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Hugrée Cédric - CRESPPA - UMR 7217-CSU


Cédric Hugrée
Bureau 348
59-61 rue Pouchet
75849 Paris Cedex 17
01 40 25 11 41
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23 October 2020

Cédric Hugrée

Sociologist, Researcher at the CNRS

Areas of Research

  • Social Classes
  • Inequalities
  • Students
  • State
  • Public Sector
  • Ethnography and quantitative analysis

Current Research Projects

I am a researcher at the CNRS [National Center for Scientific Research]. My research currently focuses on the social and educational transformations of inequalities in France and in Europe.
The first research I carried out was for my PhD dissertation in social sciences (directed by S. Beaud); it dealt with educational and social inequalities in the French university system. I crossed three different fields in sociology: education, social stratification and employment. This work questioned the educational pathways and first career steps taken by graduate students from the working class using the secondary results of several statistical surveys as well as an ethnographic survey conducted among graduate students in the early 2000s. It revealed the determinants of a “satisfactory” education, which need to be converted into “reasonable” ascending social mobility when the students enter the labor market. My research was awarded the first prize of the Observatoire de la Vie Étudiante [Student Life Observatory] in 2010 and has been edited several times. (Hugree, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2015; Hugree Poullaouec 2011).
This work has now been followed by the preparation of a book on inequalities in the French university system (Hugrée, 2015, 2016, Brinbaum, Hugrée, Poullaouec, 2018, Chauvel, Hugrée, 2019 ;Book in progress).
After working on the relationships between the working classes and the university, I have extended my investigations to the whole scope of inequalities experienced by French working classes. Sociologie des classes populaires [The Sociology of the Working Classes], a book co-written with Ph. Alonzo (2010), offers an overview of the sociological work and surveys that created the “working class” category in France and that used it as a tool to describe and understand the social world. First, it draws out the history of the sociological debates linked to the definition of “working class”. It then presents in greater detail the approaches and surveys that have analyzed the transformations of these social groups and their permanent aspects, from their relationships to politics to their work and employment, including lifestyles and school.
Since 2013, I have started to focus on comparisons among employees working for the public or private sectors, within the framework of a sociology of social stratification. After working on the educational and social transformations of public servants in France and in Europe (Hugree, 2011; Hugree, Penissat, Spire, 2015a 2015b, ; Gollac, Hugree 2015),
on archives from their entrance examinations. My work also focused on the power of the civil servant status in France, aiming at categorizing the French social space following up on the experiment conducted by L. Boltanski and L. Thevenot in the beginning of the 1980s (Hugree, de Verdalle, 2015). This research on the ordinary categorizations of the social world has just given rise to a new article analysing the ways in which individuals name and differentiate social groups in France (Hugrée, de Verdalle, 2019)

He is currently working on the comparison of social inequalities (status, employment, working conditions, access to culture, access to higher education) at the European level (Hugrée, Penissat, Spire, 2014, 2017a, 2017b, Chauvel, Hugrée, 2019). Within the framework of the ANR Profet (Dir. A. Spire), he is interested in ordinary relations with the State and public administrations and more particularly in relations with the educational institution of the middle and upper classes. He is a member of the task force on the actualisation of the french socioprofessional classification called PCS.




Cédric Hugrée, Etienne Penissat and Alexis Spire, Social class in europe: new inequalities in the old world, translated by Rachel Gomme and Sanya Pelini, Brooklyn: Verso Books, April 2020, 224 p.

Over the last ten years the issue of Europe has been placed at the centre of major political conflicts, revealing profound splits in society. These splits are represented in terms of an opposition between those countries on the losing and those on the winning sides of globalisation. (...) Lire la suite...

Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat et Alexis Spire, Les classes sociales en Europe, Agone, coll. « L’ordre des choses », 2017 - 264 p.

Présentation de l’éditeur : « Les classes populaires européennes ont été touchées de plein fouet par la crise : l’expérience du chômage et de la précarité fait partie de leur quotidien et constitue un marqueur qui les distingue des autres classes Un autre trait récurrent est la pénibilité physique au (...) Lire la suite...

Philippe Alonzo and Cédric Hugrée, The Sociology of Working Class, Paris, Armand Colin, Coll. 128, 2010

" Démunis ", " exclus ", " nouveaux pauvres "... A l’heure où les conséquences économiques et sociales de la crise financière fragilisent ceux qu’un ministre avait un temps désignés comme " La France d’en bas ", Philippe Alonzo et Cédric Hugrée reviennent sur les travaux et enquêtes sociologiques qui ont (...) Lire la suite...

Nathalie Beaupère, Lucile Chalumeau, Nicolas Gury, Cédric Hugrée, Early Dropout in Higher Education , La Documentation Française ; Observatoire national de la vie étudiante (OVE), Coll. Panorama des savoirs, 2007

Près de 90 000 jeunes par an sortent sans diplôme de l’enseignement supérieur. Cet ouvrage présente une synthèse des travaux consacrés à ce problème. Après une présentation méthodologique, une première étude montre en quoi l’enseignement supérieur de masse peut être propice à l’abandon. La deuxième, plus (...) Lire la suite...


