For more than 30 years, the Department of Social Sciences has played a vital role in analysing the dynamics of South Asian societies. Its multidisciplinary approach (combining socio-anthropology, socio-economics and economics, geography, history and archaeology, as well as demography and law) promotes a detailed knowledge of the complexity of these societies. The department has built a frame of reference in many topics essential to understanding long term dynamics and contemporary societal issues. The historical programs concern demography and urban dynamics, anthropology of health and economics (labour and indebtedness). More recent researches deal with political ecology, the long-term and contemporary management of elements of nature (such as forests, water) and of agroecology issues, promoting interactions with the department of ecology. Historical work continues on urban dynamics, spatial mobility, disparities and inequalities, while work on the history of science and technology finds its place in more recent orientations. These studies are in phase with the major stakes of the societies and economies of South Asia in connection with global concerns. The social sciences department participates in IFP’s transversal programs with the other departments on the common themes of “forest”, “coastal dynamics” and “labour”. These interdisciplinary dynamics are essential to the overall coherence of the IFP’s scientific policy and the high quality of the projects.
These activities are undertaken through scientific programs submitted to Agencies (ANR, EU-PCRD…) and Foundations, and are conducted in cooperation with Indian partners.
The department is also involved in research training with PhD and master-level trainees. It also co-organises an annual intensive training in methodologies used in Social Sciences research, called « Social Sciences Winter School in Pondicherry ».