Does the constant reference to “ globalisation ” in scholarly literature imply that it has become an object of analysis? The French instance shows that it has not been the case. There is a French paradox to be noticed when it comes to studying how French social scientists have understood globalisation since the early 1990s. This paradox can read as follows: some French or Francophone academics or thinkers – such as the Belgian lawyer Paul Otlet (1935), the economist François Perroux (1964), the sociologist Henri Lefebvre (1998) and the historian Fernand Braudel (1979) – have written important contributions to a first appraisal of what we now call “globalisation”; and yet these early foundations did not allow for the emergence on this topic of an academic sub-field that would be characterised by shared reflections, common references, research programmes, attempts at synthesising previously acquired knowledge, curricula, etc. They did not make it possible to initiate the crystallisation around this topic of different disciplinary fractions.