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The common goal of the researchers and faculty members in our team is to cast light on what has been labelled as the ‘democratic response’, namely the interaction between government and the governed.

See the List of team members.

Theoretically the relation between public opinion and public policy is self-regulated through a ‘dynamic representation’, in which governments, while seeking to legitimize their policies, try to meet citizens’ expectations. In turn citizens respond to governments by adjusting their preferences, much like a thermostat. This model is based on two key assumptions.

On the one hand, the structure of democratic institutions is assumed to give governments a powerful incentive to account for the preferences expressed by citizens, in particular through elections but also by means of other forms of public participation (collective action by trade unions, non-government organizations, and other interest groups, opinion polls, and/or direct mobilizations). On the other hand, the public is supposed to send signals perceived as relevant by government.

The question of democratic response cuts to the heart of our representations of democracy and political legitimacy, at local and national level, but also at European and international level. Do citizens pay sufficient attention to government actions? To what extent are they aware and capable of guiding government in its exercise of power? What role does government give to public opinion in the decision-making process? To what extent does it shape opinion? What other actors take part in this process, intervening as mediators between the governed and government?

Our team join forces to further this common research programme, which calls for interdisciplinary work. The team mainly consists of political scientists, but also economists, sociologists and specialists in information and communication sciences. It collaborates on a regular basis with lawyers, historians, psycho-sociologists and linguists in Grenoble. All of them take the same empirical approach based on quantitative and qualitative methods.

The Governance team is also involved in two Master School from Sciences Po Grenoble: European and International Studies and Journalism; Management, Opinion Polls and Communication, with the focus on the following five Masters:

Members of Governance contribute to these Master’s degree courses by helping students carrying on surveys, achieving case studies and real-life professional situations in line with the research programme of the team.


Director : Stéphanie Abrial ​​​​​​

Detailed presentation.

Research Thematics

Public action and European integration

  • EMU-SCEUS: The Choice for Europe since Maastricht. Member States’ Preferences for Economic and Financial Integration (2015-19), eight countries, funded under H2020-Euro-Society-2014 (S. Saurugger)
  • Party-Interest Group Relationships in Contemporary Democracies (2016-17), eight countries, funded by the Research Council of Norway (C. Le Gall)

Political behaviour and democratic life

  • Understanding and Preventing Youth Crime (2014-17), five countries, funded by France’s National Research Agency (ANR) and Higher Council for Strategic Training and Research (CSFRS) (S. Roché)
  • Post-electoral survey of France (2016-18), funded by Sciences Po Paris, Bordeaux and Grenoble (F. Gougou)

Dynamics of opinion and values

  • International Social Survey Programme (annual), 50 countries, funded by CNRS and TGIR-Progedo, 48 pays (F. Gonthier & S. Zmerli)
  • European Values Survey (1981-2017), 47 countries, funded by TGIR-Progedo, Ministry of the Interior, National Institute of Youth and Education (Injep), (P. Bréchon & F. Gonthier)

International organizations and governance

  • International organizations and Multilateralism, formation of a scientific interest group (GIS) (Lille, Paris, Grenoble) as part of the Research Group on Multilateral Action at the French Political Science Association (AFSP) (F. Petiteville & M. Louis)


The Governance team organizes several seminar cycles:

  • The weekly team seminar gathers Governance’s researchers and faculty members and is open to all. It receives presentations from team members and invited speakers on topics related to the Governance team’s research profile. More precisely, building on the conviction that scientific methods and paradigms are complementary, the prime aim of these seminars is to foster a clearer understanding of how political systems work and more broadly the relations between government and governed that underpin such systems Contact: (simon[dot]persico[at]iepg[dot]fr)
  • New approaches to social and political change : The seminar “New Approaches on Social and Political Change” promotes interdisciplinary working through dialogue between emerging questions and innovative methodology in political science, psychology and sociology regarding key dynamics of social and political change in France and the rest of the world; Contact: (sonja[dot]zmerli[at]iepg[dot]fr)
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Submitted on March 31, 2023

Updated on March 5, 2024