Violaine Roussel *English*

File 040P8

[Page en français]


Professor of Sociology at the University of Paris 8 (2009-present)





2015-16 & 2005-09: Co-Chair of the Department of Political Science, University of Paris VIII

2009-2013: Academic responsibility for the Master in Political Science, University of Paris VIII

2005-2009: Academic responsibility for undergraduate program (Licence) in Political Science, University of Paris VIII

Designing and delivering courses, for Bachelor and Master students: Sociology of the State, Sociology of arts and culture, General political sociology, Public policies, Methodology


Research fellow, Center Theories of Politics (Laboratoire Théories du Politique, LabToP), CNRS-CRESPPA, University Paris VIII & University Paris West; Co-director of LabToP 2013-2016

Associated fellow, Center for Social Sciences of Politics (Institut des sciences sociales du politique), CNRS

Contact: Université Paris 8 – Département de science politique

2 rue de la Liberté – 93526 Saint Denis Cedex – France


Current research topics

  • The production of popular culture; film and TV industries
    • Digital media and cultural industries
    • Globalization and transnational circulations
    • Brokers and middlemen in entertainment industries
  • Arts and politics; Occupations and politics
  • Comparative approaches; France / USA


International co-operation and appointments

Currently: Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science, USC (University of Southern California)

2016-2018: International Project for Scientific Cooperation: “Transnational Hollywood. French-American Relations and Circulations in the Screen Media Industries.” Team co-leaders: Violaine Roussel (CRESPPA-CNRS) and Michael Curtin (University of California Santa Barbara).

2013-2015: Marie Curie Fellow (IOF) at the CRESPPA-CNRS (Centre de recherches sociologiques et politiques de Paris). Project on Talent Agents in the American Film Industry, hosted by the Carsey-Wolf Center (University of California, Santa Barbara). In partnership with USC (University of Southern California).

Visiting Scholar at USC (University of Southern California), Department of Political Science, March-June 2012 and Feb-April 2013

Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Sociology (October 2004-February 2005; 2006-2008; January and October 2009; March-April and September-October 2010)

Visiting Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara for the collaborative research project: “The Political Mobilizations of Artists in France and in the US”, with Richard Flacks, UCSB; William Roy and Laura Robinson, UCLA (October 2005-December 2005)

Visiting Scholar at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (January 2006-February 2006)


Grants and honors

2017-2018: Recipient of a CNRS fellowship (French National Agency for Scientific Research): Full-time research position for the setting-up of a French-American network on “The Transformation of Entertainment in the Digital Era” (TREND).

2013: Scientific Excellence Award (Prime d’excellence scientifique), France.

2012-2014: Member of the international research program « Politics of the subject: (un)happiness in civilization” (coordinated by Prof. Rodrigo Baño and Roberto Aceituno, LAPSOS, University of Chile/in association with LabTop-University of Paris 8 and CESAMES-INSERM, Paris): project on “Fulfilling somebody else’s dream: American talent agents and the ‘Hollywood dream.’”

2010-2012: Member of the research program “Sociology of cultural intermediaries” (IMPACT) funded by the National Agency for Research (ANR), coordinated by Laurent Jeanpierre (University Paris VIII).

2006-2008: Full time research fellowship of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), at the Research Center for Social Sciences of Politics (Institut des sciences sociales du politique), funded by the CNRS and the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan

2008: Research Grant on “Symbolic Struggles in the Public Sphere”, with Frédéric Zalewski (ISP/University of Paris X).

2007: Research Grant on “The relationships between art and politics: European dimension and new research questions”, with Sandrine Lefranc (ISP/University of Paris X).

October 2004-February 2005: Fulbright Research Grant (host institution: UCLA, Department of sociology, LeRoy Neiman Center).



Books and Edition of a Special Issue


Penser les frontières sociales. Engagements et professions dans les institutions et la culture (ed.), with Lilian Mathieu, Presses Universitaires de Lyon [Rethinking Social Boundaries] – accepted and scheduled for publication (2018)





New Book:  2017, Representing Talent. Hollywood Agents and the Making of Movies (University of Chicago Press)









2016, How To Do Politics With Art (ed.), with Anurima Banerji, Routledge.







