1st Edition

Reintroducing Gabriel Tarde

By Sergio Tonkonoff Copyright 2024
    152 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    152 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers a new introduction to the thought of Gabriel Tarde, highlighting the continuing relevance, and even the novelty, of both his general theoretical approach and many of his specific analyses. Showing that Tarde elaborates a comprehension of the social that was received with difficulty in his time but is increasingly akin to ours, it demonstrates that the infinitesimal sociology offered to us by Tarde provides a framework through which we can understand a whole range of social phenomena. With attention to social networks, public opinion, innovation, diffusion, virality and virtuality—all of which were topics addressed by Tarde himself—the author clarifies and elaborates upon Tarde’s central theses on the multiple, differential, infinitesimal and infinite nature of both the social and the subjective. An examination of the importance of a figure whose work looked ahead to our own age, Reintroducing Gabriel Tarde will appeal to scholars and students of social sciences and social theory with interests in contemporary social thought.



    INTRODUCTION | Hypothesis about an oblivion and remembrance plan

    Where to locate Tarde’s work?

    Three classical readings and a (neo) baroque one

    Multitudes in heaven and Earth

    The problem of the social and its pure sociology

    CHAPTER 1 | Infinite and social theory

    Infinitesimals or differentials

    The labyrinth of the continuum

    Leibniz’s universe

    The composition of the infinite

    Towards an infinitist social theory



    CHAPTER 2 | Individual, Society and Social Field

    From the society to individuals

    From points to lines

    The social as skein, the individual as wool ball

    Beliefs and desires as infinitesimal social forces

    Infinitesimal sociology

    CHAPTER 3 | The social as contagion, creation and fight

    Social hypnosis (not everything is wakefulness with eyes wide open)

    Contagion lines and social epidemics

    Opposition, conflict, struggle

    The social as a field of struggles

    From doubt to war

    Invention as social relation (and as engine of History)

    Adaptation: difference and integration

    Contingency and necessity / virtuality and actuality

    Great and small / chance and reason


    CHAPTER 4 | Sociology of flows and ensembles

    The logic of social contagion

    Social logic and persuasive syllogisms

    Non-logic laws of imitation

    The world within the home and vice versa

    Social ensembles or systems

    Social intelligence and general will

    A science of intensive communication


    CHAPTER 5 | The Continuity of the multitudes

    The Crowd

    The multitude as paradigm and laboratory

    The individual, the crowd and its leaders

    The corporation

    The public, the mass-media

    Evolution and metamorphosis

    APPENDIX | Cartographical note

    Tarde in Paris

    Tarde in North-America

    Back to France






    Sergio Tonkonoff is a researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina, and Senior Professor of Sociology at the University of Buenos Aires. He is the author of From Tarde to Deleuze and Foucault: The Infinitesimal Revolution.