Gabriel Tarde

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tarde, Gabriel


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.


La 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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Scholars mostly of sociology but also other social sciences and humanities identify the principal threads in the complex course of Gabriel Tarde's (1843-1904) thought, which contributed to the development of sociology in France and elsewhere.
In der Sozialtheorie von Gabriel Tarde gehen Entwicklung und Wandel zuruck auf Erfindungen und Initiativen, die nachgeahmt und so zu sozialen Innovationen werden (Tarde 2009 a).
Some of these phrases were invented, but others were borrowed from Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ulysses" or The Underground Man, a nineteenth-century postapocalyptic novella by Gabriel Tarde, a French sociologist who rejected grand theories of society in favor of explaining societal patterns through "the accumulation of elementary actions." In other words, he understood "the large by the small, the big by the detail."
But even earlier, at the turn of the 20th century, French social psychological Gabriel Tarde (1898/1989) announced that an item in the newspaper has no influence unless it becomes the subject of conversation (see also Clark, 1969/2014; and Katz, Ali, & Kim, 2014 (1)).
We learn of denied applications and successful promotions, positive and negative reviews of Durkheim's work, and early competitors in the sociological arena who opposed and supported his project--individuals such as Rene Worms, Gabriel Tarde, and Gustave Le Bon, whose contributions to sociology's early history may not be well known to English readers.
To be more specific, it is proposed that the concepts of imitation, suggestion, and crowds, which will be distilled from the writings of Gabriel Tarde (and more recent scholars reinventing his work), enable examinations of alcohol and drug use that build on the growing body of posthumanist work in the field by clarifying how AOD practices can be cultivated and modulated affectively by (masses of) people in spaces.
Outro autor utilizado e Gabriel Tarde. A outra parte do artigo e O direito a informacao.