French Social Theory
- Mike Gane - Loughborough University, UK
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.
"Gane provides a sweeping summary of some of the central themes in French social theory over the last two centuries as he traces French social theory from the birth of the "social" in Saint-Simonianism to the "social's" supposed demise in the recent writings of Jean Baudrillard. . . . overall he does a masterful job of weaving together social theory with French social and intellectual history."