Sociology, Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, Bulgaria

Fellowship : October 2018 to June 2019

Discipline(s) : Sociology

Pays : Bulgaria

Research project : The Social Sciences between Three Worlds. The Case of African Researchers Educated both in Eastern and Western Europe in the 1960s-1990s. Biographical Experiences, Knowledge, Trajectories

The research project is an attempt to approach the social sciences through the specific trajectories of African researchers, who, after studying in the East and West of Europe in the 1960s-1990s marked by geopolitical bipolarity, worked in multiple societal contexts. Their biographical experience between three worlds, Africa, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, is of unexplored richness for the social sciences and societies. Defending the idea that this trans-border, multi-situated and protean experience has contributed to the imperceptible formation of what is now called a ‘transnational science’ and a ‘world-society’, the project aims to develop the components of a theoretical and methodological model that may serve for future empirical testing of the initial hypotheses. By putting the socio-historical processes and the researchers’ specific trajectories into a common perspective, the project intends to outline a new conceptualization of the social sciences at the centre of which is the scientific experience, seen in the complexity of the life forms of the researchers themselves.


Svetla Koleva, PhD in sociology and DSc, is Research Director at the Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, head of the Department “Knowledge Society: Science, Education, Innovation” at the same Institute, as well as a member of the Governing Board of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Bulgarian academic journal Sociological Problems, of the Ukrainian journal Studies of Changing Societies and of the Brill’s Series Post-Western Social Sciences and Global Knowledge. She has been a visiting professor in France (University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès), Canada (University of Ottawa, University of Quebec in Montreal, University of Quebec in Outaouais, Gatineau, University of Moncton, campus Edmundston), and Switzerland (Fribourg University). Koleva was awarded the French Government Fellowship (1993-1994), the European Communities’ Commission Fellowship (1994), the Soros Foundation Fellowship, Prague (1999-2000), the Advanced Academia Fellowship of Center for Advanced Study, Sofia (2012-2013), and the Foundation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Fellowship, Paris (2013). Her central research interests are in the fields of history of sociology (the process of constructing sociology and the modalities of sociological practice in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe under the communist regime and during democratic transition), the epistemology of social sciences (history and mobility of concepts; production, transmission and reception of scientific knowledge; scientific exchanges between non-hegemonic national practices) and political sociology (new forms of civic action).

Major publications

KOLEVA, Svetla. Totalitarian Experience and Knowledge Production. Sociology in Central and Eastern Europe, 1945-1989, Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2018, 298 p.

KOLEVA, Svetla. Utopies entrecroisées en Europe de l’Est : de l’expérience communiste à la réalité postcommuniste, Education et Sociétés, 2016, 37 (1), p. 65-79.

KOLEVA, Svetla. « Comment rendre le social hospitalier? Lire la société totalitaire et post-totalitaire à la lumière de l’Éthique de l’hospitalité” ». In : Le temps de l’hospitalité. Réception de l’œuvre de Daniel Innerarity, L. Vigneault, B. Navarro Pardiñas, S. Cloutier, D. Desroches (sous la direction), Québec (Sainte-Foy): Presses de l’Université Laval, 2015, p. 161-175.

KOLEVA, Svetla. « Espace urbain et action citoyenne: rapports à géométrie variable ». In : Mobilisations citoyennes dans l’espace public, G. Rouet (sous la direction), Paris : L’Harmattan, 2013, p. 17-29.

KOLEVA, Svetla. « La réforme académique en Bulgarie et ses destinataires ». In : Les sciences sociales et leurs publics. Engagements et distanciations, M. D. Gheorghiu, P. Arnault (éditeurs), Iasi: Editura Universitatii “Al. I. Cuza”, 2013, p. 63-80.