Jacob Collins

May 26, 2022

The Anthropological Turn

French Political Thought After 1968

University of Pennsylvania Press 2020

Jacob Collins's The Anthropological Turn: French Political Through After 1968 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020) examines some of the most important currents in French intellectual life through the 1970s. In the wake of the upheaval of 1968, and confronted with the economic and other crises of the decade that followed, a number of political thinkers and social theorists in France interrogated "the social" borrowing anthropological concepts and approaches to religion, identity, citizenship, and the state. 

Collins's account of the decade focuses on the work of four key thinkers from across the political spectrum in France: Alain de Benoist, Marcel Gauchet, Emmanuel Todd, and Régis Debray. Across chapters that explore the work of these authors in depth, the book tracks the common methodological ground these figures shared, the individual and collective influence they exerted on the French political landscape of the era. In different ways, the book argues, the ideas of these and other "political anthropologists" have shaped approaches to fundamental social, political, and cultural questions in France over the past several decades. The Anthropological Turn will be a compelling read for students and scholars of French history, political thought, and culture from the last third of the twentieth century to the present.

Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century France and its empire. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send her an email (panchasi@sfu.ca).

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Roxanne Panchasi

Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century France and empire.She is the founding host of New Books in French Studies, a channel launched in 2013.

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