No national tradition of social theory has been more seductive to Anglo-American readers than the French.There has been a long-standing fascination with French ideas and debates.
This extraordinarily accomplished book, written by one of Britain's leading commentators on social theory, provides a peerless account of the French tradition.The book: provides a systematic account of French social theory from the aftermath of the French Revolution (St Simon, Bazard and Comte) to the contemporary scene dominated by Kristeva, Deleuze, Bourdieu and Baudrillard; divides French social theory into three logically coherent cycles: 1800-80 (positivist); 1880-1940 (anthropological); 1940-2000 (Marxist); provides a detailed guide to the three phases of postwar French social theory - existential, structural and post-structural; and situates the discussions of individuals and schools in the relevant social and political contexts.
The book is a masterpiece of erudition and scholarship but is written throughout in an engaging and informative style. It will be required reading for anyone interested in social theory and sociology.
Mike Gane is Professor of Sociology at University of Loughborough
PART ONE: FIRST CYCLE: 1800-1880 THE BIRTH SOCIAL THEORY: ALTRUISM The Post-revolutionary Void Sacrificial Theory and the Sociology of Modernity Theory in Crisis Religion and the Subjective End of the First Cycle Scholasticism PART TWO: SECOND CYCLE: 1880-1940 THE REBIRTH OF SOCIAL THEORY: ANOMIE Social Theory Reborn French Society Vanguard without a Norm Method in Crisis and the Resort to Theory in Suicide End of the Second Cycle Anthropology and Religion PART THREE: THIRD CYCLE: 1940-2000 THE SECOND BIRTH OF SOCIAL THEORY: HYPERTELIA Existential Theory The Algerian War From Pathology to Normativity Structural Theory Radical Theory and the End of the Social Fin-de-Cycle Time of Counter-Strategies Conclusion Social Theory at the End of the Social