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Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan

Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), France; LASDEL, Niamey, Niger

PhD

About

271
Publications
193,677
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Introduction
Jean-Pierre OLIVIER de SARDAN lives in Niger, and is among the founders of LASDEL (www.lasdel.net).. He is also Professor of anthropology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Emeritus director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France) and associate professor at Abdou Moumouni University (Niger) He’s currently working on the delivery of public services and public goods in Africa, focusing on implementations gaps, and informal regulations.
Additional affiliations
September 1991 - present
January 1989 - present
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)
Position
  • Directeur d'études (professor)
September 1967 - present
French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
Position
  • Directeur de recherche

Publications

Publications (271)
Book
Pourquoi les politiques publiques, les projets de développement, les interventions des ONG sont-ils tous soumis à d’importants écarts entre ce qui était prévu et ce qui se passe effectivement ? Cet ouvrage apporte une réponse particulièrement convaincante et documentée à ce « problème des écarts ». Les politiques publiques standardisées, et en par...
Article
Anthropology is a latecomer to the study of bureaucracy. Nonetheless, the anthropological study of organizations—of which bureaucracies are a subtype, as larger organizations are always bureaucratically organized—was initiated by anthropologists as early as the 1920s. Since the 2010s, the anthropology of bureaucracy has slowly consolidated into a d...
Article
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L’élevage a diverses formes au Niger, mais l’élevage mobile (transhumance) reste le plus important. L’accès à l’eau a subi de profondes transformations : conflits croissants avec les agriculteurs, usage des puits comme marquage foncier, multiplication des puits cimentés et forages avec des problèmes de maintenance et de gestion, marchandisation des...
Article
Ajourd’hui, au Niger, la politique des partis et de la démocratie, caractérisée par des affontements incessants entre politiciens, avec de fréquents changements de camp, est rejetée par la population. Ces conflits de proximité sont nommés par un terme emprunté aux conflits familiaux, qui s’applique aux relations de jalousie entre demi-frères. La fa...
Article
We propose a short epistemological and methodological reflection on the challenges of doing ethnographical research on public services (‘bureaucracies’) from the inside. We start from the recognition of the double face of bureaucracy, as a form of domination and oppression as well as of protection and liberation, and all the ambivalences this diale...
Book
Full-text available
These days, Cash Transfer programs are definitely on a roll. Still occasional a decade ago, they became the preferred channel to deliver emergency aid or tackle poverty in low-and middle-income countries. Admittedly, these programs have had positive effects on the most impoverish households’ economies. Nonetheless, Cash transfers are also typical...
Chapter
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Ten cash transfer operations in Niger involving thirteen NGOs were examined in the study. The targeting is the element that causes the most problems by far: it attracts general suspicion, dissatisfaction and criticism among local populations. Distribution, for its part, happens without impediment. As for the use of cash transfer, they bear witness...
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variety of the contexts in which CTs are implemented, and the plurality of action logics at work within each context. In this chapter, 1 attempt to understand the emergence and global diffusion of CT programs based on the original success stories (Brazil and Mexico). 1 analyze how, based on this Latin American foundation stone, a fundamental distin...
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As in other areas of international development, we are witnessing the proliferation of ‘traveling models’ developed by international experts and introduced in an almost identical format across numerous countries to improve some aspect of maternal health systems in low- and middle-income countries. These policies and protocols are based on ‘miracle...
Data
States at Work explores the mundane practices of state-making in Africa by focussing on the daily functioning of public services and the practices of civil servants. Adopting mainly an ethnographic approach as a basis for theorizing, the authors deal with topics including: bureaucratic cultures and practical norms, operational routines in offices,...
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In Niger, there is an increasing rejection of politik (a term with highly pejorative connotations): that is, party politics and the politics of democracy, characterized by personal rivalries and power struggles between clans and factions. But there is a direct link (albeit not a causal one) between the social perceptions of intra-familial rivalries...
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L’anthropologie des politiques publiques dans les pays du Sud, née relativement récemment, est désormais en pleine expansion. Elle est pour l’essentiel issue d’un élargissement progressif de l’anthropologie du développement . Cette histoire définit pour une grande part la spécificité de l’anthropologie des politiques publiques. Celle-ci a différent...
