December 3, 2012

SCHOLARS AND PROPHETS: Sociology of India from France 19th – 20thcenturies Roland Lardinois

Sociology of India from France 19th – 20thcenturies
Roland Lardinois

"… Scholars and Prophets is a work of immense erudition guided by a strong sense of purpose (...) The study is a targeted attempt to uncover the origins of Dumont's analysis of the caste system in his Homo hierarchicus."

Rosane Rocher,
University of Pennsylvania,
Journal of the American Oriental Society

“This book, which deals with the representations of India in France, serves as a landmark model of historical sociology of human and social sciences"

Gisèle Sapiro,
Centre national de la recherche scientifique,
Transeo Review

French Writings on India and South Asia
This Series brings together a body of work from France on India and South Asia. Books which appear in this series will cover the social sciences and literature, made available to the English speaking world often for the first time.

   This is the first book in the Series.

Scholars and Prophets: Sociology of India from France 19th – 20th centuries is being translated from L’invention de I’ Inde. Entre ésotérisme et science, and deals with the historical genesis of the long and rich scholarship on India in France since the beginning of 19thcentury, with particular reference to the work of Louis Dumont. It considers the works of scholars and the essayists, poets, or esotericists who published on India and shows that Dumont has been influenced by both groups. This understanding illuminates the main criticism that is still addressed to Homo hierarchicus, that in this book Dumont mistook the internal Brahminical view point on the caste system for a sociological view.

In the last chapter, the book contrasts Dumont’s work with issues raised by McKim Marriott’s project and the Subaltern Studies from India. It defends that the core issue dealt with by all scholars is the epistemic status given to scientific knowledge of Indian society.
In the course of explaining the French intellectual tradition, the author relates many fascinating interactions and little known anecdotes of famous men and women which capture the intellectually vibrant climate of the time. Both scholars and students of the social sciences will find this book very useful.

Introduction: Genesis of the sociology of India
Prologue: René Daumal and the autofiction of the cultural field
Part One
The Genesis of a Savant Milieu (1795-1927)
Chapter 1. The struggle for academic legitimacy
Chapter 2. Orientalist knowledge and prophetic discourses
Chapter 3. The Struggle for institutional autonomy
Part Two
Scholars and Prophets (The interwar period)
Chapter 4. The field of scholarship on India in the 1930s
Chapter 5. Scholarly practices
Chapter 6. Prophetic strategies
Chapter 7. Hinduism as a disciplinary issue
Part Three
Social Science and Indigenous Science
(Second half of the 20th century)
Chapter 8. Louis Dumont and the indigenous science
Chapter 9. Louis Dumont and the cunning of reason
Chapter 10. The Avatara of scholarship on India
Conclusion. Sociology put to the test of India
Postscript. Note on the construction of a research subject
Appendix: Multi Correspondence Analysis
Postface to the English-language edition
List of documents, tables, figures
Sources and bibliography

 Roland Lardinois is a sociologist, Director of Research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Paris (France). He is Fellow at the Centre d’études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris.He has published works on the history of family in India, historical demography of South India, history of French scholarship on India, and edited a volume of correspondence exchanged between Sylvain Lévi and Russian Orientalist scholars.
564 pp | 215x140 mm | Hardback