Gabriel Tarde - Encyclopedia




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GABRIEL TARDE (1843-1904), French sociologist, was born at Sarlat (Dordogne) in 1843. Entering the legal profession, he was for some time a juge d'instruction in his native town, becoming afterwards head of the statistical department of the ministry of justice. He also held the professorship of modern philosophy at the College de France in Paris, and was elected a member of the Academie des sciences morales et politiques in 1900. Attracted to the study of criminology by the opportunities of his profession, he gradually built up for himself a reputation as an acute observer of the phenomena of the subject, while at the same time he made striking and original deductions of his own. Special reference may be made to his theory of "imitation" as outlined in Les Lois de l'imitation (1890), and further elaborated in Logique sociale (1895). He also wrote L'Opinion et la foule (1901); Les Transformations du droit (1894); Les Transformations du pouvoir (1899); L'Opposition universelle (1897) and Psychologie economique (1902; Eng. trans., Social Laws, 1899). He died in Paris in 1904.

See bibliography of. the sociological writings of Tarde in M. M Davis, Psychological Interpretations of Society (Columbia University Press, 1909); also A. Matagrin, La Psychologie sociale de Gabriel Tarde (Paris, 1910).

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