Territory and Population

- Closed project -

In the mid-17th century, two new concepts emerged: territory and population. They were the framework for modern absolute monarchies and were a first step toward the nation state. Simple technical tools initially - population meaning the number of inhabitants and territories covering identities, without a specific spatial border separating them - these concepts became established over the coming centuries.  In the same way that nations create nationalities and that populations fuel the notional term 'people', territories trigger the drawing of ever-precise borders. The trend toward idealising and abstracting the two terms is now doing an about face under the pressure of reality rather than the unreality of these peoples and borders. At the same time, geographical smoothing and anamorphosis is gaining ground, with either borders being obscured, or territories deformed. Likewise, the concepts of people and population are being challenged by rapid cultural developments.


  • "Statistiques ethniques" (Ethnic statistics) programme
  • "Inégalités territoriales" (Territorial inequalities) programme, in partnership with the Institut Montparnasse, current research "La solidarité républicaine à l’épreuve des diversités" (Republican solidarity and the test of diversity) and "La solidarité nationale menacée par les fractures territoriales, familiales et communautaires" (National solidarity jeopardised by territorial, family and community fracture)
  • Seminar on social morphology, FMSH
  • Conference "Les défis démographiques de la mondialisation" (The demographic challenges of globalisation) Gulbenkian Foundation Paris, October 2013
  • Colloquium for the 50th anniversary of the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, May 2013, Paris, "Le retour de l’espace et de la morphologie" (The return of space and morphology)
  • Weekly joint seminar with Michel Wieviorka and H. Le Bras (EHESS), "Sociologie du conflit" (Sociology of conflict) (2014/2015, 2015/2016)
Published at 3 October 2013