Professor Downs’s current research explores the shifting relationships between the social and the political in twentieth-century Europe via the comparative study of civil society mobilizations around social welfare in France and Great Britain from about 1870-1970. This research has given rise to three separate book projects: A ‘Perpetually Moving Frontier’? Social Protection, Civil Society and the State. France and Great Britain, 1870-1970; Pour sauver les enfants. Évacuation civile et mouvements d’enfants en France, 1939-1949; and Women’s Social Action and the Reconfiguration of Politics on the Right. France and Great Britain, 1918-1960.