6 books to understand the strange passions of your contemporaries

Choosing the best books to devour to have both feet on time and be ready for the new year.

Do you want to better understand your contemporaries? These sociologists, anthropologists, and journalists point to our current passions, adding consistency and perspective.

homo comfort by Stefano Boni

Existential fatigue, laziness, social withdrawal and life in a cocoon… Our time seems to be obsessed with finding comfort. A passion without consequences for the Italian anthropologist Stefano Boni. In homo comfort (Editions l’échappée), he emphasizes how our collective lethargy is not only the result of the pandemic but also of the technological and institutional system. In addition to having harmful effects on our sensuality and our morality, this system that values ​​the avoidance of effort and fatigue will also have dire consequences for our economy and our environment.

The spoiled children by Fanny Parise

Biodegradable phone cases, glass jars, and canvas bags abound… For anthropologist Fanny Parise, purchases of so-called sustainable products are not only responsible… They can also serve as an alibi for not giving up over consumption. In The Spoiled Children: Anthropology of the Myth of Responsible Capitalism (Payot) and The myth of responsible consumption: towards a new golden age of hyper-consumption society (Marie B), the researcher aims to deconstruct the myth of good consumption and explain why this collectively recognized model is harmful.

The muscle factory by Guillaume Valet

But why do we value muscular and well-built bodies today? Answers from sociologist Guillaume Vallet, expert in the history of economic thought, gender and the body, and bodybuilder for 25 years. In The muscle factory (Editions L’échappée), he explains why bodybuilding followers are increasing, at a time when sports halls are increasing and macronutrients are entering our diet. In focus: shaping a so-called perfect body, but not only. For the author, it is also a question of valuing our sovereignty through a capital (our body) to bear fruit in a world with an anxiety-provoking and uncertain future.

The new ways of self by Marc Bonomelli

New spiritualities are everywhere, from the Parisian open space to the Auvergne countryside. A craze for neo-spiritualities fueled by the decline of traditional religions and our production systems identified by journalist Marc Bonomelli in The new ways of self (Arché Edition). After spending more than two years underwater with apprentice shamans, diviners and energy experts, the author describes a complex nebula, where different forces infuse, between search for meaning, capitalism and the need to reconnect with nature.

Ordinary Odysseys by Blanche Leridon

Day greeting, slice of information and bowl of cereal… What does our morning say about us? Many things, according to Blanche Leridon. In Ordinary Odysseys, subtitled Le matin mode d’emploi (Éditions Bouquins), the essay tells how this moment of the day overflows with social imperatives and capitalist mantras, while crystallizing different gender norms . The book shows how these representations, evolving over time, are also taken up in literature, painting and TV series, from Albert Cohen to Michel Houellebecq, from François Truffaut to Sex and the City.

Why are we capitalists (despite ourselves)? by Denis Colombi

Is capitalism inevitable? Not for sociologist Denis Colombi. In Why all capitalists? (Payot), he explains to us that although there are few individuals who testify to a real adhesion to our economic system, this one is nevertheless maintained. Not because it is inevitable, but because a capitalist economy does not need individuals convinced of the usefulness and superiority of the system. And this, for a very simple reason: our tendency (quite foolishly) to naturalize the system, to think that it is immutable while it remains, even on the scale of humanity, relatively recent…

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