The book Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications, Louis Dumont is published by University of Chicago Press. Documents Similar To _Louis Dumont – Homo Aequalis(1).pdf. Philippe Corcuff as Novas Sociologias. Uploaded by. Julia Coelho · DUMONT Homo Aequalis. Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications. 3. Homo aequalis . Dumont’s Homo Hierarchicus (), to some extent, revived the interest in.

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Louis Dumont is very well known for his anthropological work on India, but rather less for his political thought.

Vincent Descombes emphasizes the substantial originality of that thought, which defined the political on the basis of comparative studies and in that way dispelled some of the equivocations of modern and contemporary philosophy.

About the difficulty of the task there is no doubt. But it might well be the royal road for the advancement of sociological understanding. Dumont broadened his audience by his works on Western individualism: But the meaning of this distinction is not always well understood, as can be seen for example when readers asqualis they detect an anti-modern prejudice in his thinking.

Some critics have even suggested that merely emphasizing this contrast revealed a vague nostalgia for old hierarchical forms of social life. They have not seen that with this contrast between two types of social ideology, Dumont was just giving a fresh take on the great division in the discipline of sociology: In fact, the readers who protest against the very idea of a holistic sociology are at odds with Dumont on this basic principle of his theoretical undertaking: Social ideas are ideas that must be understood in the overall picture of a particular society.

But how can sociologists, simply by critically reviewing themselves, thus understand bomo ideas that have to be related to their own culture, the culture of the particular society in which their minds have been formed? They would have to stop taking for granted their duomnt environment, and understand what makes it particular.

That is why comprehensive sociology must be comparative, and must relate our ideas to those of other people with civilizations different from ours. After all, as he himself pointed out, he dealt directly dealt only with changes in ideas, limiting himself to hints when it came to institutions and social forms. Dumont explained this several times.

Homo aequalis – Louis Dumont – Google Books

As can be seen in his first publication, La TarasqueDumont—a student of Marcel Mauss—was hardly ignorant of the form and contents of field studies. As he said himself, his investigation of aequa,is made no claim to be complete. Nevertheless, it counts as anthropology because it requires in us a change of perspective that involves a reform of our conceptual apparatus.

Here it would be helpful to remember that for a social anthropologist, fieldwork is not limited to noting different behavioural characteristics. Evans-Pritchard as well as to Duont.

Moreover, it is this notion of translation that gives us the sense of holism as Dumont sees it. But the part-whole relationship important to Dumont is not like that of one piece of a mechanical system to the whole system, it is a relation involving meaning.

For him it is not a matter of replacing acting hono with forces of which they are the instruments. Holism consists rather of understanding things as part of a bigger picture, as is necessary in translating, where you have to switch from one language to another. Translating a speech is not just replacing one word by another. To translate means especially to match up the syntactical rules required by our own language to the syntax of the sentence in the other language.

It is a matter of meaning and of comprehension, not of causality. Comparison is thus a contrast between conceptual schemes. Of course, the field worker translates not a text or an archive, but a life form. This means that the categories of thought in which we ordinarily reason and through which we communicate with each other will not emerge from the process unscathed.


They will be relativized. This brings us to the second point: In other words, why do they give the impression of having stopped at the point where we Westerners continued the historical development? The comparative principle demands that we reverse the perspective, because from the anthropological point of view it is we who are exceptional. Actually the question is, why did we not remain, like the rest of humanity, in the traditional type of social organization?

What are the implications of this intellectual project for political thought? This is surely the first question that any political philosophy should raise. I Some responses—those of most contemporary political philosophers—amount to defining the part by itself. As examples of this, Dumont gives the responses of Max Weber power is political if it has a monopoly of legitimate violence within the territory and Carl Schmitt power is defined as political when it designates its enemies.

All responses of this aequaliss try to define politics exclusively by the way in which it presents itself to our shared consciousness; therefore we remain trapped in our particular shared meaning: Always and everywhere there would be the essence of the political, as there would be the essence of the religious, of the moral, and so on.

According to Dumont, this reasoning is typically sociocentric. However, these definitions miss the partial aspect of what we call politics. For us, the political is indeed necessarily partial, since it must not be confused with the religious. For example, we cannot see as variants of the same ideal type a modern head of state and a traditional king whose duties are primarily those of a priest looking after the awqualis of the group in the universal order of things. Therefore, the meaning of politics cannot be the same in a society that assigns a religious dimension to the royal office as in a society in which this office has been secularized or where this sacred dimension is preserved simply dkmont a disguise to conceal the power relation.

