The CeRIES, or the Center for Research “Individuals, Experiences, Societies” (in French: Le Centre de Recherche “Individus, Epreuves, Société”) is a certified research lab (Unité Labellisée de Recherche or ULR 3589) at the University of Lille and a constituent of the Doctoral School SESAM (Ecole Doctorale or ED 73).  The CeRIES is comprised of university faculty, doctoral students, and postdocs in the field of Sociology.


The CeRIES focuses on the following lines of research:

Three themes :

1) Age, Entourage

An extensive ensemble of works, planned or already in process by our team of researchers, delve into a long-standing reflection within the CeRIES regarding a lifetime (effects of aging, juvenile socialization, child sociability), situations of addiction or handicap, as well as the actions of kin and professionals in charge of these populations.  From this perspective, we pay particular attention to the redefinition of intergenerational relations, to ageism, and to the effects of the injunction of autonomy, which weigh both on people faced with handicap or addiction as well as their direct entourage.

2) Health, Vulnerabilities

For several years, the CeRIES has been paying particular attention to the social dimensions of sickness and to the health issues that are increasingly occupying space in our societies.  Health is a major issue our daily lives, both in the public and private spheres.  Medical devices (whether medical screening, organ removal and transplantation, or mental health) and professional practices are at the heart of research conducted in this lab.  In the same vein, several studies are at the crossroads of health and vulnerabilities: this is most notably the case in our research projects focusing on poor children, on the elderly faced with Alzheimer’s disease, and on palliative care.

3) Cities, Citizens

In the wake of long-term research conducted at the CeRIES about the relationship with politics and collective action in “societies of individuals”, a growing number of works now focuses on historical transformations and on contemporary forms of political and civic participation.  This research, covering areas near and far (Brazil, Canada), aims to capture the metamorphoses of democracy by combining a diachronic perspective and investigations rooted in a given territory or centered on a specific issue (water management, participation in the mechanisms of city policy, etc.), investigations which thoroughly structure the different facets of citizen involvement or “subpolitical” contemporaries.

Two transversal approaches :

1) Sociology of experiences (épreuves) and life courses

This perspective is a question of articulating the “macro” and “micro” levels by analyzing the different “experiences” or “challenges” (the “épreuves”, which are part of the laboratory’s namesake) that are successively faced by all individuals in any given society.  The analytical grid of these challenges, or “épreuves”, mobilized in much of the research conducted at the CeRIES, is particularly heuristic to capture, for example, the experience of schoolwork, political commitment, illness, or old age, by revealing tension – destabilizing or even destructive – that individuals undergo.  This research orientation will be pursued in the coming years by expanding the repertoire of “épreuves” studied, which should make it possible to, on the one hand, refine the analysis of the individuation process and, on the other hand, better understand the dynamics or life courses.

2) Socio-historical approach

Another approach favored by several CeRIES researchers consists of building a sociology informed by history, in order to inscribe the analysis of the phenomena studied – starting with the individualization and individuals’ capacity for action – in the history through which they’ve come.  In this perspective, if history is important, it is because it can nourish sociological reflection, and it does this in two ways: on the one hand, it is a question of studying what is contemporary in light of the past in order to shed light on its novelties, its scope, or its stakes; and on the other hand, recourse to history consists of making the contemporary and our own problems the result of a succession of historical transformations, of which it is therefore fitting to follow the path.  Beyond the specificities of each research project are the socio-historical approaches that certain members of the CeRIES have in common, that of freeing themselves from disciplinary demarcations and considering that archives and documents delineate a “field” of investigation, which the sociologist may also explore profitably.  This bias will guide a whole area of future research within the lab.

Meet the members of the CeRIES!

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Administration and staff : 

Director : Michel CASTRA

Assistant Director : Clément RIVIERE

Administrator : Brittany WILLIAMS


How to reach the CeRIES:

: (+33)

Click here to contact via email

Université de Lille (University of Lille), Bâtiment B (Building B), niveau forum +1 (level Forum+1), office B3.320

Via métro : Station "Pont de Bois" on the 1 line (Visit Ilevia for more information)