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Economics, society, politics

When the BNU was created in 1871, economics, agriculture, public finances, politics, administration and society formed part of a major documentation group entitled Staatswissenschaften (political sciences); fifty years later, in 1920, this collection contained about 80 000 volumes. Regularly maintained ever since, it is currently estimated to contain 220 000 volumes.

At the time the BNU's collections were being constituted, at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, the social sciences became affirmed as disciplines and then gained more independence from each other, to finally undergo evolution throughout the twentieth century in terms of theory and methodology that have sometimes been specific to one country. This explains why the BNU's documentary collections, built up over more than 130 years - under German and French supervision alternately - constitute historic collections of the first order for knowledge, study and research on these disciplines.

Current acquisitions

In the fields of economic sciences, political sciences, sociology, anthropology and demography, the BNU increases its collections by about 1 200 new titles each year. These disciplines are brought together in a documentation centre that also includes the 'Europe' specialist centre. This proximity is mutually enriching and makes it possible to provide wider documentary coverage, both generalist and specialist, as regards Europe.

Acquisitions in social sciences are focused on:

  • reference works: specialist dictionaries, specialist national and international bibliographies in French and other languages;
  • works on the history of the disciplines, theoretical and methodological texts (in the original language and in French translation);
  • analyses and essays on decisive aspects of political, economic and social current events at the national and international levels.


The works purchased are of a study and academic, or even research, level, depending on the topic covered.

In addition to purchasing works, the BNU subscribes to 280 periodicals and a number of online periodicals.

The main areas of these disciplines are:

Economics: history of economic thought, theories and systems, public finances, economic statistics, production sectors (agriculture, industry, services), trade, transport, globalisation, emerging economies, and sustainable development.

Management: business management, organisation management, management of human resources.

Politics: history of political ideas, political history and current affairs in France (institutions, political parties, politicians, etc), local and national administration, international relations, geopolitics and diplomacy, military affairs (defence and security, strategy, armies, etc).

Sociology, Anthropology/Ethnology, Demography: social groups, social change, economic, social and cultural interactions, rural and urban sociology, social problems and services, migrations, etc.

Centre manager
Béatrice Normand
tel.: +33 (0)3 88 25 28 25
Beatrice.Normand@bnu.fr

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