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Organizing effective public health interventions is required to improve population health and reduce social inequalities in health. However, measuring their effectiveness is not enough; we must also understand how these interventions are implemented and what role is played by the context and the social actors. Today, it seems that the importance of...
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The propensity of anthropology to highlight the homogeneity of the groups it studied, related to the “primitivist” and “peasantist” contexts associated with the emergence of the discipline, can be referred to as “culturalism”. Such a scientific ideology underestimates the contradictions and diversities deployed within any social group studied by an...
Book
Epistemology, Fieldwork, and Anthropology explores the space between epistemology and methodology, offering a systematic examination of the empirical foundations of interpretations in anthropology.
Article
"Ensemble des processus sociaux induits par des opérations volontaristes de transformation d’un milieu social, entreprises par le biais d’institutions ou d’acteurs extérieurs à ce milieu mais cherchant à mobiliser ce milieu, et reposant sur une tentative de greffe de ressources et/ou techniques et/ou savoirs" (Olivier de Sardan 1995). Cette définit...
Article
O caso dos programas de transferências de renda na África ilustra claramente várias contradições da ajuda ao desenvolvimento e da ajuda humanitária, na medida em que as normas definidas pelas entidades financiadoras e as ONGs para regular o acesso a essa “renda desenvolvimentista” [maná] não são de modo algum aprovadas pelas populações beneficiadas...
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Full-text available
During the last ten years, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have opted for selective user fee exemption policies, while remaining within the general framework of cost recovery. But they have each developed their own particular institutional mechanisms, different from those of their neighbour. This was the topic of a comparative research program combini...
Article
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Our research programme on fee exemption policies in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger involved sensitive topics with strong ideological and political connotations for the decision-makers, for health-workers, and for users. Thus we were confronted with reluctance, criticism, pressures and accusations. Our frank description of the shortcomings of these po...
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Free healthcare obviously works when a partner from abroad supplies a health centre or a health district with medicines and funding on a regular basis, provides medical, administrative and managerial training, and gives incentive bonuses and daily subsistence allowances to staff. The experiments by three international NGO in Burkina Faso, Mali and...
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This research on user fee removal in three African countries is located at the interface of public policy analysis and health systems research. Public policy analysis has gradually become a vast and multifaceted area of research consisting of a number of perspectives. But the context of public policies in Sahelian Africa has some specific character...
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The use of mixed methods (combining quantitative and qualitative data) is developing in a variety of forms, especially in the health field. Our own research has adopted this perspective from the outset. We have sought all along to innovate in various ways and especially to develop an equal partnership, in the sense of not allowing any single approa...
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Appropriate deployment or posting and transfer (P&T) of health workers – placing the right people in the right positions at the right time – lies at the heart of fostering communities’ faith in government health services and cementing the role of the health system as a core social institution. The authors of this paper have been involved in an ongo...
Book
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Although international development discourse considers the state as a crucial development actor, there remains a significant discrepancy between the official norms of the state and public services and the actual practices of political elites and civil servants. This text interrogates the variety of ways in which state policies and legal norms have...
Chapter
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All observers of the African State recognize the existence of an important gap between public and professional norms on one hand and the behaviour of civil servants on the other. To be sure, this « gap problem » extends well beyond Africa. In Africa, however, it hasn’t been an object of empirical study until recently. The concept of « practical nor...
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African public servants do not behave in accordance with official standards because they adhere to social norms deriving from their ancestral culture’. Although this argument is never based on fine-grained historical analyses, it is regularly asserted in various theoretical guises. The notion of ‘African culture’ is a fertile source of stereotypes...
Book
Cette analyse ethnographique détaillée des élections locales au Niger intègre celles-ci dans leurs contextes locaux, politiques, sociaux, culturels. Cette démarche originale explique qu’il s’agisse du second volume d’une série sur Les pouvoirs locaux au Niger. Il s’agit d’un apport majeur à la socio-anthropologie des processus électoraux (en Afriqu...
Book
