Gabriel Tarde. The « Swallow » of French Criminology

‘The Anthem Companion to Gabriel Tarde’ offers the best contemporary work on Gabriel Tarde, written by the best scholars currently working in this field. Original, authoritative and wide-ranging, the critical assessments of this volume will make it ideal for Tarde students and scholars alike.

‘Anthem Companions to Sociology’ offer authoritative and comprehensive assessments of major figures in the development of sociology from the last two centuries. Covering the major advancements in sociological thought, these companions offer critical evaluations of key figures in the American and European sociological tradition, and will provide students and scholars with both an in-depth assessment of the makers of sociology and chart their relevance to modern society.

Marc Renneville, « Gabriel Tarde: The ‘Swallow’ of French Criminology » in Robert Leroux (dir), The Anthem Companion to Gabriel Tarde, Anthem Press, mars 2018, pp. 103-108

Gabriel Tarde is better known nowadays for his sociological theories and for his opposition to Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), but Tarde was above all one of the first to criticize the born-criminal theory of Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) and was the author of an original theory on the perpetration of crime and penal responsibility. Tarde published widely in the field of criminology : he wrote commentaries on criminal statistics, he was in at the birth of crowd psychology, he put forward criteria for ensuring correct sentencing and he developed an original theory of crime and punishment. Tarde was one of Lacasssagne’s main collaborators on the Criminal Anthropology Records and he participated in numerous conventions on anthropology, sociology and penitentiary science. Although celebrated in his lifetime, Tarde’s reputation did not endure. One reason for this can be found in his writings : his books were in effect compilations of articles from which it was hard to distinguish a clear doctrine. Tarde was recognised as an erudite practicioner, but he was isolated and did not gain a wide following.

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