One of the most recent publications of the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales was presented during an evening talk monday this week. The audience heard about three volumes making up the set Faire des sciences sociales. In this bundle, each book is dedicated to a central „mode of doing“ social science: critiquer, comparer, and généraliser. In the first volume, presented at the evening’s talk by Christophe Prochasson, a clear cut criticism is portrayed as a remedy against the wits of experts and their expertly knowledge. The second book deals with comparisons and their most basic requisite, according to Jean-Frédéric Schaub, who introduced this volume: altérité, otherness. Not to disavow otherness, but to retrace its mechanisms, this would be the task of the social sciences. Thirdly, Jocelyne Dakhlia used examples from her work on europe and islam to illustrate the topic of this book: generalisations. What can researchers do when they encounter a certain mutuality? In her case this question arose for historic christian and muslim armies in which senior military leaders came quite frequently from the opposing side. The answer can, of course, be found in the book about generalisations.
Aside from being an up-to-date collection of research, the 1000-pages set also aims to represent the recent past of the school EHESS. As Christophe Prochasson explained, the set shows the present state of social sciences research almost half a century after the founding period of the school, the period of Bourdieu and Lévi-Strauss. Even when these eminent scholars still nourish nostalgic memories, the school is well alive. That is the message of Faire des sciences sociales.