Skip to content

Violaine Roussel

Visiting Scholar

Violaine Roussel is a professor at the University of Paris 8 and a visiting scholar in the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media. 

A sociologist of media industries who studies Hollywood as a professional system, she explores the activity of various categories of Hollywood professionals who are involved in the evaluation of content and talent. Her work focuses on occupational groups that operate behind the scenes in the industry and are rarely studied. Her book Representing Talent: Hollywood Agents and the Making of Movies (University of Chicago Press, 2017) drew from more than 120 interviews as well as in situ observations to shed unprecedented light on the secretive world of talent agents. Her previous publications include Brokerage and Production in the American and French Entertainment Industries (ed. with Denise Bielby, Lexington Books. 2016) and Talent Agenting in the Age of Conglomerates (In Curtin (M.), Sanson (K.) eds., Precarious Creativity, UC Press, 74-87).

Her current research and book project (with Princeton University Press) examines the new place and role that various types of data specialists have come to hold in Hollywood and analyzes their influence on creative decisions. Her work investigates how the making of artistic and economic value works and changes in Hollywood. She also leads the TREND international research network that brings together French and American scholars to study the current transformation of entertainment industries and has served as invited co-director on several editions of the Transforming Hollywood event series, a joint venture between the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and USC Cinematic Arts.

Roussel has also been working for many years on the relationships between artists and politics and the activism of artists and celebrities for political causes. Among her recent publications, on that topic: Art et Contestation aux États-Unis (Presses Universitaires de France, 2019), Penser les frontières sociales (ed. with L. Mathieu, Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2019) and How to Do Politics with Art (ed. with Anurima Banerji, Routledge, 2016).