Histoire Croisée

A Relational Process-based Approach


  • Bénédicte Zimmermann Professor of Sociology, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris




Globalization makes understanding worldmaking processes a crucial issue. During the Cold War the social sciences mainly addressed this issue through comparative studies which mirrored the logic of the world-historical confrontation. In this respect 1989 fostered not only a political turn but an epistemological one. The new political situation fueled the development of approaches dedicated to the study of relations and interdependencies between different parts of the world.

Like entangled, shared or connected histories, Histoire croisée takes a cross-border approach.Their common feature is shifting the analysis from comparative approaches centered on territorial entities to the relationships that flow through and the interactions which constitute them, as well as moving away from approaches solely focused on state relationships. Dedicated to the study of intersecting processes in various settings, Histoire croisée is driven by an empirical, methodological and epistemological shift that involves redefining the object of research.


Author Biography

Bénédicte Zimmermann, Professor of Sociology, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris

Bénédicte Zimmermann is professor of sociology at the École des hautes études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and permanent fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Berlin. Her main research interests are in the changing role of work in European societies and the challenges of multi-level and multi-sited analysis. Together with Michael Werner, she published ‘Beyond Comparison: Histoire croisée and the Challenge of Reflexivity’, History and Theory 45, no. 1 (2006).


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