International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

«  Laurence Caillet. Entretien avec Alain Morel  »

Laurence Caillet & Alain Morel
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“Laurence Caillet. Interview with Alain Morel”, collection “L’Ethnologie en héritage”, n°15, director : Gilles Le Mao ; producers : Gilles Le Mao & Stéphane Jourdain /La Huit, 2013, 180 min.

After studying medicine and Arabic, Laurence Caillet became a journalist at the International Bureau of Japanese Television Broadcasting in 1970 and trained in ethnology at the Anthropology Department of Tokyo University. She conducted numerous fieldworks, mainly in Kansai, Tôhoku and Tokyo. The study of learned and ordinary rituals provided the ethnographic material on which her thinking is based. Also trained in orientalism, Laurence Caillet holds a doctorate from the Institut des Langues et Civilisations Orientales and is one of the few French specialists in Japanese civilisation. As a researcher at the CNRS, she has worked on the modalities of knowledge construction, particularly in the field of religious anthropology, and she is interested in the integration of traditional value systems in the service of modernity. She analyses the modalities of Japan’s rapid modernisation and insists on the constant references, in discourse and practice, to a rural Japan, the crucible of Japanese values. The ethnology of Japan, a country where the ethnology of the self is highly developed, is deeply marked by the coexistence of two traditions of knowledge, one linked to the archipelago’s relations with China, the other to the assimilation of Western knowledge. This implies working with Japanese and foreign specialists in Japan as well as with ethnologists in general. Professor at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, she has directed the Laboratory of Ethnology and Comparative Sociology. She was also deputy scientific director of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences of the CNRS. Finally, she has directed the Department of Doctoral Studies at the University of Nanterre.

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