This paper offers a study of French anthropological tradition in a comparative perspective. It focuses on French anthropologists' writing practices and, in particular, on a strikingly recurrent phenomenon: that French ethnographers, in addition to their scholarly work, often write a ‘second book,’ a literary account of their experience in the field. The study of the divide between these two books allows for a comparison with other national anthropological traditions, particularly the American one. It sheds light on some difficulties in cultural and intellectual translation between national traditions in social sciences.
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