Invisible Hand small



April 2015, Brokerage and Production in the American and French Entertainment Industries: Invisible Hands in Cultural Markets (ed.), with Denise Bielby, Lexington Books.









April 2015, ed. « Des usages politiques de la forme procès », Droit et Société, [Political Uses of Trials].






2011, Art versus War. Les artistes contre la guerre en Irak, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po.

2010, Voicing Dissent. American Artists and the War on Iraq, with B. Lechaux, Foreword by Michele Lamont. London-NY, Routledge, 304 p.

2010, Les artistes et la politique. Terrains franco-américains, edited volume, Paris, Presses universitaires de Vincennes.

Translated into English as a special issue: “Arts and Politics. A French-American Perspective”, International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, vol. 23, 2-3, September 2010.

2009, « Malaise dans la représentation », Sociétés contemporaines, n. 74 [Representation and Its Discontents].

2002, Affaires de juges. Les magistrats dans les scandales politiques en France, Paris, Ed. La Découverte, 310 p.


Articles in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters in English

Roussel V. Forthcoming in 2018, “The Invention of Digital Agenting and the Transformation of Entertainment.” In Mann Denise (ed.), Content Wars: Pipelines and Platforms.

Roussel V. 2016, “How Hollywood Agents Do Politics.” In Roussel V. and Banerji A. eds.. How to Do Politics with Art, London/NY, Routledge, 166-191.

Roussel V. and Banerji A. 2016, “Introduction.” In How to Do Politics with Art, London/NY, Routledge, 1-20.

2016. “Talent Agenting in the Age of Conglomerates.” In Curtin (M.), Sanson (K.) eds, Precarious Creativity, Oakland: UC Press, pp. 86-100.

2015. With Denise Bielby, “Cultural Brokerage in the French and American Film and Television Industries,” In Roussel (V.) and Bielby (D.) eds., Invisible Hands in Cultural Markets: Brokerage and Production in the American and French Entertainment Industries, NY: Lexington Books.

2015, “’It’s not the network, it’s the relationship.’ The Relational Work of Hollywood Talent Agents.” In Roussel (V.) and Bielby (D.) eds., Invisible Hands in Cultural Markets: Brokerage and Production in the American and French Entertainment Industries, NY: Lexington Books.

2013, “Celebrities and Politics: Representation Struggles in Public Arenas,” Research in Political Sociology, 21: 127-148.

2010, “Introduction,” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 23 (2-3): 63-68.

2010, “Making a Political Movie That Does Not Take a Political Stand: Specialization and Depoliticization in American Cinema”, International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 23 (2-3): 137-155.

2010, “For a Sociology of Committed Professionals”, Sociologie du Travail, special issue in English, Vol. 52, Supplement 1, pp. 64-82.

2007, “Occupational Logics and Political Commitment. American Artists against the Iraq War”, International Political Sociology, Volume 1, n°4, pp. 373-390.

2003, “New Moralities of Risk and Political Responsibilities”, in Ericson (R.V.), ed., Risk and Morality, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, pp. 117-144.

2002, “Changing Definitions of Risk and Responsibility in French Political Scandals”, Journal of Law and Society, Volume 29, n° 3, pp. 461-486.

Articles and chapters in French (selection)

« Comment le monde vacille ou tient ? Liaisons et ruptures intersectorielles », avec Assia Boutaleb, in Brigitte Gaïti et Johanna Siméant (dir.), La consistance des crises, PUR, 2018, pp. 113-130.

« Une économie des émotions. Le travail de relation des agents artistiques à Hollywood », Nouvelle revue du travail, n.6, 2015 [An Economy of Emotions. The Relationship Work of Hollywood Talent Agents]

“Les agents artistiques d’Hollywood : des intermédiaires de marché ?” In Laurent Jeanpierre and Olivier Roueff (eds). La culture et ses intermédiaires. Dans les arts, le numérique et les industries créatives, Paris: Editions des Archives Contemporaines, 2014: 97-112. [Hollywood Talent Agents: Market Intermediaries?]

