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Lola Zappi



Email: lola.zappi@sciencespo.fr


Lola Zappi is a historian whose work focuses on the history of social work and poverty in France in the 20th century. She received her PhD from Sciences Po in 2019 and was a Research Fellow at the French Institute for Demographic Studies in 2020-2021.

Her doctoral thesis, published Presses de Sciences Po (forthcoming), analyzes the implementation of the French Welfare State through the birth of the first social services during the interwar period. It narrates the encounter between social workers and working-class families, with the help of a wide range of archives: student files from schools of social work, nominative files of social services’ “clients,” the work practice documentation of several Parisian institutions, and administrative and legal sources from public authorities. Through her work, Lola Zappi shows how the concrete implementation of the Welfare State improved access to social and medical assistance for working-class families, but at the same time crystallized the social divide between welfare institutions and their users.

Her current project focuses on rural welfare in France and the United States, exploring how social workers accompanied the populations left on the sidelines of rural modernization from the 1930s to the 1980s.