This book attempts to make sense of a still almost virgin field of enquiry: the systematic examination of the empirical foundations of interpretations and grounded theories in anthropology. To the extent that all field work based on participant observation by the researcher produces discursive and observational data, we must ask ourselves about the...
Chapter
Full-text available
Cette analyse ethnographique détaillée des élections locales au Niger intègre celles-ci dans leurs contextes locaux, politiques, sociaux, culturels. Cette démarche originale explique qu’il s’agisse du second volume d’une série sur Les pouvoirs locaux au Niger. Il s’agit d’un apport majeur à la socio-anthropologie des processus électoraux (en Afriqu...
Chapter
Sociologists and anthropologists figure among the intellectuals who turn successively enthused or fascinated, compassionate or enthusiastic glances on the people, the dominated, the poor, the deprived, and the excluded. “The populist effect” inspires numerous vocations in our field, lasts over time along professional careers, surfaces under various...
Chapter
Emic, in linguistics and anthropology, is a term that covers popular representations and discourses, also described as “local,” “autochthonous,” or “native.” It evokes the meanings that social facts have for the actors concerned. It is opposed to the term etic, which, at times, designates more external or “objective” data, and, at others, the resea...
Chapter
Observation and description—paralleling and comparable to the emic approach—constitute together a “fundamental” of fieldwork. But these polysemous terms take on a specific meaning in anthropology.
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At first glance, the term overinterpretation, as used in the social sciences, irresistibly conjures up the idea of an excess of meaning imposed on the “reference reality” on which the researcher claims to report. By way of contempt, incompetence, or negligence, the researcher guilty of such an offense is thought to have mistreated data. He may be s...
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This expression is not as paradoxical as it may appear. What it highlights is a combination/conjunction rather than a simple contradiction. In fact, this book is entirely devoted to the following argument: On the one hand, an anthropological or sociological text must be rigorous (or otherwise abandon its scientific claims). On the other hand, it be...
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As mentioned in the introduction, sociology, anthropology, and history share a common epistemology. Interpretative methods, hypotheses, heuristic choices, paradigms, and processes of object construction are usually similar or transversal. However, these disciplines do not necessarily produce data in the same way. Though close to one another, each s...
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My concern with highlighting the fundamentals of a quest for rigor in the empirical methodology of anthropology and the theory thereby produced has expressed, in the course of this work, an ideal of methodological wariness with respect to the normative ideologies and judgments that I consider to be responsible for numerous interpretative distortion...
Chapter
Classic, more or less Durkheimian positivism is now a thing of the past, as was mentioned previously. In the social sciences, the exponential progression of texts written in the first person testifies to the fact that author subjectivity is no longer discreditable. It now seems in good taste to make a discrete—and sometimes not so discrete— display...
Chapter
In The Craft of Sociology, the authors attribute a central role to the “epistemological break” through which the sociologist must attain detachment from the false evidences of common sense and, in constructing his object, avoid the snares of spontaneous sociology and the illusions of transparency.1 In the case of a French researcher working on Fren...
Book
Full-text available
L’analyse des politiques publiques en Afrique est encore embryonnaire. Cet ouvrage propose pour la première fois une étude empirique approfondie de la mise en forme et de la mise en œuvre d’une politique publique de santé, dans trois pays sahéliens francophones. Il est aussi pionnier par sa combinaison de méthodes qualitatives (enquêtes de terrain...
Article
Full-text available
Le cas des transferts monétaires en Afrique illustre bien diverses contradictions de l'aide au développement et de l'aide humanitaire, dans la mesure où les normes définies par les bailleurs de fonds et les ONG pour réguler l'accès à cette « manne » ne sont pas du tout approuvées par les populations bénéficiaires. Ces normes importées sont néanmoin...
Book
Full-text available
‘States at Work’ explores the mundane practices of state-making in Africa by focusing on the daily functioning of public services and the practices of civil servants. Adopting mainly an ethnographic approach as a basis for theorizing, the authors deal with topics including: bureaucratic cultures and practical norms, operational routines in offices,...
Article
Full-text available
Cash Transfer Programs in Niger: A Major Misunderstanding! Cash Transfer programs in Africa have recently become, after other continents, a privileged formula for humanitarian aid and development assistance. In Niger, a sum of money is unconditionally transferred directly to the beneficiary, identified as amongst the poorest of the poor. But this i...
Chapter
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ean-Pierre 0 livier de Sardan THE MODES OF GOVERNANCE Given that the concept of governance is at the heart of this book, it makes sense to define at the start how 1 will use it in the discussion 1 intend to conduct on the concept of neo-patrimonialism. Governance concepts tend to be highly normative: This has been frequently acknowledged by social...
