French Sociologist Gabriel Tarde slipped into the background of theorists’ work (with notable examples as diverse as Freud, Deleuze and Guattari, Caillois or Bergson) precisely at the time social phenomena was, in the last century, put under a lens: as mass and as multitude, as crowd and as cloud. Gabriel Tarde has been influential for those who advocate that humans and non-humans should have equal weight in networks, and that objects, concepts, and desires trace comparable vectors of relation. And paradoxically, we can also find Tarde in the claim 'that society does not exist', the denial of the social beyond relations.
This reading group will cover large sections from the French Sociologist’s books The Laws of Imitation (1890) and Monadology and Sociology (1893) alongside short contemporary texts exploring themes such as: contagion from mimesis to meme, non-human societies, big data in relation to the data revolution that the 19th century was a product of - though the direction of the group's discussions is flexible.
Join us from Monday 1 February and thoughout March, as we depart with a loose structure, but a regular schedule and commitment. We will meet having read around 80 pages of Gabriel Tarde and a short text by another contemporary author, decided by the group. No prior knowledge of the author or authors is required. This group is open to all with a maximum capacity of 12 people. Reading materials will be sent upon reservation of a place.
Reading group dates: Mondays: 1, 15, 29 February at 7pm and Mondays: 14, 28 March, 7pm.