Johannes Angermüller

The Making of French Theory: Symbolic and Institutional Transformations of the Humanities in North America

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Keywords: French Theory, humanities in the United States, circulation of ideas, hybridisation of culture, entrepreneurial universities

This paper aims to investigate the intellectual phenomenon of so-called «French Theory» in the humanities in North America. Given a massive translation of French thought into the North American humanities during the seventies, I discuss how new symbolic trends are articulated with institutional changes. Thus, the influence of French thought reached its apogee during the long job crisis accompanying the transition to entrepreneurial models of the university characterized by «flexible» work relations. While this contribution invites us to rethink the notion of predetermined and pre-constituted fields and points out the hybridization of intellectual traditions in the current era of globalization knowledge in the human sciences, it argues that pure concepts do not exist since they are always situated in a specific field.

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