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Alain Touraine (French: [tuʁɛn]; born 3 August 1925) is a French sociologist born in Hermanville-sur-Mer. He is research director at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, where he founded the Centre d'étude 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) .
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. In 2010, he was jointly awarded, with Zygmunt Bauman, the Príncipe de Asturias Prize for Communication and the Humanities.
- 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.
- Dubet, F., A. Touraine and M. Wieviorka (1982). “A Social Movement: Solidarity”. Telos 53 (Fall 1982).
- Touraine, A. (1995). Critique of Modernity. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Touraine, A. (1999). "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.
- Touraine, A. (2007). New Paradigm for Understanding Today's World. Cambridge, Malden: Polity.
- Touraine, A. (2009). Thinking Differently. Cambridge, Malden: Polity.
- Answers.com on Alain Touraine
- Jacques Hamel compares aspects of Pierre Bourdieu and Alain Touraine
- Comments of Touraine at Forum Barcelona 2004[dead link]