Gabriel Tarde  

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Jean-Gabriel De Tarde or Gabriel Tarde in short (March 12, 1843 in Sarlat, FranceMay 13, 1904 in Paris) French sociologist, criminologist and social psychologist who conceived sociology as based on small psychological interactions among individuals (much as if it were chemistry), the fundamental forces being imitation and innovation.

Among the concepts that Tarde initiated were the "group mind" (taken up and developed by Gustave Le Bon, and sometimes advanced to explain so-called herd behaviour or crowd psychology), and economic psychology, where he anticipated a number of modern developments. However, Emile Durkheim's sociology overshadowed Tarde's insights, and it wasn't until US scholars, such as the Chicago school, took up his theories that they became famous.

Everett Rogers furthered Tarde's "laws of imitation" in the 1962 book Diffusion of innovations.

Recently, French sociologist Bruno Latour has referred to Tarde as a possible predecessor to Actor-Network Theory in part because of Tarde's criticisms of Durkheim's conceptions of the social.

Tarde's interest in criminology arouse while he was working as a magistrate in public service. Tarde was interested in the psychological basis of criminal behavior. He was critical of the concept of the atavistic criminal as developed by Cesare Lombroso. Tarde's criminological studies served as the underpinning of his later sociology Template:Ref.

Interestingly Tarde also produced one science-fiction novel entitled Underground Man. This novel tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic earth covered by ice where the surviving humans has gone to live underground. The novel develops on the new culture which is created by the humans where music and art are the dominating aspects of lives.


  • La criminalité comparée (1890)
  • La philosophie pénale (1890) - Translated by Rapelje Howell and published as Penal Philosophy in 1968
  • Les lois de l'imitation (1890)- Translated by Elsie Clews Parsons in 1903 and published as The Laws of Imitation
  • Les transformations du droit. Étude sociologique (1891)
  • Monadologie et sociologie (1893)
  • La logique sociale (1895)
  • Fragment d'histoire future (1896)
  • L’opposition universelle. Essai d’une théorie des contraires. (1897)
  • Écrits de psychologie sociale (1898)
  • Les lois sociales. Esquisse d’une sociologie (1898) - Translated to English by Howard C. Warren and published in 1899 as Social Laws - an Outline of Sociology
  • L'opinion et la foule (1901)
  • La psychologie économique (1902-3)
  • Fragment d'histoire future (1904) - Translated by Cloudesley Brereton and published as Underground Man in 1905

See also

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