Durkheim, Mauss et la dynamogénie

Le lien Gley (1857–1930)

in Durkheimian Studies
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  • 1 Université de Bordeaux nicolas.sembel@sfr.fr
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This article develops that of William Watts Miller (in Durkheimian Studies 2005), who called for further detective work on the idea of ‘dynamogénie’. My investigations show a way of linking it with Durkheim and Mauss in bringing out that Eugène Gley – according to Mauss, a ‘lifelong friend’ of Durkheim’s – was one of the last to work with the idea’s chief originator, C-E. Brown-Séquard, a doctor who succeeded Claude Bernard at the Collège de France and a central figure in Watts Miller’s article. ‘Dynamogénie’ was first described by Brown-Séquard in 1851 in relation to a case of religious ecstasy, and was characterized by him as an exceptional and unconscious mobilization of nervous and muscular energy. It was then actively – if somewhat mysteriously – taken up by Durkheim and Mauss over sixty years later in their co-signed review of Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse. Gley, whose trajectory ran in parallel with Durkheim’s and to a lesser extent Mauss’s, constitutes a link between them and ‘dynamogénie’ that helps us fill out the two men’s intellectual horizons.

Durkheimian Studies

Études Durkheimiennes


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