39 years old, married, 2 children


Born at Paris xvie on november 2nd 1967

27, rue Saint-Guillaume – 75007 Paris

Domicile :

Tel. lab. : + 33

7, rue Nicolas Houel – 75005 Paris

Couriel : chauvel@sciences-po.fr


Tel. dom. : + 33

Site : http://louis.chauvel.free.fr



1-           Full Professor of sociology at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris since fev 2005. Before : Adjunct Professor at Geneva University (Switzerland) 2004-2005 ; Lecturer 1998-2005 at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris

2-           18 Master’s dissertations supervised and 3 PhD candidates under supervision

3-           Member of the University Institute of France (IUF) since 2003

4-           Research fellow at the Observatoire Sociologique du Changement (OSC – Observatory of Social Change) since 1994 and Research fellow at the Observatoire Français des Conjonctures économiques (French Observatory of Economic Conjunctures)

5-           August 2000 – October 2000 Invited Fellow at UC Berkeley Dep of Sociology

Education, grades and competitions        


Masters of the ENSAE, National School of Statistics &  Economic Administration


Masters of research in Social Sciences EHESS – ENS (Paris) 


PhD in sociology University of Lille.
Très honorable avec félicitations du jury à l’unanimité (Christian Baudelot, Alexis Ferrand, Michel Forsé (dir.), Yves Grafmeyer, François Héran)


Selected at the CNRS competition, dismissing for a position as Lecturer at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris


Habilitation – Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris Jury : Christian Baudelot, Alain Chenu (coord.), Jean-Paul Fitoussi, Catherine Marry, Dominique Merllié, Serge Paugam (présid.)


·        Member of ISA Research Committee on Social Stratification RC28 and on Classes RC47

·        Treasurer of the French sociological association (AFS) (2002-2006).

·        Responsible of the research network « Classes, inequalities, fragmentations » of the AFS

·        General Secretary of the European Sociological Association (2005-…)

·        Member of the Executive Committee of International Sociological Association (2006-…)


English - fluent; Italian – read; Spanish - read and spoken; Notions of Hungarian, German and Chinese; ancient Greek.

Books :

Chauvel L., 1998f, Le destin des générations, structure sociale et cohortes en France au XXe siècle, PUF, Paris. (The Destiny of generations : social structure and cohorts in the 20th century France). Second edition in 2002 with a new preface.

Chauvel L., 2006g, Les classes moyennes à la dérive, Seuil, Paris. (Drifting Middle Classes).

Castel R., Chauvel L., et al. 2007a, Les mutations de la société française, La Découverte, Paris.

82 academic papers, 32 in peer-reviewed publications, Main papers (selection) :

[1].        Chauvel L., 1993a, « Valeurs dans la Communauté européenne : l'érosion des extrémismes », Revue de l'OFCE, n°43, pp. 93-134. (Social values un the European community: the erosion of extremism).

[2].        Chauvel L., 1995e, « Inégalités singulières et plurielles : l’évolution de la courbe de répartition des revenus », Revue de l'OFCE, n°55, pp. 211-240. (Singular and plural inequalities: the evolution of the income distribution curve)

[3].        Chauvel L., 1997e, « L’uniformisation du taux de suicide masculin selon l’âge : effet de génération ou recomposition du cycle de vie ?  », Revue française de sociologie, XXXVIII-4, pp. 681-734. (The spreading suicide rate across age groups: cohort effect or recomposition of life cycle?)

[4].        Chauvel L., 1998e, « Niveau d’éducation en Europe : le rattrapage français », in INSEE, France, portrait social 1998-1999, INSEE, Paris, pp. 109-121. (Education in Europe: France is catching-up)

[5].        Chauvel L., 1999a, « Du pain et des vacances : la consommation des catégories socioprofessionnelles s’homogénéise-t-elle (encore) ? », Revue française de sociologie, LX, pp.79-96. (Bread and holidays: is there and homogenization of consumption between occupational groups)

[6].        Chauvel L., 2001a, « Un nouvel âge de la société américaine ? Dynamiques et perspectives de la structure sociale aux Etats-Unis (1950-2000) », Revue de l’OFCE, n°76, pp.7-51. (A new age American society? Dynamics and perspectives of the American social structure 1950-2000)

[7].        Chauvel L., 2002a, « Educational Inequalities: Distribution of Knowledge, Social Origins and Social Outcomes », in Y. Lemel and H.H. Noll. (dir.), Changing Structures of Inequality: A Comparative Perspective, Montreal, McGill, pp.219-249.

[8].        Chauvel L., 2004b, « A New French Society?: The Debate on Social Change », in F. Royall (dir.), Contemporary Cultures and Societies of the French-speaking World: an Interdisciplinary Assessment, Ed. Peter Lang pp. 31-52.

[9].        Chauvel L., 2005, « L’école et la déstabilisation des classes moyennes », Éducation et Sociétés, 2004/2, n°14, pp.101-118. (The school system and the destabilization of the middle classes)

[10].    Chauvel L., 2005, « Social Generations, Life Chances and Welfare Regime Sustainability », in Peter A. Hall The Politics of Change in France, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire.

