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Nations And Their Adversaries As A Theme Of Social Thought

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows how culture, one of the fundamental concepts of contemporary human science, was explicitly promoted as an alternative to the notion of character. Organicist and personalist imaginaries underlie the notion of national character. Even though the theories of national character may entail a vision of the social as more or less homogeneous, all such theories tend to stress the importance of internal cohesion, compactness, or even harmony, as opposed to conflict, inequality, or power relations. Gabriel Tarde said that the regularities that could be observed in social life resulted from imitation, which he presented in his work as the most important phenomenon of social life. Like Max Weber and Fran Boas, Durkheim fought the naturalism and the reductionism of the human sciences of his time by declaring the social a moral realm mostly free from the influence of climate or race.

Keywords:Durkheim; Fran Boas; Gabriel Tarde; Max Weber; national character



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