A View from a French Sociologist

Dominique Schnapper

in British Sociology Seen from Without and Within

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263426
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734298 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Occasional Papers

A View from a French Sociologist

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The French are not familiar with British sociology. As a first indicator, British sociology is hardly ever translated into French. In Britain, Anthony Giddens is the most cited and the most widely read British sociologist, along with Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Talcott Parsons. British sociology is not well known and is rather uninfluential in France. On the one hand, its so-called ‘classical’ form, used by the 1950 generation, appears to many to be too rigorous and too marked by ‘positivism’. This type of sociology is therefore the object of criticism both on the continent and among young British sociologists. What is striking when reading British sociology is that British research has often been more rigorous than French research because it is based on fieldwork of an anthropological nature, an approach which French scholars have often been reticent about. Moreover, British researchers are more scathing, when it comes to criticism of their own nation, than their French counterparts.

Keywords: Britain; sociology; France; Anthony Giddens; sociologists; research; Emile Durkheim

Chapter.  4225 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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