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Far AfieldFrench Anthropology between Science and Literature$
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Vincent Debaene

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226106908

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226107233.001.0001

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1955–1970: A New Deal

1955–1970: A New Deal

(p.275) Chapter Twelve 1955–1970: A New Deal
Far Afield

Vincent Debaene

University of Chicago Press

This chapter is broadly concerned with the the effects of anthropology on the field of literature between 1955 and 1970. During this period, the exchanges between the two domains became more fragmented and diversified and this chapter considers several of their forms: the impact of anticolonial struggles (especially in Africa and the Caribbean) on the relationship between anthropology and literature; the “Terre Humaine” literary series which attempted to straddle both fields; and Roland Barthes’s affiliation with structuralism. The focus on Barthes and the passage from structuralism to poststructuralism in France highlights a new and important critique addressed by the writer to the scientist: henceforth, the latter is now seen to believe naively in the transparent use of language. Once again, the rapport de force between social sciences and literature is reversed: whereas in the early twentieth century Lanson was inviting the writer and man of letters to become a social scientist, Barthes urges the social scientist to become a writer.

Keywords:   Africa, Caribbean, Roland Barthes, Structuralism, Terre Humaine, Poststructuralism

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