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Alain Touraine

Alain Touraine (born August 3, 1925) is a French sociologist born in Hermanville-sur-Mer. He is research director at the √Čcole des Hautes √Čtudes en Sciences Sociales, where he founded the Centre d'√©tude des mouvements sociaux (see also Daniel Bertaux). He is best known for being the originator of the term "post-industrial society". His work is based on a "sociology of action," and believes that society shapes its future through structural mechanisms and its own social struggles. Touraine defined historicity as the capability of a society to take action upon itself, see The Self-Production of Society (1977).

His key interest for most of his career has been with social movements. He has studied and written extensively on workers' movements across the world, particularly in Latin America and more recently in Poland where he observed and aided the birth of Solidarnosc (Solidarity), see Solidarity: The Analysis of a Social Movement (1983). While in Poland, he developed the research method of "Sociological Intervention," which had been outlined in "The Voice and the Eye" (La Voix et le Regard) [1981].

Touraine has gained immense popularity in Latin America as well as in continental Europe. Yet he has failed to gain anywhere near the same recognition in the English-speaking world. Out of twenty or so books, only about half of them have been translated into English.

He participated in 1969 at MoMA's Universitas project organized by Argentine architect Emilio Ambasz.

Selected publications

  • Touraine, A. (1971). The Post-Industrial Society. Tomorrow's Social History: Classes, Conflicts and Culture in the Programmed Society. New York: Random House.
  • Touraine, A. (1977). The self-production of society. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Touraine, A. (1981). The voice and the eye: An analysis of social movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ‚ÄúA Social Movement: Solidarity‚ÄĚ. Telos 53 (Fall 1982). New York: Telos Press.
  • "Chapter 9: Society Turns Back Upon Itself." The Blackwell Reader in Contemporary Social Theory. Ed. Anthony Elliott. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 1999.
  • Touraine, A. (2000). Can we live together?: Equality and difference. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
  • Touraine, A. (2006). Le monde des femmes. Paris: Fayard.

Further reading



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