[11].    Chauvel L., 2006, « Are social classes really dead? A French paradox in class dynamics », in G. Therborn (dir.), Inequalities of the World, Ed. Verso, London.


Chauvel, Louis, 1998 [ 2 E éd. 2002 ]

The destiny of the generations: social structure and cohorts in twentieth century France

Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. HN440.I58 C53 1998

Short book summary:

"The cohorts life chances and the destiny of generations are marked by the fortunes of birth. Two world wars and the major economic crisis of the thirties, thirty years of a social Golden Age, a deceleration for three decades, such has been the unequally divided legacy of social history. The generations born before 1920 underwent a difficult fate. The following ones born until 1950, knew the “Thirty glorious years” (1945-1975) at the time of their youth, met an unexpectedly propitious collective destiny: multiplication of the diplomas without grade inflation, strong upward social mobility, skyrocketing increase of wages, better social protection, etc. With the crisis, this dynamics ceases for the following cohorts, which came too late in the adult life.

First systematic analysis of the social structure mobilizing birth cohorts and generational cleavages, this book underlines the existence of a fracture that will develop during the beginning of twenty-first century. This question goes with heavy political issues, because it interacts with the transformation of social classes and the future of Welfare state. To deal with these risks, building a real policy of generations engaging the responsibility for all is necessary.y"

The book is in all the very good bookshops and on the Web .


For a complete summary:


The object of this work is to go over the traditional view of the upheavals of the social structure founded on average social tendencies, by showing that the massive social changes of the twentieth century relate less to society as a whole than to certain cohorts in particular. The central problem is the evaluation of the "law of generational progress " according to which the later generations would benefit mechanically of more resources than the elder ones. Thus, the history is made of generational fluctuations of economic and social progress, but also of the consequences of these changes, such as consumption, health, the access to the media, the participation and the political representation.

The analysis shows that there are indeed "sacrificed generations", for example that of 1894 which knew the two world wars. In the same way, today, the economic deceleration is not distributed uniformly on all the population: the generations born after 1950 face a degradation of their situation compared to their elder, in terms of income, social value of the diploma, in terms of prospect for ascending mobility. All these dimensions are questioned through strong and diverse empirical material --  FQP (professional Formation-qualification) of 1914-1970-1977 and Emploi (1982-2000) of INSEE, as well as many statistical sources, demographic, economic, political and social, that are consulted systematically as the files of micro-data were available.

This work proposes to answer these questions in three stages. The first part aims at highlighting a certain number of facts concerning the social structure and its changes. The issue is to measure the impact of the fluctuations of the rate of the growth (from the "Thirty glorious" 1945-1975 to the "slowed down Growth" 1975-today) on the various generations. Thus, the numerical expansion of the service class (executives and intermediate professions) shows a brutal growth of the access to these categories for the generations born in the years 1940 (generations entered the world of work at the end of the Thirty glorious years) compared to the preceding ones. In a more general way, the social structure becomes deformed less with time than at the rate/rhythm of the replacement of the generations which follow one another in the social structure. Thus, the cohorts could be included/understood not like an organized social group, but like a concrete social time: the grain of the social sand glass.

The second part is interested in the plausible explanations this process. It studies the respective variations of the education system and the economic situation, in particular of the offer of employment addressed to young people, two tendencies that produces favourable or unfavourable effects for generation which knows the transition from school to stable employment. The main part of the prospects for life for a generation is given between the age of 25 and 30 years, and thus will influence the life chances in the world of production even in late adulthood.

The third part considers the consequences of this generational dynamics of social change. The evolution of the chances of access to the various social categories by cohorts goes with cohort modifications in the distribution of income. For the last 50 years, the relative income relating to juniors and seniors have never been fixed: much better for the young in the sixties and seventies, much lower after. The evolutions of lifestyles faced great changes also, for example in terms of leisure, transport, of housing, in particular. Mortality by generation, in particular with regard to the suicide, knew similarly surprising evolutions, with a doubling between 1970 and 1995 of the risk of suicide of twenty and thirty somethings, and a reduction of a third for people at age of around sixty years old. Lastly, the trajectories of social mobility were the subject of a systematic analysis, to highlight the decline in the perspectives of generation born in 1975, which are on average the children of the generation of the baby-boom born in 1945.

The conclusion reconsiders the overall logic which results from the synthesis from the facts, process and varied results highlighted. The central empirical result is that the variations of the rate of the growth ("Thirty glorious "1945-1975 versus" slowed down Growth "1975- today) gave place to a specific distribution of the resources between the various generations. Then the question is to explain this new specific division, and to wonder why and how other forms of division have not occurred. Especially, in prospective terms, these evolutions are problematic, in particular concerning the policy and the financing of retirement, health, but also housing, education, for example. With no political debate on the sense of these evolutions with the presence of all generations, these distortions will continue to develop.


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