Dear Jean-François Colosimo, Director of the National Book Centre,Dear Jean-François Colosimo,Dear Jean-Luc Gréau,Dear Alain Barluet, Dear Ysé,Dear Dear Friends,Dear Jean-Luc Gréau,Dear Alain Barluet,Dear Ysé,Dear Dear Friends,

In her introduction to Sophie BARLUET’s essay, Le Coeur en danger, Pierre
NORA notes that while the world is talking about “social sciences”, the
French only prefer the name «sciences humaines», or sciences
“human and social”. This singularity may suggest that we consider
these disciplines – literature, philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology,
geography, economy, but also all the sister disciplines that
make up with them the building blocks of these “humanities” – like the heiresses
classical “humanities,” and knowledge that is the sharing of
honest man. And indeed, where basic scientific research accuses
sometimes a tendency towards specialization that always runs the risk of deepening the
gap between researchers and the public, the humanities continue to
address – ideally, and that’s the whole question, I’ll come back to it – to
a wide audience of curious minds, honest men, and offer them keys to
to decipher the world and the future of human societies.
There was a golden age of French humanities, and it is only to return
some 30, 40 or 50 years ago to observe how much science publishing
the intellectual debate in our country and, more
the formation of citizen thought, by managing to reconcile the
culture and the public’s desire to approach and know it. It is during
the double glorious decade of the 1960s and 1980s that we were indeed
to discover thoughts as decisive as those of Michel FOUCAULT
and its archaeology of knowledge, but also structuralism
anthropology of Claude LÉVI-STRAUSS, the sociology of
domination by Pierre BOURDIEU, or historical geography and
Fernand BRAUDEL. The public’s enthusiasm for this knowledge and
these intelligences were such, let us recall, that the Goncourt Prize was almost awarded to
Sad Tropics in 1955, and that Monitoring and Punishing was a huge success of
This intellectual vitality, it has radiated, and continues to radiate today,
especially abroad, and it is always a great joy and an immense pride
to find, in the United States or elsewhere, a translation of DERRIDA, DELEUZE, and
essays on or inspired by these great figures.
Books and magazines have been the preferred vectors of this proliferation
intellectual reflection, driven by the vitality and dynamism of publishers,
large houses – such as GALLIMARD, PLON, MINUIT and
FLAMMARION for the examples I cited – or small
structures that, in Paris as well as in the provinces, have devoted themselves entirely to
the dissemination of the fruits of thought of these great discoverers of
new continents and new bridges between disciplines.
And yet, for a number of years now, we have witnessed a
social sciences crisis, which is above all a crisis of
their dissemination. The late Sylvie BARLUET pioneered the
finding, noting that essential, driving and innovative books:
what she calls “reason books” – struggle to find their audience and,
We are faced with this paradox of a
kind of scissors crisis between, on the one hand, democratization and
massification of higher education and university research
and, on the other hand, the fact that this development did not at all benefit the books of
Sophie BARLUET was the first, in the framework of several
decisive contributions to the book policy that still make today
reference, to alert public opinion and authorities to the weakening
economics of humanities publishing. She also showed,
in its report on the publication of journals commissioned by the National Centre
of the book in 2006, that book production was not the only affected
by the economic difficulties and that the world of magazines, he suffered
Also, a gradual precariousness.
These two economies, book and periodical, are
closely related. Intermediary between press and publishing, the magazine played,
and continues to play an essential role for the quality of intellectual debate
of our country. A veritable pool of authors and irreplaceable
a laboratory of ideas, it feeds publishing and its creativity. It
this year, we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the NRF, which
of the Revue des Deux Mondes, more
still venerable, since 2009 marked its 180th anniversary, but
also from Medium, Commentaire, Esprit or Europe, each of these
titles contribute crucially to the richness of intellectual life
and guarantees the continuity of our critical thinking. The vitality of their
cadets – I am thinking of the XXI magazine of Laurent BECCARIA and Patrick de
SAINT-EXUPÉRY, The Life of Ideas by Pierre ROSANVALLON, Books
Olivier POSTEL VINAY or Non fiction by Frédéric MARTEL –
this abundant vitality shows that the magazine, in its traditional form
or in digital format, still has good days ahead of it.
And this French exception is a great chance: because if the rhythm
slow thinking only flourishes fully in space and duration
of the book, the genesis of an idea often finds its origin in the columns
of social sciences and humanities journals. In most
articles is a sleeping book», writes Marcel GAUCHET.
So, it’s to fully renew the golden age of science
and with this emulation of the knowledge and curiosity of
that we specifically support the editorial sector of the magazine
and its osmosis with the book. It is for this reason that, in perfect
consistency with the aid policy for reviews conducted by the Ministry of
Culture and Communication, the National Book Centre (CNL), under
the impetus of its previous President, Benoît YVERT, decided to create
the Sophie BARLUET Award, intended to celebrate this complementarity and
even this little-known dialectic of essay and review.
In honour of this culture and media expert, who
to promote quality works and support emancipation
This Prize, whose journals are the active ferment,
every two years, the excellence of a social sciences and humanities essay
have appeared in an article or tribune.
For this first edition 2010, the brilliant editorialists, journalists,
editors and intellectuals who make up the jury1 unanimously welcomed the
and the demonstrative intelligence of The Betrayal of
Jean-Luc GRÉAU, whom I would like to congratulate warmly on this success and
this deserved recognition.
By developing elements of analysis that emerged in an article in the Debate
in October 2008, this radically innovative trial offers an alternative
to the deleterious “single thought” that some would impose on us
economists and ideologists heirs of «clerics» against treason
which Julien BENDA rebelled in his time.
Jean-Luc GRÉAU shows, I believe, all the virtues of moderation, this
which obviously does not mean lukewarmness, on the contrary! The
measure is a necessary ingredient for the sustainability of the things we
loves, while radicalism and even auboutism, by virtue of a kind
law of balance and compensation, always lead to loss and
Jean-Luc GRÉAU is anything but a Don Quixote of antiliberalism, who
would throw away, if I may say, the market with the bath water, it is not a
absolute elsewhere, a utopian of rupture, an unrealistic by
idealism. He is a pragmatist, an opponent of the excesses of capitalism,
which brings a saving internal criticism of our economic equilibrium.
And Jean-Luc GRÉAU’s method is, in itself, a guarantee of
moderation. Because these are not only pure ideas, even if they
moderate and even visionary in the crisis we are experiencing, that it
development, but he never ceases to base his thesis on particular cases
extremely precise. If he does not give in the incantation, it is because
its work is based on observations. This is, in the noblest sense of the
term, a scientific work, and it reconnects well with the ideal of
human research”: scholarly, precise, detailed research,
and at the same time have a scale and a
universal scope for the City – which interests both specialists and the
mainstream educated public.
In the presence of Alain BARLUET,
her husband, and their daughter Ysé, the first prize «Sophie BARLUET» at this
a salutary work that contributes to the “enlightened citizenship” of its reader,
to take up the objective that the journal Le
1 Pierre Assouline, Alain Frachon, Claude Imbert, Jacques Julliard, Jean Lebrun, Jean-Pierre Le Goff, Philippe
Meyer, Etienne de Montéty, Daniel Rondeau, Alain-Gérard Slama, Benoît Yvert.
Debate. May this award bring Sophie’s memory and commitment to life
BARLUET, and help to make known the value of the “reason book” for
which she fought with such generosity, and which she also says
very well, the “heart” of our knowledge and, therefore, one of the stones
cornerstones of our democracy.
Thank you.