The Emergence of Combat Anthropology in France: A Study in the Production and Utilization of Social Science Knowledge

  • Michael Hammond
Conference paper
Part of the Institut für Höhere Studien — Institute for Advanced Studies IHS-Studies book series (INHSIAS)


To the combat anthropologists at the École d’Anthropologie in late nineteenth century Paris, the new science of evolutionary anthropology was not only an exciting research area that could shed light on mankind’s past, but it was also a weapon with which to aid the contemporary battle for social progress. Through the evolutionary idea, social scientists could grasp “all that still remains of the savage and barbaric in our modern civilization ... These are survivals from which the development of the anthropological sciences is called upon to liberate us ... The teachings of anthropology — one should not misunderstand it — carry a powerful aid for humanity to realize its own development” [Hovelacque, 1881, p. 314; Hovelacque/Hervé, p. 640]. Such ringing statements proclaimed a vision of the social sciences that shaped the lives and work of Gabriel de Mortillet, the internationally renowned prehistorian, Charles Letourneau, who held the first chair of sociology in the world, the comparative linguist Abel Hovelacque, and many others in their colorful circle.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Hammond
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Sociology, Scarborough CollegeUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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