French society is doomed to collapse, says academic


In a recent book sociologist Louis Chauvel claims that, faced with a continued deepening of inequalities, French society is heading towards silent but nonetheless rapid and brutal collapse. The academic says that, rather like the aristocrats of Ancient Rome who did not see the fall of their empire coming, today's elites are blind to the fact that society as it stands is doomed. Joseph Confavreux examines the arguments in a book which at times feels like a memoir from beyond the grave.

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The landmark book 'Collapse' by American biologist and author Jared Diamond was sub-titled 'How societies choose to fail or succeed'. Reading the latest book by French academic Louis Chauvel, La Spirale du déclassement. Essai sur la société des illusions ('The Downwards Spiral: Essay on a society of illusions'), published by Seuil, it seems as if French society is in the process of choosing to disappear. In the book Louis Chauvel, professor of sociology at the University of Luxembourg, cites grim forecasts of environmental collapse, judging that it is “right to extrapolate these ideas to the social environment”.