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Born Mar. 12, 1843, in Sarlat; died May 13, 1904, in Paris. French sociologist and criminologist.
From 1894 to 1896, Tarde headed a section in the Ministry of Justice. Later he taught and was made a professor of modern philosophy at the College de France in 1900. His sociological theory is pervaded by psychologism. According to Tarde, the psychology of the individual is the starting point of society, and the key processes occurring in society are those of imitation, opposition, and adaptation. Imitation is characteristic of individuals and facilitates their adaptation. Society is made possible by a universal law of repetition. The sole source of progress of society is invention, which is due to individual initiative and new combinations of existing ideas. As a result of imitation, the individual acquires both established norms and values and innovations. Tarde’s ideas were later developed in the theories of the socialization of the personality.
Tarde’s research demonstrated the difference between social psychology and individual psychology. According to Tarde, human beings taken collectively—especially in a crowd—are far more emotional and excitable and less intellectual than human beings taken individually. On the basis of this theory, Tarde was opposed to mass organs of state authority.
Tarde also wrote a number of works on the philosophy of law. His ideas influenced American sociology.
WORKSLa Criminalité comparée. Paris, 1886.
La Philosophic pénale. Paris, 1890.
Les Transformations du droil, 2nd ed. Paris, 1894.
L’Opposition universelle. Paris, 1897.
Etudes de psychologie sociale. Paris, 1898.
Les Transformations dupouvoir. Paris, 1899.
La Psychologie économique, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1902.
L’Opinion et la foule, 4th ed. Paris, 1922.
In Russian translation:
Zakony podrazhaniia. St. Petersburg, 1892.
Prestupleniia tolpy. Kazan, 1893.
Sotsial’naia logika. St. Petersburg, 1901.
Sotsial’nye zakony. St. Petersburg, 1906.