French theory has been the subject of intense interest in the Anglo-American world for the last fifty years and its influence is prominent in many fields in the humanities and social sciences. In this engaging work, Véronique Mottier explores the ideas of key authors in postwar French social theory from de Beauvoir, Foucault, and Bourdieu, to Boltanski and Kaufmann, and demonstrates their relevance today.
The author shows how French social theorists characteristically frame their works as dialogues with or polemical attacks on each other. This underlying dimension of French social theory has often gone unacknowledged in the Anglo-American world, and Mottier redresses the balance by examining the disagreements, controversies and debates surrounding each thinker.
This erudite and informative book offers a systematic and up-to-date discussion of the central ideas of key French theorists and their critical rethinking of power and politics, identity and agency, language and meaning, gender, race and sexuality, outlining both the theoretical and the political implications of their work. It will be of great interest to all students and scholars in the arts and humanities, and in particular to social and political scientists.