College of Sociology

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An informal group of intellectuals which, like the Vienna Circle, was founded with the purpose of sharing ideas and with the aim of changing research in the humanities. It was founded in Paris in 1937 by three exiles from surrealismGeorges Bataille, Michel Leiris and Roger Caillois—other participants include Pierre Klossowski, Alexandre Kojève, Jean Paulhan and Jean Wahl. The group met fortnightly to discuss a wide range of subjects, but with a common purpose of trying to discern the fundamental nature of human society. They paid particular attention to indigenous cultures, which they regarded as windows into the prehistory of western society. They were fascinated by and wanted to explain the existence and experience of the sacred and its complement, the festival. The College was disbanded in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II.

Further Reading:

D. Hollier The College of Sociology (1988).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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