Monique Dagnaud: Emeritus Director of Research at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France

Monique Dagnaud: ‘My research no longer focuses on the elites but on Generation Z’.

What do the elites, communication and young people have in common? Monique Dagnaud, Emeritus Director of Research at the Marcel Mauss Institute (CNRS), explains.

In the following interview, Monique Dagnaud, former lecturer at Sciences Po Paris (1977 to 2008) and former member of the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel [French audiovisual regulatory council] (1991 to 1999) and the Supervisory Board of the Le Monde group (2005 to 2010), looks back over her academic career and discusses her research.

How and why did you switch from researching the elites to studying communication?

The transition was natural. Communication is so important for the elites that it would be contradictory to study these groups without also thinking about communication. Little by little I moved away from researching the elites in order to learn more about this ‘world’ they had opened up to me.

I have written a number of books and articles addressing various topics within sociology and media studies, including the specific ways in which audiovisual media are regulated in France: cultural exception, public television, advertising, media financing, the protection of children and teenagers, cultural diversity, concentration, culture and values associated with the Internet, regulation, the French laws DADVSI [on authors’ and related rights in the information society] and HADOPI [on the High Authority for distribution and the protection of authors’ rights on the internet], and policies relating to cinema and the press. I have also conducted several surveys, including one on media professionals (audiovisual producers) and another on politics and the media, which I carried out from within Martin Hirsch’s office in 2008, when the RSA [revenu de solidarité active, financial assistance for the unemployed and underemployed] was being introduced. Initially I focused on the situation in France, then, progressively, I adopted a comparative approach and began to study what was happening elsewhere, particularly in other European countries and in India.

What connection is there between communication and youth cultures?

Youth cultures have a major impact on communication; studying developments in communication necessarily entails the study of new behaviours associated with youth cultures. This realisation led me to carry out a number of studies on young people, their cultural practices and their difficulties in terms of integration in contemporary society. In 2001, I carried out an overview of research on the culture and lifestyle of 15-24-year-olds. I also conducted a study (with Sébastien Roche in 2002) of the social and educative environment of juveniles convicted of serious crimes, and a survey on festive or party practices amongst 18-24-year-olds, the results of which can be found in a book published by Seuil in January 2008 (La teuf, essai sur le désordre des générations).

So was it your work on young people that led you to research Generations Y and Z?

Since 2008 I have been exploring the anthropological transformation brought about by the network society. During this period, in which Internet use has been maturing, my primary focus has been the younger generations. My research in this area can be found in Génération Y, les jeunes et les réseaux sociaux : de la dérision à la subversion (Presses de Sciences Po, 2011). An updated, expanded edition of the book was published in January 2013.

List of publications since 2011 (as author or editor)


  • DAGNAUD, M. Le modèle californien. Comment l’esprit collaboratif change le monde (Paris, Odile Jacob). Further information


  • DAGNAUD, M. Expanded edition of Génération Y, les jeunes et les réseaux sociaux : de la dérision à la subversion (Paris, Presses de Science Po).


  • DAGNAUD, M. and Feigelson, K. (editors), Bollywood : industrie des images, (published as an issue of the journal Théorème (November 2012).


  • DAGNAUD, M. Génération Y, les jeunes et les réseaux sociaux : de la dérision à la subversion (Paris, Presses de Sciences Po) (updated edition published in 2013).