In France as elsewhere, anthropology developed as an autonomous discipline concerned with the study of faraway primitive or “exotic” societies, but it has shifted its purview, especially over the past several decades, to also include societies closer to home in both time and space. Consideration of the substantial literature produced over the past 30 years by French anthropologists conducting research in France illustrates the specificities of national disciplinary traditions in perceiving and meeting this challenge. Anthropology's position within the institutional framework of contemporary French academic and scholarly life, as well as the intellectual traditions that have been brought to bear on the ethnological study of France (especially the legacies of Durkheimian social thought and folklore studies) are shown to have helped shape both the production of anthropological knowledge of and in France and debates about its pertinence to the discipline's future.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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