Understanding societies in the tropical and Mediterranean regions


The Societies and Globalisation department’s main objective is to understand contemporary societies in the tropical and Mediterranean regions while analysing the dynamics that underlie them. The research conducted takes an interdisciplinary approach to social challenges, with the aim of demonstrating their implications and relevance for countries in both the South and the North. The various research programmes strive to understand the dynamics at work in the diverse array of societies. They all have in-depth knowledge of the field and apply their approach at several levels

Key figures

Flagship projects

Insecurity, sexual violence towards migrant women

According to the ANRS PARCOURS investigation, which studied the life trajectories of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in France, sexual violence suffered on the French territory by migrant women multiplies their risk of HIV infection by 4. A book devoted to this investigation conducted by the CEPED (Population and Development Centre) was published in 2017.

An institute and a summer school devoted to studying migrations

IRD is a partner of the Migrations Convergence Institute which seeks multidisciplinary cooperation to coordinate research on this major contemporary problem and to provide specific training for future researchers.

IRD coordinates the European SLAFNET project, devoted to the legacy of slavery

Funded by the European commission, SLAFNET brings together a multidisciplinary team of around 50 researchers, in a consortium of 13 partners from the North and South.


  • Launch of the WANASEA project

    Launch of the WANASEA project, which aims to strengthen capacities in the domain of further education in Southeast Asia, by proposing a training and networking initiative around a major contemporary issue: water and its associated resources.

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  • The QUARITE project receives the H2020 Birthday Prize

    The European institutions awarded 1 000 000 € to the QUARITE project on infantile health in Senegal and in Mali led by Alexandre Dumont (CEPED).

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And in the future?

The Department will introduce the “Migrations, mobility and circulation in a globalised world” PSIP, and will continue the work begun in 2017 as part of the “Urban dynamics and sustainable development” PSIP.

In 2018, the IJL SENTINELA will begin its activities for the observation of the environment, climate and vector-borne diseases on the borders between Brazil, Colombia, Peru and French Guiana.

A special effort will be made to extend partnerships, particularly via international research groups (GDRI-South), the associated units, the grandes écoles and civil society organisations (e.g.: ATD Quart Monde).

With a view to strengthening capacities and spreading knowledge in the social sciences, the organisation of summer schools will continue, particularly in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Southern Africa.