The Research Centre for Political Action at the University of Lausanne (CRAPUL), founded in 2002, is part of the UNIL Institute of Political Studies. Its aim is to promote collective work and research on political action from a comparative political sociology perspective, over time and in different areas.
From an epistemological perspective, this approach aims to examine political issues in its research projects from a non-disciplinary stance, as a problem in the social sciences as a whole (political science, sociology, history and anthropology), by incorporating knowledge and points of view on political issues from various areas of specialisation. More specifically, the CRAPUL research centre aims to offer both early-career and established researchers a wide range of theoretical and empirical approaches and a space for sharing ideas and engaging in discussions on a series of related themes, including the sociology of social movements (collective action, activism and political behaviours), the comparative sociology of mobilisation in an authoritarian context, socialisation and political behaviours, sociology and the socio-history of law, institutions and political life, the sociology of political crises and revolutions, gender and politics, political ethnography, etc. The centre’s open-minded approach can also be found in its investigative and analytical methodologies, which draw on the full repertoire available in the social sciences, including quantitative, qualitative and documentary methods, speech analysis, interviews, life story accounts and ethnographic surveys.
In the main, the CRAPUL research centre promotes three types of activity:
- Regular organisation of conferences, seminars, meetings and symposia to discuss current research projects, review a particular field of study and encourage cross-disciplinary perspectives and debates on a given topic. Between 2002 and 2019, CRAPUL organised around 30 international symposia and study days in its various research fields, in addition to full conferences (between eight and ten every year). Some of its events are accessible through CRAPUL podcasts.
- Support for research projects that bring together early-career and experienced researchers (team creation, responses to invitations to tender, joint discussion of issues and the methods used, publications and discussion of current theses).
- Regular publication of books based on its members’ research in the “Le livre politique – CRAPUL” collection, published by Antipodes in Lausanne.
CRAPUL operates on a collegiate basis, bringing together PhD students, teaching staff and researchers from the University of Lausanne, and also works to build relationships with colleagues and laboratories working in related areas (for example, by setting up joint projects and through international research teams, student exchanges and joint thesis supervision). It was involved, for instance, in setting up the “Political Sociology” Standing Group of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and plays an active role in it.