ENSAE Paris - École d'ingénieurs pour l'économie, la data science, la finance et l'actuariat




Department: Sociology


The course is designed as an introduction to sociology, presenting the principal stages in the history of sociological thought and a few major themes in contemporary social science research. Its purpose is to set out and discuss theories, analysis methods and empirical results, with a particular emphasis on work that calls for quantitative techniques. Each session will be devoted to a specific theme. The first part of the session will lay out the main theoretical reference points and the findings of empirical research in the given domain, and a group of students will be invited in the second part to give an oral presentation lasting about twenty minutes on a more specific subject. Each student must participate in a presentation during the semester for the course to be validated. The presentation subjects will generally take the form of a critical discussion of texts and research results based on a documentation file handed out at the beginning of the year. Evaluation of the course will be based on thegrouppresentations and anindividualreview of a book or set of texts, a list of which will be handed out during the first session of the course, when the presentations in later sessions will be planned and definitive registrations will be taken.



  1. General introduction -Course presentation. The different research formulae in sociology. Allocation of presentations.
  2. Stratification and social classes -Presentation: The end of social class?
  3. Social mobility -Presentation: Social justice and meritocracy
  4. School and inequalities -Presentation: The massification of education and democratisation of teaching
  5. The sociology of voting and political behaviour -Presentation: Metamorphoses in class voting
  6. Sociology of immigration and integration -Presentation: Spatial segregation questions
  7. Culture, norms and values -Presentation: The post-materialism controversy
  8. Culture and lifestyles -Presentation: Is the distinction model still relevant?



Elliott (2013) Farrell (2016) Fourcade (2011) Friedman and Reeves (2020) Keenan, Hill, and Gumber (2018) Kiley and Vaisey (n.d.) Meuleman (2021) Mijs (2021) Miles (2015) Yavorsky et al. (n.d.) Zimmermann (2019)

Elliott, Rebecca. 2013. “The Taste for Green: The Possibilities and Dynamics of Status Differentiation Through ‘Green’ Consumption.” Poetics 41 (3): 294–322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2013.03.003.

Farrell, Justin. 2016. “Corporate Funding and Ideological Polarization about Climate Change.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113 (1): 92–97. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1509433112.

Fourcade, Marion. 2011. “Cents and Sensibility: Economic Valuation and the Nature of ‘Nature’.” American Journal of Sociology 116 (6): 1721–77. https://doi.org/10.1086/659640.

Friedman, Sam, and Aaron Reeves. 2020. “From Aristocratic to Ordinary: Shifting Modes of Elite Distinction.” American Sociological Review 85 (2): 323–50. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122420912941.

Keenan, Jesse M., Thomas Hill, and Anurag Gumber. 2018. “Climate Gentrification: From Theory to Empiricism in Miami-Dade County, Florida.” Environmental Research Letters 13 (5): 054001. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aabb32.

Kiley, Kevin, and Stephen Vaisey. n.d. “Measuring Stability and Change in Personal Culture Using Panel Data.” American Sociological Review, 30.

Meuleman, Roza. 2021. “Cultural Connections: The Relation Between Cultural Tastes and Socioeconomic Network Resources.” Poetics 86 (June): 101540. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2021.101540.

Mijs, Jonathan J B. 2021. “The Paradox of Inequality: Income Inequality and Belief in Meritocracy Go Hand in Hand.” Socio-Economic Review 19 (1): 7–35. https://doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwy051.

Miles, Andrew. 2015. “The (Re)genesis of Values: Examining the Importance of Values for Action.” American Sociological Review 80 (4): 680–704. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122415591800.

Yavorsky, Jill E, Lisa A Keister, Yue Qian, and Michael Nau. n.d. “Women in the One Percent: Gender Dynamics in Top Income Positions.” American Sociological Review, 28.

Zimmermann, Thomas. 2019. “Social Influence or Rational Choice? Two Models and Their Contribution to Explaining Class Differentials in Student Educational Aspirations.” European Sociological Review, October, jcz054. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcz054.