Mysteries and conspiracies : detective stories, spy novels and the making of modern societies
- Luc Boltanski ; translated by Catherine Porter.
- Uniform Title
- Énigmes et complots. English
- Cambridge, UK : Polity Press, 
- Copyright notice
- Physical description
- v, 340 pages ; 24 cm
- Boltanski, Luc, author.
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 304-323) and index.
- * Acknowledgements * Foreword * 1. REALITY / versus / Reality * 2. The Inquiries of a London Detective * 3. The Inquiries of a Paris Policeman * 4. Identifying Secret Agents * 5. The Endless Inquiries of Paranoids * 6. Policing Sociological Inquiry * Epilogue * References * Endnotes.
- (source: Nielsen Book Data)9780745664057 20160616
- Publisher's Summary
- The detective story, focused on inquiries, and in its wake the spynovel, built around conspiracies, developed as genres in the latenineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During the same period, psychiatry was inventing paranoia, sociology was devising new formsof causality to explain the social lives of individuals and groupsand political science was shifting the problematics of paranoiafrom the psychic to the social realm and seeking to explainhistorical events in terms of conspiracy theories. In eachinstance, social reality was cast into doubt. We owe the project oforganizing and unifying this reality for a particular populationand territory to the nation-state as it took shape at the end ofthe nineteenth century. Thus the figure of conspiracy became the focal point for suspicionsconcerning the exercise of power. Where does power really lie, andwho actually holds it? The national authorities that are presumedto be responsible for it, or other agencies acting in the shadows -bankers, anarchists, secret societies, the ruling class? Questionsof this kind provided the scaffolding for political ontologies thatbanked on a doubly distributed reality: an official but superficialreality and its opposite, a deeper, hidden, threatening realitythat was unofficial but much more real. Crime fiction and spyfiction, paranoia and sociology - more or less concomitantinventions - had in common a new way of problematizing reality andof working through the contradictions inherit in it. The adventures of the conflict between these two realities -superficial versus real - provide the framework for this highlyoriginal book. Through an exploration of the work of the greatmasters of detective stories and spy novels - G.K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Le Carre and Graham Greene amongothers - Boltanski shows that these works of fiction andimagination tell us something fundamental about the nature ofmodern societies and the modern state.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)9780745664057 20160616
- Publication date
- Copyright date
- First published in French by Éditions Gallimard, Paris in 2012.
- 0745664040 (cloth)
- 9780745664040 (cloth)
- 0745664059 (Paper)
- 9780745664057 (Paper)
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