Jablonka et la question du sujet en sciences sociales

Le cas de Laëtitia ou la fin des hommes

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Nathan Bracher Texas A&M University nbracher@tamu.edu

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With its compelling portrait of a young woman who was savagely murdered after having endured various forms of male violence throughout her life, Ivan Jablonka’s Laëtitia ou la fin des hommes also provides a stark depiction of French society and politics in the second decade of the twenty-first century. In deconstructing the sensationalism of the conventional crime story, the researcher-narrator seeks to draw as near as possible to the vivacious, yet fragile young woman while at the same time viewing her life in relation to various sociological and historical contexts defining its parameters. Jablonka’s own singular investment in the investigation and narration of Laëtitia thus poses the question of subjectivity in the social sciences. Recalling the landmark stances of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Emmanuel Lévinas, this article argues that Jablonka’s insistence on the explicit intervention of the researcher-narrator offers an epistemological gain and more precise knowledge.

Contributor Notes

Nathan Bracher est professeur de français à Texas A & M University. Il a récemment publié « Ethics and Aesthetics of World War II Memory : The Case of David Foenkinos, Charlotte » (Journal of European Studies, 2017), « Écrire la [non]-violence : le cas de Laëtitia ou la fin des hommes d’Ivan Jablonka » (Modern & Contemporary France, 2017), et « Matters of Principle for Jérôme Ferrari : Science and Conscience, Ethics and Aesthetics in the Life of Werner Heisenberg » (à paraître sous peu dans French Cultural Studies). Sa traduction d’Ivan Jablonka, History Is a Contemporary Literature : Manifesto for the Social Sciences, a paru chez Cornell University Press en avril 2018. Email : nbracher@tamu.edu

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