« Rationalisation professionnelle versus politisation ? Rapports aux mobilisations dans les espaces artistiques contemporains aux Etats-Unis », OPUS-Sociologie de l’art, 2011, 16: 17-57. [Professional rationalization vs. politicization? Mobilizing in contemporary artistic spheres in the US]

« ‘Faire un film politique qui ne prend pas de position politique’ : spécialisation et dépolitisation dans l’espace du cinéma américain », in V. Roussel (ed.), Les artistes et la politique. Terrains franco-américains, Paris, PUV, 2010. [Making a political film without taking a political stance: specialization and de-politicization in the American film industry]

« Parler au nom de publics. Sociologie des prétentions à représenter de célébrités américaines dans le contexte de la guerre en Irak », in « Malaise dans la représentation » (ed. by V. Roussel), Sociétés contemporaines, 74, June 2009, pp.49-71. [Speaking in the name of audiences. Sociology of the claim to represent voiced by American celebrities in the context of the war on Iraq]

« Les ‘victimes’ : label ou groupe mobilisé ? Eléments de discussion des effets sociaux de la catégorisation », in S. Lefranc & L. Mathieu (eds.), Mobilisations de victimes, PUR, 2009. [The ‘victims’: label or mobilized group? A discussion of social effects of categorizations]

« Pour une sociologie des professionnels engagés. Mondes de l’art et militantisme contre la guerre en Irak aux Etats-Unis », Sociologie du travail vol. 51, n°1, 2009, pp. 25-45. [For a sociology of engaged professionals. Worlds of art and activism against the Iraq War in the US]

« Les femmes, l’art et la guerre en Irak : Consolidation et subversion des stéréotypes de genre », Terrains et travaux, n°13, 2008, pp.73-98. [Women, the art and the war in Iraq. Consolidation and subversion of gender stereotypes]

« Scandales et mutations de la responsabilité politique : redéfinitions de la responsabilité des hommes politiques dans le cadre des affaires de santé et de sécurité publiques », Revue française de science politique, 58(6), 2008, pp.953-983. [Scandals and shifts in political responsibility. Redefinitions of the responsibility of politicians in public health and security scandals]

« Les changements d’ethos des magistrats », in J. Commaille & M. Kaluszynski (eds.), La fonction politique de la justice, Paris, La Découverte, 2007. [Changes in judges’ ethos]

« Les artistes américains contre la guerre en Irak », in J. Balasinski & L. Mathieu (eds), Art et contestation sociale, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2006. [American artists against the Iraq War]

« Reproduction, changement et crise chez Pierre Bourdieu », in Pierre Bourdieu. Les champs de la critique, Paris, Bibliothèque Centre Pompidou, 2004. [Reproduction, change and crisis in P. Bourdieu’s work]

« Le droit et ses formes. Eléments de discussion de la sociologie du droit de Pierre Bourdieu », Droit et société, n°56-57, 2004, pp.41-56. [Law and its forms. A discussion of P. Bourdieu’s sociology of Law]

« L’indépendance de la magistrature en France : l’émergence d’une notion à contenu variable », Revue suisse de science politique/Swiss Review of Political Science, fall 2003, vol. 9 n°3, pp.113-153.[The independence of the judiciary in France]

Conference papers (selection)

2014: “How Hollywood Agents Do Politics,” Annual Workshop of the “How Art Does Politics” Network, UCLA, Los Angeles, May 12-13.

2014: “Ethnography of relationships and Ethnographic Relationships: the Relational Work of Hollywood Talent Agents,” International Conference Series on “Ethnography in Comparative Perspective,” USC, Los Angeles, February 14.

2014: “Trust and Dealmaking in the Practice of Hollywood Talent Agents,” Symposium on ”Trust and Action” University Paris 8 & University Paris 1-Sorbonne, Paris, January 6-8.

2014: “How Hollywood Talent Agents Shape Movies and Artistic Careers: The Effect of Agents’ Self-Concepts on Their Professional Practices,” UCSB, Department of Sociology’s seminar series, December 4.

2013: « La sociologie politique du droit : un catalyseur d’innovations analytiques » [The political sociology of law: a catalyst for analytical innovation], Symposium « Sociologie politique du droit : Quels acquis ? Quelles perspectives ?, » Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, September 9-10.

2013: « Hollywood face à la guerre en Irak : quand les célébrités se mêlent de politique » [Hollywood and the Iraq War: When celebrities meddle in political affairs], Symposium « Les arts et la guerre, » Institut de France, Paris, June 13-14.

