The CEPED (Population and Development Centre) Joint Research Unit was created in 1998 and is a research and training centre specialised in social sciences, under the aegis of the French Institute for Research on Development (IRD) and Paris Descartes University.
CEPED is multidisciplinary and brings together anthropologists (8), demographers (12), sociologists (6), political scientists (4), a lawyer (1), an economist (1), historians (2), researchers in language sciences (3), geographers (2), and public health experts (3).
In January 2018, CEPED comprised:
- 42 researchers and 11 lecturers or professors (23 men and 20 women),
- 1 research engineer,
- 49 doctoral students,
- 3 post-doctoral students,
- 4 support staff,
- 38 associate researchers.
The Unit is specific in that all its research focuses on the populations of the “Global South”, whether in their own societies or in those of the “Global North” when they have travelled or migrated there. The aim is to study the transformations triggered by the globalisation process and their effect on the structures, systems and norms of these societies of the Global South, as well as on the social practices and knowledge of their population and social groups, in particular in the fields of education, migration and health.
The international division of spaces (of settlement), systems (of standards) and markets – in particular those in education and health, which are of particular interest to the Research Unit – is currently being transformed by globalisation, meaning the shift to generalised exchanges that are no longer only between nation-states, but also from sub-national spaces stemming from a productive and spatial break-up of these nation-states. It is the impacts of these divisions and transformations that the Unit seeks to study in depth.
The different dynamics currently underway offer excellent opportunities to study the flexibility of social systems, their different levels of adaptation to change – especially within the fields of education, health and migration – and also the breaks and transformations in the relationships between populations, nation-states and actors (such as international organisations) that are getting to grips with globalisation. Local, national and international policies provide a prism for the study of these processes and transformations, of the fit (or not) between the different scales mentioned previously and, finally, of the interlinked processes that are characteristic of globalisation.
Furthermore, the process of globalisation has generated a sharp widening of inequalities, especially in terms of access to resources and knowledge. These inequalities have also gone hand-in-hand with a process of fragmentation of social groups and the emergence of new social categories, especially elites. To what extent do the processes of worsening inequalities in the conditions of access to different types of resources increase the vulnerability of populations and, going even further, do they bring social cohesion and the conditions for development into question? These questions form a second research perspective in the three fields of the Unit.
Research and training
Training activities take place alongside our research. CEPED organises notably the multidisciplinary Masters in Population and Development Expertise.