Main Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat, Alexis Spire, "Is There a European Working Class? Social Domination and National Relegations in Europe”, Social Sciences, Issue n°11, pp. 96-113 Find it here
  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat, Alexis Spire, "Working conditions as a marker of inequalities between socio-professional groups in Europe", Revue européenne des sciences sociales, vol. 57-2, n° 2, 2019, pp. 163-190 - English Abstract

Cédric Hugrée, Laure de Verdalle, « The Words to Say It (Or Not). Formulating Hierarchies and Social Differences », L’Année sociologique, n°69-2, 2019, pp. 471-502 - English Abstract

  • Séverine Chauvel, Cédric Hugrée, Introduction au dossier « Higher Education: The art and ways to select. Introduction », Sociologie, n°2 Vol. 10, 2019, English Abstract
  • Yaël Brinbaum, Cédric Hugrée, Tristan Poullaouec, "50% to the bachelor’s degree... but how? Young people from working class families at university in France ", Economics and statistics, n°499, 2018, pp. 81-106 - English version and Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat, Alexis Spire, « Social and national determinants of cultural inequalities in Europe - Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, vol. 219, no. 4, 2017, pp. 98-115 English Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, "The Social Sciences and Social Mobility. The Stakes of a Statistical Imbalance in Relation to Intergenerational Social Mobility", Politix, n°114, 2016/2, p. 47-72- English Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, ““Good” Students? How Does One Land a University Degree?”, Regards croisés sur l’économie, 2015, n°16, pp. 51-68 - English Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat, Alexis Spire, « The Distinctive Features of Public Sector in Europe : A Comparative Study Based on the Social Morphology of Wage Earners », Comparative Sociology, n°14-2, 2015, pp. 252-273- English version and Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat, Alexis Spire, “Differences Between Public and Private Sectors Employees Following the Managerial Turn in European States”, Revue Française de Sociologie, 2015, 56-1, pp. 47-73 - English version and Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, Laure de Verdalle, "The Criticality of Status. “Civil Servants” and “Self-Employed” as Categorisations of the Social World", Sociologie du travail, 2015, 57-2, pp. 200-229 - English Abstract
  • Sibylle Gollac, Cédric Hugrée, “Being 30 Years Old in Public Sector in 1982 and in 2002”, Revue Française d’administration publique, 2015, n°152, pp. 23-43 English Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, “Towards New Uses of Competitive Examinations for Public Employment?” Travail et emploi, 2011, n° 127, - pp. 67-82 - English Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, "Teaching or Nothing?" Academic Routes, Social Aspirations, and Employability of Graduates from the Lower Middle Class , Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, n°183, 2010 - pp. 72-85 - English Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, “The Working Classes and University: a Bachelor Degree... Then What?”, Revue Française de Pédagogie, n°167, 2009 - pp. 47-58 - English Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée and Abigaïl Kern, “Observing Telephone Surveyors: The Paradoxes of the Rationalization of Statistical Production”, Genèses, n°72, 2008 - pp.102-118 - English Abstract

Others articles

  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat, Alexis Spire, « Workers Are on the Frontline of a Second Wave of COVID-19 », Jacobin, 06.13.2020 - article
  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat, Alexis Spire, « Les plombiers polonais et français, des frères ennemis ? Panorama des classes sociales en Europe », Mouvements, vol. 100, n° 4, 2019, p. 82-88 - résumé
  • Simon Duteil, Cédric Hugrée, Etienne Penissat, Zélia Molinari, « Education dans le 93, ou la politique de la corde coupée », Libération, 15/04/2019 - article
  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat, Alexis Spire, « Des frontières de classes transnationales ? », Savoir/Agir, 2019/2 (N° 48), p. 53-63- résumé
  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat, Alexis Spire, « La France au miroir de l’Europe. Métamorphoses des classes populaires », Le Monde Diplomatique, Mai 2017 - article

Books Chapters




Presentations (in english)
  • Yaël Brinbaum, Cédric Hugrée, Tristan Poullaouec, "Taking and passing a Bachelor Degree. Working-Class French Students in the French University", 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association, "(Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities", Athens, Août 2017 - English Abstract
  • Cédric Hugrée, Étienne Penissat et Alexis Spire, "Are there still differences between public and private sector in Europe?" ECSR Conference, Tillburg University, 14-16 octobre 2013



Dissertation and Academic Distinction


  • The Great Escape. Schooling and carrer paths of French university graduate students from a working-class background (1970-2010)
    - Directed by : Stéphane Beaud (CMH-ETT/École Normale Supérieure)
    - The goal of this thesis is to analyze the schooling and career paths of French university graduate students from a working-class background. The first part deals with the emergence, at the end of the 1960s, of the specific issue of studentship, which gradually focuses on their integration into the workplace. Only preoccupied with the immediately, highly profitable training courses, most observers appear to be particularly unaware of the career paths followed by a whole generation of students —
    the “children of school democratisation”, as Stéphane Beaud calls them. The aim of the second part is to confront this notion with statistical data concerning educational paths, as well as with an ethnographic survey of 22 students who have graduated from the Universities of Nantes and Le Mans from the early 2000’s onwards. That second part brings to light a “higher” social and educational fringe among that very generation of students: the group of those whose scholarships, objectively and subjectively, appear to be honourable. Based on this ethnographic survey, and on various longitudinal data regarding the question of integration into the workplace, the third part then proceeds to examine the experiences of these students in their first jobs. Thus appear the specific issues at stake for working-class students: that is, how to convert an honourable educational path into reasonable perspectives of upward social mobility. Finally, the French phrase “échappée belle” reveals its double layer of meanings: a beautiful breakaway, yet with the feeling of a narrow escape.

Academic Distinction

Laureate of the 2010 Price of the French Student Life Observatory -Website