2013: « S’engager dans des relations : ethnographie du travail des agents artistiques à Hollywood » [Committing in relationships: an ethnography of Hollywood talent agents at work], Symposium “Ethnography of commitments,” Ecole Normale Supérieure, Campus Jourdan, May 24.

2012, “The Professional Self-Concept of Talent Agents in the American Film Industry: between Art and Commerce,” European Sociological Association, Network Sociology of the Arts, Annual Meeting, Vienna, Austria, September 5-8.

2012, « Appuis organisationnels, coproduction des projets et carrières encastrées : les logiques complexes d’intervention des agents dans l’espace du cinéma américain » [Organizational support, co-produced projects and embedded careers: the professional logics of agents in American cinema], Symposium on Project Oriented Careers, University UVSQ, France, January 6.

2011, “Les modes de définition professionnelle des agents artistiques dans le monde du cinéma américain : entre commerce et creation” [Professional modes of definition of talent agents in the American film industry: between commerce and creation], WG Sociology of professions, French Sociological Association, Annual Meeting, Grenoble, July.

2010, “Commercial Art vs. Civic Action? Logics of “the market” and forms of politicization in the American film industry”, International workshop « How Art Does Politics », UCLA, Los Angeles, September 20-21.

2009, Conference at the Comparative Analysis Seminar, coordinated by Rogers Brubaker, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), October 15.

2009, “Droit et violence dans les mobilisations anti-guerre américaines” [Law and violence in anti-war mobilizations in the US], WG Sociology of Law, Annual Meeting of the French Sociological Association (AFS), Paris, April.

2008, “Professional rationalization and politicization: the artists against the Iraq War”, International Sociological Association Forum, WG 37, session ‘Rationalization and resistance in the arts’, Barcelona (Spain), September.

2007, “La mobilisation de la notoriété artistique contre la guerre en Irak : logiques artistiques, médiatiques et politiques dans les ‘arènes d’intervention publique’” [Mobilizing one’s fame against the Irak War: artistic, political and media logics in ‘arenas of public intervention’] , WG on Media, Annual Meeting of the French Political Science Association (AFSP), Toulouse (France), September.

2006, “Antiwar Artists in the US. Women in the Protest against the Iraq War”, Annual Meeting, College Art Association, Boston, February.

2006, “Modes of Commitment of Anti-war Artists and Structural Relations between Arts and Politics”, Conference: “Active Citizenship and Politically Committed Art”, California Institute for the Arts, Santa Clarita, California, October.

2005, “Social Boundaries: Art and Politics”, Presentation for the working group on “social boundaries”, University of California Los Angeles, Department of sociology, January.

2005, “Art, Fame and Political Activism: American Artists against the Iraq war”, Conferences at the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Southern California, November.

2004, “Les artistes américains contre la guerre en Irak” [American artists against the Irak War], Conference Art et contestation sociale, LASP-Université Paris X-Nanterre, June 25.

2004, “Are French Magistrates Involuntary Cause Lawyers?”, Annual meeting of the Law & Society Association, Session: “Lawyers and Social Movements”, Chicago, May.

2002, “Explaining Judicial Action in French Political Scandals” International Sociological Association, Working Group for Comparative Study of Legal Professions, Session “Judiciary,” La Baume les Aix, July.

2001, “Political Management of Risks and Criminalization of Political Behaviors: The French Case”, International conference on “Risk and Morality”, University of British Columbia (Green College), Vancouver, Canada, May.

2001, “New Definitions of Risk and Responsibility in French Political Scandals”, Annual meeting of the Law & Society Association, Session: “The Politics of Crime, Risks and Justice”, Budapest, July.

Organization of conferences (selection):

2017, Dec. 8: “Transnational Hollywood,” held at USC, an international event cosponsored by UC Santa Barbara and the French National Agency for Scientific Research (CNRS).

2016, September 14, International workshop “Transnational Hollywood: French-American Relations and Circulations in the Screen Media Industries,” CRESPPA-CNRS, Paris.

2015, June 1st: International Symposium “Invisible Hands of Popular Culture,” co-organized with Audrey Mariette, CRESPPA-CNRS, Paris.

