical Memory in Africa: Dealing with the Past, Reaching for the Future in an Intercultural Context. Berghahn Books. p. 88. ISBN   978-1-84545-652-8.
  9. Par Danielle Delmaire, « Chahut lors d’un colloque sur la Shoah en Pologne », Tsafon [En ligne], 77 | 2019, mis en ligne le 09 septembre 2019, consulté le 15 décembre 2019. URL :  ; DOI : 10.4000/tsafon.2049
  10. Conflits contemporains dans la culture polonaise, un diagnostic : entretien avec Agnieszka Żuk, 3ᵉ partie
  11. , Comprendre la relation des Polonais à la Shoah, Sylvain Boulouque, 25 novembre 2019
  12. Un colloque sur l’histoire de la Shoah perturbé par des nationalistes polonais, Le Monde
  13. La Pologne minimise les incidents lors d’un colloque sur la Shoah à Paris, Le Monde
  14. , Behr Valentin, Entre histoire et propagande. Les contributions de l’Institut polonais de la mémoire nationale à la mise en récit de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, Allemagne d'aujourd'hui

Coordinates: 48°51′0.86″N2°19′36.33″E / 48.8502389°N 2.3267583°E / 48.8502389; 2.3267583