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Bouglé was born in Saint-Brieuc, Côtes-du-Nord. He entered the École Normale Supérieure in 1890 and aggregated in philosophy in 1893. He was, along with Xavier Léon, Élie Halévy, Léon Brunschvicg and Dominique Parodi, one of the founding members of the journal Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale. In 1896 he joined with Durkheim and became one of the first editors of the Année Sociologique. He received his doctorate in 1899.
After teaching in Saint-Brieuc, Montpellier, and Toulouse he took a position at the Sorbonne in 1908, the same year that Essay on the Caste System (his best-known work) appeared. Finally, he became the director of the École Normale Supérieure in 1935. He died in Paris.
Bouglé was one of French anthropologist Louis Dumont's foremost inspirations when it came to seeing Indian castes (in the spirit of the Année Sociologique) not just as elements making up a whole, but forming an ideological system (that of the Varnas, not the numerous Jatis) that in meaning and scope surpasses the sum of the elements.
- Works by Célestin Charles Alfred Bouglé at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Célestin Bouglé at Internet Archive
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