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Tout au long de notre recherche, nous avons constaté que le problème de la pérennisation des politiques de gratuité était un souci majeur de tous les acteurs (personnels de santé, usagers, gestionnaires, cadres administratifs), et qu 'un grand scepticisme régnait sur cette question, en particulier au Mali et au Niger. L'inquiétude générale sur la c...
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Le recours aux méthodes mixtes (combinaison de données quantitatives et qualitatives) se développe, en particulier dans le champ de la santé, sous des formes variables. Notre recherche s'est d'emblée située dans une telle perspective , mais en tentant diverses innovations, et en développant, surtout, un partenariat égalitaire, sans sujétion d'une a...
Article
Manna, norms and suspicion, the contradictions of aid seen from below Cash transfers in Africa exhibit many contradictions specific to development aid and humanitarian aid. The norms defined by international institutions and NGOs for accessing such “manna” are in fact not approved by local beneficiaries, who nevertheless keep quiet, while smoothly...
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Institutionalisms, old and new, are multifaceted and heterogeneous but they share a desire to unshackle the economy to some extent, and open it out to an inclusive society. This gives room for a dialogue with anthropology. Two concepts are discussed here: (1) the embeddedness paradigm has been influential according two very different perspectives:e...
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L’anthropologie a un atout majeur, sa méthode empirique (l’enquête de terrain prolongée), mais elle est parfois trop prisonnière de son passé exotique et primitiviste, et trop encline à un repli identitaire disciplinaire. C’est le cas en particulier de l’anthropologie africaniste qui doit renouveler profondément ses objets comme ses concepts. Elle...
Chapter
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To deal with difficulties in accessing care that arise in the context of cost recovery programs, many African countries are now implementing user fee exemption policies for certain vulnerable population groups. Based on a study of public policies and socio-anthropological fieldwork, this article presents a comparative analysis of the situation in B...
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Je c o m m e n c e r a i par deux constats simples 1 : – Une thèse est une forme de recherche parmi d'autres, sou­ mise pour l'essentiel aux mêmes contraintes qui régulent tout programme de recherche. Seuls le cadre institutionnel du doctorat, la forte implication du doctorant et parfois son inexpérience distinguent le projet de thèse d'un quelconq...
Article
Béatrice Hibou Anatomie politique de la domination Paris, La Découverte, 2011, 297 p. - Volume 67 Issue 1 - Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan
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Free medical care in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Public policy contradictions Many African countries, confronted by health care access and payment collection problems, now promote policies that exempt some low-income persons from paying for health care services. This article draws on a review of public policies and on sociological and anthropolog...
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La recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique même souffre de divers handicaps, parmi lesquels l’omniprésence de la consultance, financée par les institutions de développement, qui accapare le temps des universitaires africains. Les règles du jeu de la consultance sont assez différentes de celles de la recherche, mais les frontières sont le plus sou...
Article
In Africa, "getting a share of development aid" is at the heart of a large number of strategies, and humanitarian aid is included in that. However, none are able to offer a durable solution to the chronic problems facing the country. This case study, conducted in Niger following 2005 "famine", which resulted in a large international response, shows...
Article
Full-text available
Used in an analytical and non-normative way, the concept of governance may be taken to refer to any organised method of delivering public or collective services and goods according to specific logics and norms, and to specific forms of authority. This article applies the concept to analysis of local arenas in which public goods and services are del...
Article
The provision of public goods in Niger involves in almost all cases complex forms of co-production, with several actors and ‘modes of governance’ contributing within a variety of delivery configurations. How well goods are provided, and whether key bottlenecks in provision are able to be overcome, depends on the precise terms on which this collabor...
Article
Full-text available
Used in an analytical and non-normative way, the concept of governance may be taken to refer to any organised method of delivering public or collective services and goods according to specific logics and norms, and to specific forms of authority. This article applies the concept to analysis of local arenas in which public goods and services are del...
Article
Full-text available
Humanitarian Aid or Development Aid ? The 2005 “Famine” in Niger In Africa, “getting a share of development aid” is at the heart of a large number of strategies, and humanitarian aid is included in that. However, none are able to offer a durable solution to the chronic problems facing the country. This case study, conducted in Niger following 2005...

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