Chronicle

Library Book Reviews
March 13, 2017

French social school of thought is one of those setting trends to intellectual discussions on the peculiarities of relations and connections among people. Our library has English translations of works by the scholars that are part of roughly every course in modern sociological theory. See below brief reviews of books by French philosophers and sociologists you can find in our reading room.

The concept of simulacrum is one of the acquisitions of modern culture. The contemporary interpretation of the notion was offered by one of the forefathers of postmodernism Jean Baudrillard in his book Simulacra and Simulation. The author described it as a copy that lost its original and can now substitute it. Reflections of Baudrillard on the nature of reality and the role of different media in recording or replacing are presented in a popular film trilogy The Matrix. In fact, the hacker Neo kept his CD in this book. So, why not taking a look at it? The library also has a dissertation thesis by Gilles Deleuze Difference and Repetition. It largely summarizes his previous work. It includes ideas of the philosopher on wasted time and the image of thoughts, and other.

The collection of conversations between Pierre Bourdie and Roger Chartier The Sociologist & the Historian deserves special attention. They were broadcast on the radio France Culture in the 1988-2002. They have a format of a light dialogue when two French intellectuals reflect on the essence of professions of a sociologist and a historian, on generation of knowledge and symbolic power, on fictitious oppositions, on individual freedom, on the notion of habitus and the interaction between different fields.

The effect ideas of Bruno Latour had goes far beyond the field of Humanities. His book Reassembling the Social sets the framework for the actor-network theory and suggests the social should be seen not as a special type of ‘glue’ keeping people together but as something connected with a multitude of different types of relations. The researcher discusses explanation categories common for social sciences (such as class, political culture, conformism, etc.) and shows them as contextual assemblies of different heterogeneous factors. In fact, according to Latour, the actors in the networks are not only people but also material objects. In the first part of the book, the author analyzes a number of key concepts for social sciences, such as social group, or action. He also shifts the focus to the network. The second part, tries to localize the global and distribute the local and the links between places, thus defining the field for identifying social relations as such. This book by Bruno Latour, and also other books can be ordered via an online catalogue of the library.

Welcome to read and think over!

By Dr. Natalia Otrishchenko