Gabriel Tarde was a highly influential figure in 19th century French sociology: a prolific and evocative writer whose understanding of the social differed radically from that of his younger opponent Emile Durkheim. Whereas Durkheimian sociology went on to become the core of the social scientific canon throughout much of the 20th century, Tarde’s sociology fell out of the picture, and he was remembered mostly through a few footnotes in which Durkheim dismissed him as an individualist, a psychologist and a metaphysician.
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 ‘every thing 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.
This second edition has been expanded to include, alongside the original chapters, two key essays by Gabriel Tarde himself - Monadology and Sociology and The Two Elements of Sociology, as well as a significantly revised and extended introduction by the editor.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Revisiting Tarde’s house, Matei Candea Part I: Two Essays 1. Monadology and Sociology, Gabriel Tarde 2. The Two Elements of Sociology, Gabriel Tarde Part II: ‘The Distance that Lay Between’: The Tarde–Durkheim debate reconsidered 3. The Debate, Gabriel Tarde & Emile Durkheim 4. Imitation: Returning to the Tarde–Durkheim debate, Bruno Karsenti 5. The Value of a Beautiful Memory: Imitation as borrowing in serious play at making mortuary sculptures in New Ireland, Karen Sykes 6. Tarde and Durkheim and the Non-Sociological Ground of Sociology, David Toews 7. If there is no such thing as Society, is Ritual Still Special? On using The Elementary Forms after Tarde, Joel Robbins 8. One or Three: Issues of comparison, Timothy Jenkins 9. The Height, Length and Width of Social Theory, Alberto Corsín Jiménez 10. Faith, Reason and the Ethic of Craftsmanship: Creating contingently stable worlds, Penny Harvey & Soumhya Venkatesan Part III: Quantifying, Tracing, Relating: Fragments of Tardean method 11. Tarde’s Idea of Quantification, Bruno Latour 12. Gabriel Tarde and Statistical Movement, Emmanuel Didier 13. Tarde’s Method: Between statistics and experimentation, Andrew Barry 14. Intervening with the Social? Ethnographic practice and Tarde’s image of relations between subjects, James Leach 15. Tarde on Drugs, Or Measures Against Suicide, Eduardo Viana Vargas 16. On Tardean Relations: Temporality and ethnography, Georgina Born 17. Pass it On: Towards a political economy of propensity, Nigel Thrift 18. "Prova d'orchestra" or Society as Possession, Bruno Latour Afterword, Marilyn Strathern
Matei Candea is a lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is the author of Corsican Fragments: Difference, Knowledge and Fieldwork (Indiana UP, 2010) and a number of articles on anthropological method and theory, the ethnography of politics and the anthropology of science. His current research focuses on the interplay of engagement and detachment in everyday relations between behavioural biologists and the meerkats they study. See www.mateicandea.net.