Christine MUSSELIN

CNRS Senior Research

Research Programs
Knowledge, science, and expertise program : Public policy and transformations of the state program

Christine MUSSELIN

Dean of research at Sciences Po (from May 2013 to novembre 2018)

CSO Director (from February 2007 to may 2013).

Research interests:
- Organizational Sociology
- Economic Sociology
- Public policy analysis
- Comparative higher education
- Qualitative methods

For many years, Christine Musselin has directed a comparative research program of higher education systems at the CSO.

Over time, three overarching perspectives have been developed, each one corresponding to a larger theoretical framework:

- university governance as part of a larger debate about organization and decision theories;
- public authorities' steering of higher education systems within a broader an analysis of public policies;
- the academic labor market through the lens of labor economics and sociology, and also through the prism of research on judgment.

Over the past years, Christine Musselin has explored these three areas of research with a group of doctoral students who participate in the program. She has been particularly involved in the third area of research, which led to the publication, in October 2005, of a book called Le marché des universitaires. France, Allemagne, Etats-Unis , published by Sciences Po Press, and in 2008 a book published by La Découverte, in the Repères collection, called Les universitaires .

She has broadened her research perspectives through participation in the PRIME network, which brings together research on higher education with that on innovation and research systems.

Lecturer for Governing Science (Gouverner la science), second-year elective course at the Sciences Po Collège Universitaire (with J. Aust).

Lecturer for the Public Action Analysis seminar (Analyse de l’action publique, with P. Bezes since 2003) in the Master's in Sociology at Sciences Po Paris (now known as the Research master's in Sociology of Action at Sciences Po) (since January 1994).

Lecturer for the Methodology of Organized Action seminar (Méthodologie de l’action organisée), in the Political Sociology Master's program in the Public Policy department at Sciences Po Paris (now part of the research master's in Comparative Studies in Society and Politics at Sciences Po) (since January 2000).

Lecturer (with A. Van Zanten) for the Education Policy class (Politiques éducatives) in the research master's program in Comparative Studies in Society and Politics at Sciences Po (2004-2009).

Lecturer for the Higher Education and Research Policy course (Politiques de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche) in the Postgraduate Studies program at the University of Lausanne (1999-2006).

Director of the collective survey carried out by master’s students in Sociology at Sciences Po Paris (1991-1992, 1995-1996, 1997-1998, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012 (with J. Aust)).

Co-director with E. Friedberg of the “Firms in the day-to-day” seminar (L’entreprise au concret) in the MBA-Part Time program at ESCP Paris (1993-1995).

Co-director with E. Friedberg of an introductory seminar on organizational sociology in the Organizational Sociology master’s program at Sciences Po Paris (1992-1994).

Reading seminar (in collaboration with Ph. Urfalino) in the Sociology master’s program at Sciences Po Paris (1990-1992).

Organizational Sociology seminar at IESTO (CNAM) (1990-1993).

Lecturer at the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées on Organizational sociology and public decision-making (1988-1990).

Lecturer on Strategic analysis of organizations and Inter-organizational and comparative relations at ESSEC (1983-1986).

PhD advising: 10 theses defended since 2003 and 5 underway (June 2012)

Editorial Activities

Member of the Editorial Board of Sociologie du travail since 1991 and chair of the “Society for the Advancement of the Sociology of Labor” (Association pour le développement de la sociologie du travail) (December 1995-June 2004).

Co-editor of the Higher Education journal (since 2008).

Member of the Editorial Board of the OECD Higher Education Management and Policy journal (2000-2008).

Member of the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Education (1999-2008).

Member of the Editorial Board of the international journal Minerva (since 2000).

Member of the Editorial Board of Higher Education Management and Politics (1999-2008).

Reviewer for a number of other journals, notably Minerva, Research Policy, and the Socio-Economic Review.

Service to assessment and research management bodies

Member of the disciplinary Scientific Committee for the Blanc (“White”) and Jeunes chercheurs (“Young researchers”) programs of the ANR (French national research agency) (2007-2010).

Member of section 40 of the National Committee of the CNRS (2008-2012).

Member of the Strategiekommission in the Wissenschaftsrat (German science council) within the framework of the Exzellenzinitiative, since 2009.

Member of the Scientific Council of the AERES (French evaluation agency for research and higher education) (since 2011).

Member of the disciplinary Scientific Committee for the Social Sciences and Humanities department of the ANR (French national research agency) (since 2011).

Service to scientific councils

Member of the Scientific Council of the CIERA (Interdisciplinary center for research on Germany) (since 2011).

Member of the Scientific Council of the OST (Observatoire des Sciences et des Techniques) (since 2008).

