Research subjects

Areas of academic research at the TESC Doctoral School

There are four underlying areas of research

- « Archaeology of prehistory in the industrial age »: Working in a discipline with its own clearly defined academic identity and methods, doctoral students researching different fields and issues are enabled to exchange viewpoints and approaches. The Doctoral School’s “STIGOS” courses are intended to facilitate this process. They reflect the recent rise of this type of analysis applied to the prehistoric bone industry. The aim is to train participants in this initial stage of technological analysis, with a particular focus on a shared methodology and terminology appropriate to the study of pieces of bone. The priority given to archaeology by the Doctoral School reflects a priority of the Université de Toulouse 2, which has a designated “technological platform” for archaeology.

- “Spaces and territories”: This research area covers the many current studies of questions linked to local and regional construction, its dynamics and reconfigurations, in both rural and urban contexts.In all cases the research considers the relationships between human beings and their environment in terms of constraints, transformations and also destruction and the need for preservation. This area also includes questions of governance and the link between locality and identity. This second priority of the Doctoral School also corresponds, within the Université de Toulouse, to a second “technological platform” devoted to the analysis of cartographic data.

- “Dynamics of human organisations”:Directly related to comtemporary research in various fields of the social sciences following the questioning of the structuralist paradigms, this research area deals with questions of the relationships between social actors and their environment.Firstly, it includes research into the various forms of social tie, from kinship systems to forms of solidarity, notably through analysis in terms of networks. Secondly, it gives an important place to the question of the employment prospects of social actors based on their gender identification an approach current in several of the Doctoral School’s research centres. Thirdly, it also considers theoretical approaches to what societies define as norms and deviance and more broadly the conflicts that can arise from this and ways to mediate them. Lastly, it includes the analysis of economic systems and production.

- "Productions of knowledge": This last area deals with questions relating to cultural output as it is linked to processes by which identities are constructed. Studies of religious constructions occupy an important place in this field. At the same time, these cultures are also considered in terms of their contacts and they exchanges to which they give rise, with the emphasis on debates on “hybridisation”. Another aspect involves an approach based on the epistemology of the social sciences, on which the Doctoral School has particularly focused in recent years.
These priority areas of the Doctoral School combine with the participation of the Université de Toulouse II - and notably 5 of the Doctoral School’s host research teams – in the Institut des Amériques (IDA), of which the university is one of the two founding members with the University of Paris 3. This Institute, which is similar to a Thematic Advanced Research Network (RTRA), is supported by the vigour of the traditional focus on Latin American studies at the Université de Toulouse 2. The “Americanist” speciality has not only been recognised as a “centre of excellence” it its field wthin France, since 2006 it has been clearly identified by the university as one of its priorities for traning and research. This has led to the creation of a “Master of the Americas” degree to replace the traditional Master’s in Latin-American studies from the academic year 2009-10. This new orientation is also a priority in the international “research” relationships of the centre for higher education and research (PRES) of the Université de Toulouse.

The choice of interdisciplinarity

The most important criterion of the Doctoral School’s constitution, which unites the research teams of which it is formed, is that of the possibilities for dialogue between its different academic components. The TESC Doctoral School sees its role as one of using the recognised skills and strengths of its component teams to educate doctoral students in a way that expands their academic horizons. At the core of the Doctoral School’s educational policy is a transdisciplinary approach to objects of study and research which defines its academic parameters and drives its internal dynamism.
The activities offered by the Doctoral School (seminars, study days and student workshops) are planned in accordance with the objects of research. Examples of activities organised in the previous four years include: the city, social networks, gender, family ties, localities, heritage, work and social and spatial organisation.