II The second possible definition of politics falls between the preceding explanations, which remain completely encased in the shared modern dumpnt, and a fully comparative definition. For some of our philosophers, politics is understood as a part of life in society, but it is the part that must provide the sense of wholeness of the entire society. Dumont gave a Hegelian example of this doubleness of language.

Homo aequalis : génesis y apogeo de la ideología economía

Just the head of state, the various powers, and the bureaucracy? No, because there is also the people, who think of themselves, in contrast to others, as a sovereign state. Readers of Hegel have to ask themselves each time whether Hegel is discussing the apparatus of the state or is making a sociological observation. Why does Hegel speak in a double language in this way? According to Dumont, this is a reflection of an ideological fact: Hegel is not the only political philosopher who does this.

We could cite Montesquieu and Tocqueville, in whom this doubleness in vocabulary is quite conscious and controlled.

Granted, indirect representation means that the thinker cannot speak about it more directly, but it also means that he can say something about it, in contrast to the authors stuck in the partial point of view. III The third possible response is a sociological definition of the political as part of a whole. On the contrary, hoo requires us to start with the contrast between the various ways in which different societies have or have not defined a category of the political in relation to other categories of thoughtwith a view to arrivingat the end of the comparative investigation, at our modern concept of the political separated from the religious as a particular case.

In our history in the West, we see a gradual formation homi the category of the political as we understand it, in controversies surrounding the theological-political question: That is how we moved from a holistic ideology in which religion defined itself as the religion of the group, so that the overall society is represented as the universal Church, to an individualistic ideology in which religion is left to the individual and his liberty of conscience; since then, men have thought about the society to which they belong in political language.

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This contrast makes it possible to have a dumotn definition of a nation: There was in this change a certain continuity: Where, then, in this case, is the relation of the part to the whole? In a commentary on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dumont demonstrated all the advantage that can be derived from this advance.

However, if it believes it is capable of doing without that concept, it is because it quickly equips itself with everything that is needed for political institutions to function in an autonomous and partial sphere: Rousseau actually had the merit of raising the issue of how all these prior conditions could be met.

Rousseau was thus not only the precursor of sociology proper, but as well posed the problem of modern man, who has become a political individual without ceasing to be a social being, a problem which is still with us.

To proceed to a fully sociological point of view, we have to retain this idea of a sense of the whole set of institutions, but to stop portraying this sense as a product of the individual genius of an exceptional statesman. In the end, what would the comparative definition of politics be? Does Dumonf try to state it?

In his last book, he offers this:. What in principle founds the political domain within the social? We shall posit that the political level appears when a society ordinarily seen as multiple poses as a unit confronted by others whether empirically as in war, or ideologically.

The society as a unit is ipso facto superior to the society as multiple, and takes charge of it ideologically. Is this definition comparative? Perhaps it will be objected here that these views are archaic, because democracy as we understand it means accepting disagreement and conflict, while the obsession with unity in the Jacobin manner, for example reflects an authoritarian concept of citizenship.

That is perfectly true. However, in the democratic sense, conflict precisely does not mean civil war or the inability to decide for everyone, and it is precisely when there is disagreement among citizens that such arqualis as respect for majority rule and constitutional forms come into play, which amounts to elevating the individual as a citizen above the individual as a private person.

Indeed, if we agree with Dumont we have to conclude, contrary to what hoo of these theories suggest, that the category of the political does not emerge—when it does—in the interaction among individuals within a group in a power strugglebut whenever historical circumstances require that a collective will be expressed in a dunont decision, which brings out the principle of the primacy of foreign policy over domestic policy.

Previously published in French in laviedesidees. If you want to discuss this essay further, you can send a proposal to the editorial team redaction at laviedesidees.

Homo Hierarchicus

We will get back to you as soon as possible. Morton, revised by L. Translated with the support of The Florence Gould Foundation. Holism and Individualism Dumont broadened his audience by his works on Western individualism: How Should Politics Be Defined? In his last book, he offers this: Further reading References La Tarasque: A South Indian Subcaste: France-Allemagne et retourParis, Gallimard, To quote this article: You might also like. According to Nancy Fraser, the renewal of socialism requires a conflation Trees think, explains E.

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