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The Social Origins of Thought: Durkheim, Mauss, and the Category Project

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Volume 43

Methodology & History in Anthropology

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The Social Origins of Thought

Durkheim, Mauss, and the Category Project

Edited by Johannes F. M. Schick, Mario Schmidt, and Martin Zillinger

332 pages,

ISBN  978-1-80073-233-9 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (March 2022)

eISBN 978-1-80073-234-6 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“It makes a clear contribution to its field by a group of scholars with a coherent nucleus in Germany, many of whom have been researching this topic for years, if not decades … it represents the culmination, at least for the time being, of work on these issues (the Durkheimians and the categories).” • Robert Parkin, University of Oxford

“This is a collective book from international scholars assessing the legacy of the Durkheim school of sociology through the epistemological question of the origins of categories of thought … This is a significant contribution to the historical epistemology in France.” • Frédéric Keck, Director of Research at the Laboratory of Social Anthropology (CNRS-Collège de France-EHESS).


By studying how different societies understand categories such as time and causality, the Durkheimians decentered Western epistemology.  With contributions from philosophy, sociology, anthropology, media studies, and sinology, this volume illustrates the interdisciplinarity and intellectual rigor of the “category project” which did not only stir controversies among contemporary scholars but paved the way for other theories exploring how the thoughts of individuals are prefigured by society and vice versa.

Johannes F.M. Schick is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities (University of Cologne). He was the head of the DFG-research Project “Action, Operation, Gesture: Technology as Interdisciplinary Anthropology”.

Mario Schmidt is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School of the Humanities at the University of Cologne. He has published in distinguished academic journals such as Africa, Journal of Eastern African Studies, Ethnohistory, and Journal of Cultural Economy.

Martin Zillinger is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne. His major field research has been in Morocco on trance, ritual, and new media.

Subject: SociologyTheory and MethodologyMedia Studies


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