I am a researcher in social sciences at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France. I specialize in the study of the way contemporary society relates to the past. In other words, I study “memory”.
Generally I publish rather dry university books that are read by a select group of academic colleagues around the world. I also write “scientific” articles that respond to specific, demanding criteria established by the academic community.
It takes years to produce these publications. Firstly because it takes a long time to produce the research material – to formulate research questions that establish gaps in what appears self-evident, to establish or obtain relevant data to address these questions, and finally to provide rigorous proof. More time is then needed for these publications to be evaluated, a process that is anonymous and carried out by my peers. This is a token of the ability to accumulate of knowledge in social sciences, as in other fields.
The texts on this blog are not academic writings, but they are written by an academic. They were written in response to a need that I have felt for a certain time now, well before the events that they focus on.
Today, in France like elsewhere, sociologists, historians, political scientists and other anthropologists are interrogating, studying, and reformulating the questions that society is asking about itself – and sometimes they are able to respond. One of the things we have learned from the attacks that shook France in 2015 is that studies in these areas are often not well known or widely read, and rarely have any impact.
There are many reasons for this, and I have no ambition to overcome such obstacles. The texts on this blog are merely a way for me to think aloud, along with the reader, in the hope that he or she might also reflect on this in turn.
3 January 2016, 11th arrondissement, Paris, email@example.com
The English texts of this blog have been translated by Katharine Throssel