Women of the Land
  • Interview with Rose-Marie Lagrave — Directrice d'études — EHESS
Delphine Naudier — Chargée de recherche — CNRS (CRESPPA)
Rose-Marie Lagrave, who became a sociologist through a succession of bifurcations, conceives this discipline as a tool for unveiling, for dismantling pretense, for a reflexive critique of the world as it is and for the naturalization of social facts. “Hospitalité à ce qu’il advient”, Jacques Derrida would say, sociology also makes those whom it objectifies suffer. It was the farmer-writers she worked on at the beginning of her career which made her understand. Having become a feminist, daring to choose her objects of research after many years spent contributing to large collective surveys at the Center for Rural Sociology of the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE), she is one of the pioneers of research in the history of women and gender studies. Devoted to marginal objects but “naturalized” – women to their sex, farmers to nature, communists to History – she returns here on her career, her research, her contribution and her attachment to mentoring and exchanges with the youngest of the academic field.
On life, one research itinerary.
Interview published on 04-13-2018
Last modified on 05-03-2023
Original language: English Lire la version French
  • Biography
  • Bibliography of Rose-Marie Lagrave
  • Interview’s bibliography

Student in a boarding school for girls in Caen, then in propaedeutics at the Sorbonne, Rose-Marie Lagrave met teachers attached to the sharing of knowledge and the social climbing of children from lower classes. Michelle Perrot, Mona Ozouf, Eliane Deschamps, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Vladimir Jankelevitch, Raymond Aron, Georges Gurvitch, who directs her towards sociology, still little institutionalized. Working in a jewelery factory, she passes the four certificates that make her sociologist, then realizes a master's degree, under the direction of Henri Desroche, on a worker's cooperative of electrical wires. She then wrote a thesis under the direction of Placide Rambaud, on the literary representations of farmer-writers. She has been an independent contractor since 1972 at the Center for Rural Sociology, where she became a full member as head of works in 1976. She then took part in the major collective surveys conducted for the CORDES on groups of producers, GAEC... Having become a feminist and participating in Pierre Bourdieu's seminar, she then allowed herself to choose her research objects: women farmers, agrarian communism in Eastern Europe... Pioneer of gender studies, she participated in the women's history group at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), then directed a group of researchers in the framework of the action thématique programmée “Women, Feminism and Research”. Elected directrice d'études in 1993, she created five research training workshops in social sciences in Central European countries, and founded the specialty “Gender, Politics, Sexuality” in the framework of the Master of Sociology of the EHESS. She has also taught in several Brazilian universities, at the National University of Bogotá, at universities in Central Europe and in the Maghreb, in Vietnam and in China.

Fragments du communisme en Europe centrale, Paris, EHESS, 2015.

(dir.), Les “petites Russie” des campagnes françaises, Études Rurales, n° 171172, juillet/décembre, 2004.

Voyage au pays d'une utopie déchue, Paris, PUF, 1998.

Celles de la terre. Agricultrice: l'invention politique d'un métier, Paris, EHESS, 1987.

Le Village romanesque, Arles, Actes sud, 1980.

Pierre Bourdieu, La Domination masculine, Paris, Le Seuil, 1998.

Bernard Pudal, Prendre parti. Pour une sociologie historique du PCF, Paris, Presses de la FNSP, 1989.