Death of sociologist Bruno Latour, figure of ecological thought

The one that the New York Times nicknamed “France’s most famous philosopher” died at 75.

The famous philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour, considered one of the greatest contemporary French intellectuals, died overnight at the age of 75, his publisher, Les Éditions La Découverte, announced on Sunday.

Recipient of the Holberg Prize (2013) and the Kyoto Prize (2021) for all of his work, Bruno Latour was an unclifiable intellectual, concerned with field research. He was one of the figures of ecological thought.

He is the author (alone or in collaboration) of works such as The factory of law. An ethnography of the Council of State, The Life of laboratory, We were never modern, The Microbes. War and peace (on Louis Pasteur) and the last Where am I? written in the midst of the Covid crisis.

Born on June 22, 1947 in Beaune in the Côte d’Or into a family of Burgundy wine merchants, Bruno Latour ped an aggregation in philosophy and then trained in anthropology in the Ivory Coast. He then taught in engineering schools, the École des Mines (where he was responsible for the “Description of scientific controversies” course) or the Center for the sociology of innovation.

“France’s most famous philosopher” for the New York Times

Author of several essays published in English before being published in France, Bruno Latour has long been interested in questions of management and organization of research and, more generally, in the way in which society produces values ​​and truths. , before turning to the environmental crisis. From 2006 to 2017, he was a professor at Sciences-Po Paris, where he directed research activities for a long time. He contributed to creating, within the school, the innovative master SPEAP (Sciences-Po Program of experimentation in arts and politics).

Author of two plays, Bruno Latour has also taught abroad, notably in Germany and the United States, where he was a guest professor at Harvard. the New York Times dubbed him “France’s most famous” philosopher.

He was one of the first to perceive the importance of ecological thought. In 2020, he confided to the Madame Figaro, “The health crisis is a matter of life or death, so is ecological change, but on a much larger scale”. And to emphasize:The air you breathe, the water you drink, the soil in which you plant seeds… You only exist thanks to these elements. We commit suicidal acts by polluting them, by destroying them, because this compromises the conditions of our own human existence.“.

An emergency that the state was unable to grasp. But Bruno Latour was convinced thate “the arts can allow us to metabolize the strange situation in which we find ourselves: to be in abundance and at the same time threatened to an unprecedented degree. The artists have shifted, themselves have been transformed, by understanding that the range of affects that we mobilize to absorb the ecological question was not at the point”.

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