Black Africa as a Founding Paradigm of French and Francophone Social Sciences of Development (1920–2010)

By Jean Copans


Between 1920 and 2010 France experiences three periods in the matter of modernisation and development of its former colonies then of the third world countries. These take place for various political and historical reasons mostly in Black Africa. Through almost a century, applied as well as fundamental field research, on both empirical and theoretical levels, have been based on this geo-political region. In the 1980 other parts of the world (Latin America, Asia) come to the fore. But the methodological change of social science orientations (the study of development operations and not only the beneficiaries of the programs) does not seem to put into question the implicit reference to the model of black African societies.


  • Black Africa
  • colony
  • fieldwork
  • periodization
  • social sciences
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