In response to significant budget cuts at the start of the twenty-first century, the Sauvons la recherche (SLR) movement was formed. Initiated outside the trade union structures, it was born in 2004 as renowned biologists mobilized to question the future of their profession and the ways of defending the interests of science. By articulating the sociology of professions, the sociology of mobilizations, and the sociology of public policy, this article deciphers the unique role that a social movement of researchers played in setting the agenda for research reforms at the start of the twenty-first century. Based on the collection of original archives and more than thirty in-depth interviews with the scientists who participated in the movement from the outset, this article traces how SLR first built a frontal opposition to the government, then came to participate in the CIP—the committee that organizes the reform work of the États généraux de la recherche—in 2004. The article shows that the constitution of this “hinge,” that is to say in Andrew Abbott’s sense, the space of intermediation between government and professional collective, is the product of a conflictual history, and of debates and games on the frontiers of the profession and its relation to politics. Between protest mobilization and reformist work, the case study reveals a singular form of the association of professionals in the government of their sector.
- public policy