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Michel Wieviorka


Michel Wieviorka (born 23 August 1946, Paris) is a French sociologist, noted for his work on violence, terrorism, racism, social movements and the theory of social change.

A former student of Alain Touraine, he is now one of the most renowned sociologists and public intellectuals in France and abroad. A number of his books are translated in different languages. Wieviorka received some international media attention as an expert following the 2005 civil unrest in France, and has been elected in Durban as the 2006-2010 President of the International Sociological Association.

Together with Touraine and François Dubet, Wieviorka developed the method of intervention sociologique and employed it to the study of militant social movements, in particular French anti-nuclear activism and student leagues, but also the famous trade unions Solidarnosc in Poland. Following Max Weber’s classic concept of interpretative sociology (verstehende Soziologie), intervention sociologique aims at understanding the subjective rationale of actors in the context of larger social conflicts. This concept was opposed to, e.g., Raymond Boudon’s failed attempt to establish a strict rational choice approach in French sociology.

Wieviorka is the director of the Centre d’Analyses et d’Interventions Sociologique (CADIS) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, which was established by Alain Touraine in 1981.

Wieviorka is the founder and editor of the sociological journal Le Monde des Debats and, with Georges Balandier, edits the Cahiers internationaux de sociologie.

In 1989, he was the first scholar to receive the Bulzoni Editore Special Award of the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences, for his book Société et terrorisme (1988, English edition The Making of Terrorism 1993).

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