2014-2015: Seminar series on “Digital Practices,” co-organized with Ann Crigler, USC (October 2014; January 2015; March 2015).

2014, May 12-13: Symposium “How Art Does Politics II,” a USC-UCLA event co-organized with Steven Ross and William Roy.

2014, March 7: Workshop “Agent of Change: Talent Agencies in the Transformation of the Film Industry” held at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, co-organized with Michael Renov (USC).

2013-2014: Conference Series on “Ethnography in Comparative Perspective,” co-organized with Ann Crigler (USC Political Science), in the context of the MOU between Univ. Paris VIII and USC (November 15 2013, February 14 and April 11, 2014).

2013 November 20-22, Symposium on “Immersion: representations, practices and experiences of immersion in social sciences and journalism”, IEP de Rennes, France. (member of the organization committee)

2013, Sept. 3-6: Workshop on “The ‘trial’ as a form: uses and subversion strategies”, International Congress: Sociology of Law and Political Action, International Sociological Association, Toulouse, France (co-organized with L. Blévis & D. Puccio Den).

2013, Feb. 7-8: International Conference “Politics in Art Forms” / UCLA (Royce Hall) & USC (School of Cinematic Arts), Los Angeles. Co-organized with William Roy, Anurima Banerji & Steven Ross.

2012: International Conference “Ethics and Practices of Responsibility”, University of Paris 8, November 19-20, 2012.

2012: International conference on Intermediaries, Brokers, Gatekeepers and Prescribers: Key Actors of Artistic Creation, Strasbourg, France, June 20-22, co-organized with L. Jeanpierre & al.

2011, International Conference: « Global Justice », University of Southern California, Los Angeles, April 7-8 (co-organized with Ann Crigler and Lyn Boyd Judson).

2011, Symposium, EHESS, « Law, Justice, Violence / Droit, justice, violence », Inter-university Research Group (GIL, ISP/GSPM/LabToP), Paris, January 20.

2010, International workshop: « How Art Does Politics », UCLA, Los Angeles, September 20-21 (co-organized with William Roy).

2010, April 9, Symposium, Maison Suger-CNRS, Paris: « Professional Norms and Legitimate Violence » co-organized with Cédric Moreau de Bellaing (ENS) and Delphine Moreau (EHESS).

2009, International Conference, University Paris Ouest-Nanterre, « Rethinking Social Boundaries / Comment penser les frontières sociales ? », Institut des sciences sociales du politique, June 15 (co-organized with Claire de Galembert).

2009, Symposium, University Paris VIII, « Art and Commitment / Arts et Engagement », Laboratoire Théories du Politique, June 8 (co-organized with Christine Cadot).

2009, Symposium, University Paris VIII: « Symbolic Struggles in the Public Sphere / Les luttes symboliques dans l’espace public », April.

2008, International conference, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris Nord: « The Political Voice of Artists / La parole politique des artistes », September.

2007, International conference, University Paris X-Nanterre: « Arts and Politics: a French-American Perspective / Arts et politique : Perspectives franco-américaines », November.


Habilitation in sociology [A post-PhD degree necessary to supervise doctoral researches in Sociology]: Le « tableau inachevé » : éléments de discussion de l’articulation entre sociologie de l’action et modélisation des structures sociales. [The incomplete Picture: Elements of discussion of the articulation between the sociology of action and the conceptualization of social structures] 2007, University of Paris VIII, France.

Committee members: Michèle Lamont (Harvard University), Jacques Commaille (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan), Nicolas Dodier (EHESS), Didier Vrancken (University of Liège, Belgium); Johanna Siméant (University of Paris I-Sorbonne),  Eleni Varikas (University of Paris VIII).

PhD in political science: Les magistrats dans les scandales politiques en France (1991-1997) [The judiciary in political scandals in France] 1999, University of Paris X-Nanterre. With highest honors [félicitations du jury à l’unaminité, proposition prix de thèse, proposition pour publication].


Past employment history

Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Paris VIII (1999-2009)

Co-chair of the Department of Political Science, University of Paris VIII (2005-2006; 2008-2009)

Assistant in Political Science at the University of Paris X (1994-1999)