Passer au contenu

/ Département de sociologie

Je donne


Distinction - Professeur Marcel Fournier

Le 5 août 2020, Professeur Marcel Fournier s'est vu remettre le prestigieux Lifetime Career Achievement Award  par l’American Sociological Association. C'est une grande distinction et  très belle reconnaissance pour ses travaux sur Durkheim, Mauss & Cie. Cet honneur est largement mérité et il en rejaillira assurément sur le Département de sociologie.


          2020 HOS Lifetime Achievement Award - Marcel Fournier of Université de Montréal

It is one of the rare privileges of academic life to have the opportunity to honor the scholarly achievements of our professional colleagues, and no honor is more meaningful than recognition for lifetime achievement.  Few scholars ever receive such awards, and it is our pleasure to extend that recognition, in 2020, to Marcel Fournier of the Université de Montréal. 

Professor Fournier is widely recognized for many scholarly achievements, but above all for his path breaking and continuing work on Durkheimian sociology and sociologists.  The best known fruits of that endeavor are his encyclopedic biographies of Marcel Mauss and Émile Durkheim.  In the words of Professor Stephen Lukes, one of his most eminent predecessors, Professor Fournier “is rightly regarded across the world as the major present-day authority on Durkheim, Mauss and the Durkheimians.”

“His biographies of Durkheim and Mauss and his focus on the collective  work of the Année sociologique group of scholars, together with various ancillary writings constitute a monumental body of work to which all subsequent writings and research must refer.”

Professor Jeffrey Alexander of Yale University adds detail to this evaluation:  “Marcel's book on Mauss transformed that thinker into a ravishing intellectual and human being.”  Levi-Strauss and Bourdieu had given his well-known work The Gift new salience, but Professor Fournier showed “that Mauss was so much more than these achievements. He displayed and interpreted Mauss' writing, for example, about the situation of the working class, and he brought together and interpreted his massive published and unpublished thinking, both polemical and systematic, about socialism. Marcel demonstrated that Mauss was one of the key intellectual figures of France over four decades, spanning several disciplines…”

“If Marcel's book has forever changed how Mauss is understood, this is also the case, if slightly less so, for his amazing biography of Durkheim. [It had long been] believed that [an encompassing] biography was impossible, for the reason that Durkheim's papers had been destroyed when the Nazis controlled Bordeaux. Remarkably, Marcel was able to [recount] what Durkheim was doing every year of his life, and often during many months of each year.

…He also documents what I myself had only been able to speculate about textually, namely the dramatic shift towards religion and collective representations that occurred in Durkheim's thought in the late 1890s.”

Professor Fournier has also been active in the history and sociology of science.  As Professor and former ASA President Michèle Lamont of Harvard University explains, “The research that Marcel Fournier conducted on Quebec's entry into Modernity opened a new perspective at the crossroads of the history of scientific disciplines and the sociology of science and culture.”

“This work made it possible to better understand the process of constitution of the scientific and intellectual fields and to renew the analysis of social and cultural changes that Quebec has experienced since the end of the 19th century.  Marcel Fournier has influenced a whole generation of researchers, who have continued their research, some in the history and sociology of science, others in the sociology of arts and culture.”

After reviewing extensive documentation concerning Marcel Fournier’s publications and activities, the Lifetime Achievement Award committee unanimously and enthusiastically endorses the sentiments expressed by Professors Lukes, Alexander, and Lamont.  We offer him our warmest congratulations and our best wishes for his continuing scholarship.