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Empire of Meaning

The Humanization of the Social Sciences

1998
Author:

François Dosse
Translated by Hassan Melehy

Empire of Meaning

An essential guide to Continental philosophy after structuralism.

After the brilliance of Derrida, Foucault, Barthes-what? By most accounts, the French intellectual scene, poststructuralism, has split in two. This great divide, François Dosse contends, augurs a tremendous change in the structure and conduct of intellectual life. What this shift means-how it has occurred and what parts various thinkers have played in shaping it-is the subject of Empire of Meaning, the sequel to Dosse’s magisterial History of Structuralism.

Dosse provides a road map to contemporary French intellectual life, emphasizing the generation that came of age in 1968. Useful for specialists interested in the trajectory of intellectual life in France.

Library Journal

After the brilliance of Derrida, Foucault, Barthes-what? By most accounts, the French intellectual scene, poststructuralism, has split in two. On one side, a few select philosophers as media stars are pressed for their opinions on virtually every subject; on the other side, an atomized community of scholars in the social sciences are bound up in technicalities and muffled by the lack of a common language. This great divide, François Dosse contends, augurs a tremendous change in the structure and conduct of intellectual life. What this shift means-how it has occurred and what parts various thinkers have played in shaping it-is the subject of Empire of Meaning.

An outgrowth of Dosse’s magisterial History of Structuralism, Empire of Meaning is an extended encounter with some of the most influential French intellectuals. Through interviews and readings, Dosse reveals what has become of the intellectuals of the generation of ’68 as they have tried to work out the implications of their revolt against structuralism and the problem of cold war existence. Paul Ricoeur, Bruno Latour, Isabelle Stengers, Roger Chartier, Marcel Gauchet, Dany-Robert Dufour, and Michel Serres are among the many figures whose words and work unfold in these pages.

A thorough and thoroughly engrossing work of intellectual history, Empire of Meaning is a firsthand look at the reshaping of French intellectual life in our time.

Empire of Meaning

François Dosse is a historian and author of numerous books, including History of Structuralism.

Hassan Melehy is assistant professor of French at the University of Connecticut.

Empire of Meaning

Dosse provides a road map to contemporary French intellectual life, emphasizing the generation that came of age in 1968. Useful for specialists interested in the trajectory of intellectual life in France.

Library Journal

For the reader seeking rich historical detail, including names, places, schools, and research agendas, Empire of Meaning proves a veritable gold mine of information. The territory covered by Dosse is vast and impressive; the detail of his surveillance is overwhelming.

Rhetoric & Public Affairs