Roland Lardinois, Scholars and Prophets. Sociology of India from France 19th-20th centuries. New Delhi: Social Science Press, 2013
« Scholars and Prophets: Sociology of India from France 19th – 20th centuries is being translated from L’invention de I’ Inde. Entre ésotérisme et science, and deals with the historical genesis of the long and rich scholarship on India in France since the beginning of 19thcentury, with particular reference to the work of Louis Dumont. It considers the works of scholars and the essayists, poets, or esotericists who published on India and shows that Dumont has been influenced by both groups. This understanding illuminates the main criticism that is still addressed to Homo hierarchicus, that in this book Dumont mistook the internal Brahminical view point on the caste system for a sociological view. In the last chapter, the book contrasts Dumont’s work with issues raised by McKim Marriott’s project and the Subaltern Studies from India. It defends that the core issue dealt with by all scholars is the epistemic status given to scientific knowledge of Indian society. In the course of explaining the French intellectual tradition, the author relates many fascinating interactions and little known anecdotes of famous men and women which capture the intellectually vibrant climate of the time. Both scholars and students of the social sciences will find this book very useful. »
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