How to think with actions. Kinds of life and kinds of knowledge in the anthropology of André Varagnac

By Frédéric Fruteau De Laclos


André Varagnac’s (1894–1983) active defense of the vision of folklore promoted by the Vichy regime has been closely analyzed. Beyond his thesis of the survival of traditional ways of life, we focus on his study of the imaginative knowledge developed in daily activities. The physical combat with nature leads to different schematic and symbolic systems. The difference between these systems depends on the kind of action initiated by human beings. In the case of instantaneous actions, people conceive gods, living personifications of matter; in the case of hard and repetitive work, they tend to consider the immortality of their souls and the question of their own salvation.


  • André Varagnac
  • Kinds of life
  • Techniques of the body
  • Differenciated anthropisation
  • Cognitive use of imagination
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