Odile Henry holds a doctorate in sociology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris). She is currently full professor of sociology at Paris 8 University (Political Science’s department) after having taught as an assistant professor at Dauphine University (Paris). Her early research explored, from a sociological and ethnographic perspective, the world of large consulting firms in France. Numerous articles for peer-reviewed journals have been drawn from this work. She then carried out historical and sociological work on the French origins, at the end of the 19th century, of these new consulting positions. This work led her to explore not only the history of the large French firms of the second industrialization but also that of engineers and management “à la française”. A book, published in 2012 by the CNRS, is the result of this second phase of her research.

Affiliated to the ENGIND programme (funded by the French National Research Agency, ANR), she was seconded as a senior researcher to the CSH from 2014 (September) to 2017 (February). As a member of the ENGIND team (Engineers and Society in Colonial and Post Colonial India), which brought together sociologists and historians, Indian and French researchers, she conducted extensive fieldwork at IIT Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh). Her main publications (with Mathieu Ferry) focused on the processes of elimination and differentiation of students according to their caste and gender within the IIT and upon entry into the labour market. Since 2018, she is a member of the ESPI project on the effects, in terms of social inequalities, of the very strong development of private higher education. Funded by the French Development Agency (AFD), this programme focuses on 7 emerging or developing countries. Odile Henry is in charge of the analysis of the transformations of Indian higher education institutions.

Her future research projects will deepen this investigation on the privatization of Indian higher education, based on fieldwork interrupted by the health crisis. In addition, she wishes to set up new surveys on the trajectories of engineers from Indian or French elite universities who have left the world of large private capitalist firms to invent alternative paths most often in connection with environmental issues.

Since 2018, she coordinates with Joël Cabalion, Mathieu Ferry, Clémence Jullien, Jules Naudet and Olivier Roueff the monthly CEIAS-EHESS seminar on “Sociology of Inequalities in India”.

Recent publications:

  • Henry Odile et Ferry Mathieu. (forthcoming) “What Does My IITian tag actually mean? The Relationship Between Academic Titles and Job Positions: The Case of Students at the IITL”, in: Caru V. (Ed.), Engineers and Society in India, Oxford University Press, Delhi.
  • Henry, Odile, Mathieu Ferry. 2022. “Assignation statutaire et valeur sociale des diplômes: Le devenir scolaire et professionnel des élèves d’un Institut indien de technologie au prisme des catégories de réservation”P. 25 pages, pages 147–171 in Les mondes de l’ingénieur en Inde aux xixe-xxie siècles, by Gadéa C. et Lardinois R., Classiques Garnier. doi: 10.48611/isbn.978-2-406-12658-4.p.0147
  • Henry, Odile, Jinusha Panirahi, and Nidhi S. Sabharwal. 2020. “Enseignement supérieur en Inde et inégalités sociales”, AFD Working paper no. 2020-194, Papiers de Recherche, 72 p. https://ideas.repec.org/p/avg/wpaper/fr11793.html
  • Henry, Odile. 2018. “Entre le patronat et l’État: Ingénieurs et ingénieurs-conseils en quête de modèles d’organisation professionnelle (1922-1936).” Pp. 151–183 in Les ingénieurs : unité, expansion, fragmentation, XIXe et XXe siècles. Tome 1 : La production d’un groupe social, 9. Paris : Classiques Garnier. doi: 10.15122/isbn.978-2-406-08387-0.p.0151
  • Odile, Henry, and Mathieu Ferry. 2017, “When Cracking the JEE is not Enough. Processes of Elimination and Differentiation, from Entry to Placement, in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).” South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (15). doi: 10.4000/samaj.4291.

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