Alain Touraine

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Alain Touraine
Alain Touraine.jpg
Born (1925-08-03) 3 August 1925 (age 90)
Hermanville-sur-Mer, France
Education École Normale Supérieure
Occupation Sociologist
Relatives Marisol Touraine (daughter)

Alain Touraine (French: [tuʁɛn]; born 3 August 1925) in Hermanville-sur-Mer) is a French sociologist. He is research director at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, where he founded the Centre d'étude des mouvements sociaux. 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[citation needed] 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]. He participated in 1969 at MoMA's Universitas project organized by Argentine architect Emilio Ambasz.

Touraine has gained popularity in Latin America as well as in continental Europe. He has failed to gain the same recognition in the English-speaking world, although half of his books have been translated into English.


In 2010, he was jointly awarded, with Zygmunt Bauman, the Príncipe de Asturias Prize for Communication and the Humanities.[1] Touraine received the Légion d’Honneur in 2014 during his daughter Marisol’s mandate as French Minister of Social Affairs.[2]

Selected publications[edit]

  • 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.


Further reading[edit]