Revisiting Aron’s The Class Struggle: Rereading Fifty Years after

  • Serge Paugam
Part of the Recovering Political Philosophy book series (REPOPH)

Abstract

Among Raymond Aron’s sociological studies, the three essays on industrial society (18 Lectures on Industrial Society, The Class Struggle, and Democracy and Totalitarianism), publications derived from seminars given at the Sorbonne between 1955 and 1958, constitute a representative sample of his sociological thinking and method. Initially duplicated from the original stencils by the Sorbonne’s center for documentation, seven years later, the texts were professionally edited and made available to the larger public. After some hesitation, Aron agreed to the publication of the texts that still contained sections improvised in the lecture, as well as their use in teaching, even though they were not initially destined for publication. According to Aron, what we have at hand corresponds to “research minutes” or “a working tool for students,” rather than a completed book comparable to his earlier publications. However, the three seminar texts became widely read, and they occupy an important place in the overall set of writings of the author. In his memoirs, Aron recognized their value by noting that they embrace themes at the center of his attention for more than a decade: “comparison of the economies and societies of both parts of Europe, the diversity of regimes and patterns of growth, social structure as a function of the regime and the stage of growth, the relative autonomy of the political system, and its influence on style of life and class relations.”1

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Raymond Aron, Mémoires. 50 ans de réflexion politique, Paris, Julliard, 1983, 393Google Scholar
  2. Raymond Aron, Memoirs. Fifty Years of Political Reflection, New York and London, Holmes & Meier, 1990, 266.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Raymond Aron, La Lutte de classes: Nouvelles Leçons sur les sociétés industrielles, Paris, Gallimard, “Idées,” 1964.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    For a review of research on these issues, see Christian Thuderoz, “Du lien social dans l’entreprise. Travail et individualisme coopératif,” Revue française de sociologie, vol. XXXVI, no. 2, 1995, 325–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Notably Stéphane Beaux et Michel Pialoux, Retour sur la condition ouvrière. Enquête aux usines Peugeot de Sochaux-Monthéliard, Paris, Fayard, 1999.Google Scholar
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    Serge Paugam, “La condition ouvrière: de l’intégration laborieuse à l’intégration disqualifiante,” Cités, vol. 35, 2008, 13–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Friedrich Engels, La Situation de la classe laborieuse en Angleterre, 1st edition in German, 1845, Paris, Editions sociales, 1975, 166. NB. The English citation is informed by the several versions of the book accessible online.Google Scholar
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    Jean Fourastié, Les Trente Glorieuses ou la révolution invisible, Paris, Fayard, 1979.Google Scholar
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    Raymond Aron, Essais sur les libertés, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1965, 116. An Essay of Freedom, New York, World Publishing, 1970, 79.Google Scholar
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    Raymond Aron, Les Désillusions du progrès. Essai sur la dialectique de la modernité, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1969, 35Google Scholar
  13. Raymond Aron, Progress and Disillusion: The Dialectics of Modern Society, New York, Praeger, 1968, 12–13.Google Scholar
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    See about this question Serge Paugam, La Disqualification sociale. Essai sur la nouvelle pauvreté, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1991.Google Scholar
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    Serge Paugam, Les Formes élémentaires de la pauvreté, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, “Le lien social,” 2005.Google Scholar
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    Serge Paugam (dir), L’Intégration inégale. Force, fragilité et rupture des liens sociaux, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, “Le lien social,” 2014.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© José Colen and Elisabeth Dutartre-Michaut 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serge Paugam

There are no affiliations available

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