Member of the Scientific Council of the Marc Bloch Center (since 2008).

Member of the Scientific Council for the City of Paris (since 2008).

External Member of the Board of Directors of the Henri Poincaré University (Nancy 1) (2008-2012).

Member of the Scientific Council for the History of Education department of the INRP (French national pedagogical research institute) (2007-2010)

Network leadership

Chair of CHER (Consortium for Higher Education Research), an international consortium of researchers working on higher education (since 2007).

Chair of RESUP (network of research on higher education) (since 2007) and member of the scientific council of RESUP since its creation in 2001.

Coordinator of the international PhD student network EUREDOCS (since 2005).

Service to professional organizations

Présidente EAIR - The European Higher Education Society (2019)

Member of the French Political Sciences organization (l’Association Française de Science Politique) since 1984 and member of its scientific council since 2008.

Member of the French Sociology Association (l’Association Française de Sociologie) since 2003.

Missions, expertise, and instruction for actors in the higher education system

Member of the Study Committee on the future of higher education personnel, chaired by Rémy Schwartz, spring 2008.

Multiple lectures in training programs at the Ecole Supérieure de l’Education Nationale (ESEN) (since 2005).

Member of the workshop on career paths (Les parcours professionnels) within the framework of the CNRS project Attractivité et politique de ressources humaines (spring 2005).

Member of the working group “Doctors” for FUTURIS (January-June 2005).

Member of the workshop on the international mobility of researchers and engineers and the appeal of France (Mobilité internationale des chercheurs et des ingénieurs et attractivité de la France), organized by the Commissariat Général du Plan (Plan Commission) (2003-2005).

Member of the assessment body for contractual policies binding universities and the State, created by the Commissariat Général du Plan (Plan Commission) (January 2002-November 2003).

Member of the study committee on pedagogical innovation chaired by Alain Renaut, created by the Ministry for Education (2002-2003).

Two missions for the French Embassy to Argentina with the CONEAU agency (agency of higher education assessment) in Buenos Aires, 2001 and 2003.


Knight of the Legion of Honour (Chevalier de la légion d'honneur) (Avril 2014)

Member of the European Academy of Sociology (November 2012)

Member of the Academia Europaea (since September 2011)

Knight of the National Order of Merit (Chevalier de l’ordre du mérite) (November 2010)

Habilitation, under the direction of Catherine Paradeise, Paris X Nanterre university (April 2000).

PhD from Sciences Po Paris, under the direction of Michel Crozier (October 1987).

Master’s in sociology from Sciences Po Paris (1982).

Bachelor’s degree from the ESCP in Paris (1980).

"Coopérations universitaires en Europe beaucoup de dispositifs et d’initiatives, mais un chantier encore en friche", March 2020.

Propositions d'une chercheuse pour l'Université
Propositions d'une chercheuse pour l'Université, 2019.

La réception des réformes universitaires. Entre conformation, appropriations et résistances, April 2019.

"Questions autour de l’agrégation en gestion", January 2019.

"Reforms in France: When Competition and Cooperation Clash", 2019.

"A balanced Publication Strategy", 2019.

"France: Marginal formal changes but noticeable evolutions", 2019.

"Have academics always been entrepreneurial?", October 2018.

"Is Commitment to Performance-based Management Compatible with Commitment to University “Publicness”? Academics’ Values in French Universities", August 2018.

"New forms of competition in higher education", July 2018.

"Se mettre à l’IDEX ou être mis à l’index. Conformations, appropriations et résistances aux instruments d’action publique dans trois sites d’enseignement supérieur", 2018.

La grande course des universités
La grande course des universités, 2017.

"Draw me a University: Organizational Design Processes in University Mergers", Emerald Books, February, 2016.

"Peut-on parler d'égalité des chances dans les carrières universitaires en France ?", Regards croisés sur l'économie, December 2015.

"Les organisations et leur marchés marchés du travail. Une comparaison du monde musical et du monde universitaire", L'Année sociologique, October 2015.

"France: Long Waiting Lists Despite Minimally Attractive Academic Positions", SUNY Press, March, 2015.

"Le New Public Management entre rationalisation et marchandisation ?", Presses de SciencesPo, February, 2015.

"Devenir professeur des universités. Une comparaison sur trois disciplines (1976-2007)", Revue économique, January 2015.

"La réforme comme opportunité professionnelle ? Autonomie des établissements et montée en puissance des cadres administratifs des universités", Gouvernement et action publique, 2015.

"La prise de décision stratégique dans les organisations publiques collégiales", Presses de l'Université du Québec (PUQ), December, 2014.

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