The Social after Gabriel Tarde

Debates and Assessments

Edited by Matei Candea

© 2012 – Routledge

304 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415534260
pub: 2012-02-06
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415543392
pub: 2010-02-15
US Dollars$166.00

About the Book

The social sciences and humanities are now being swept by a Tardean revival, a rediscovery and reappraisal of the work of this truly unique thinker, for whom ‘everything is a society and every science a sociology’. Tarde is being brought forward as the misrecognised forerunner of a post-Durkheimian era. Reclaimed from a century of near-oblivion, his sociology has been linked to Foucaultian microphysics of power, to Deleuze's philosophy of difference, and most recently to the spectrum of approaches related to Actor Network Theory. In this connection, Bruno Latour hailed Tarde’s sociology as "an alternative beginning for an alternative social science". This volume asks what such an alternative social science might look like.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Revisiting Tarde’s House, Matei Candea Part 1: 'The Distance that lay Between’: The Tarde-Durkheim Debate Reconsidered 1. The Debate, Gabriel Tarde & Emile Durkheim 2. Imitation: Returning to the Tarde-Durkheim Debate, Bruno Karsenti 3. The Value of a Beautiful Memory: Imitation as Borrowing in Serious Play at Making Mortuary Sculptures in New Ireland, Karen Sykes 4. Tarde and Durkheim and the Non-Sociological Ground of Sociology, David Toews 5. If There is No Such Thing as Society, Is Ritual Still Special? On Using The Elementary Forms after Tarde, Joel Robbins 6. One or Three: Issues of Comparison, Timothy Jenkins 7. The Height, Length and Width of Social Theory, Alberto Corsín Jiménez 8. Faith, Reason and the Ethic of Craftsmanship: Creating Contingently Stable Worlds, Penny Harvey & Soumhya Venkatesan Part 2: Quantifying, Tracing, Relating: Fragments of Tardean Method 9. Tarde’s idea of Quantification, Bruno Latour 10. Gabriel Tarde and Statistical Movement, Emmanuel Didier 11. Tarde’s Method: Between Statistics and Experimentation, Andrew Barry 12. Intervening with the Social? Ethnographic Practice and Tarde’s Image of Relations Between Subjects, James Leach 13. Tarde on Drugs, or Measures Against Suicide, Eduardo Viana Vargas 14. On Tardean Relations: Temporality and Ethnography, Georgina Born 15. Pass It On: Towards a Political Economy of Propensity, Nigel Thrift Afterword, Marilyn Strathern

About the Editor

Matei Candea is a lecturer in social anthropology at Durham University, UK, and previously Sigrid Rausing Lecturer in collaborative anthropology at the University of Cambridge, UK. He received his doctorate from Cambridge in 2006 for work on difference, knowledge and relationality in Corsica, and has published a number of articles on this topic and on the subject of ethnographic method and anthropological theory. A book entitled Corsican Fragments: Difference, Knowledge and Fieldwork is forthcoming with Indiana University Press in 2010. His post-doctoral research focuses on the interplay of engagement and detachment in everyday relations between behavioural biologists and the animals they study.

About the Series


Culture, Economy and the Social

This series establishes the importance of innovative contemporary, comparative and historical work on the relations between social, cultural and economic change. It publishes empirically-based research that is theoretically informed, that critically examines the ways in which social, cultural and economic change is framed and made visible, and that is attentive to perspectives that tend to be ignored or side-lined by grand theorising or epochal accounts of social change. The series addresses the diverse manifestations of contemporary capitalism, and considers the various ways in which the `social', `the cultural' and `the economic' are apprehended as tangible sites of value and practice. It is explicitly comparative, publishing books that work across disciplinary perspectives, cross-culturally, or across different historical periods.

We are particularly focused on publishing books in the following areas that fit with the broad remit of the series:

  • Cultural consumption
  • Cultural economy
  • Cities and urban change
  • Materiality, sociality and the post-human
  • Culture and media industries
  • Culture and governance
  • Emerging forms of cultural and economic practice

The series is actively engaged in the analysis of the different theoretical traditions that have contributed to critiques of the `cultural turn'. We are particularly interested in perspectives that engage with Bourdieu, Foucauldian approaches to knowledge and cultural practices, Actor-network approaches, and with those that are associated with issues arising from Deleuze's work around complexity, affect or topology. The series is equally concerned to explore the new agendas emerging from current critiques of the cultural turn: those associated with the descriptive turn for example. Our commitment to interdisciplinarity thus aims at enriching theoretical and methodological discussion, building awareness of the common ground has emerged in the past decade, and thinking through what is at stake in those approaches that resist integration to a common analytical model.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Social History
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General