French social anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss is remembered for his contribution to structural anthropology. His book Tristes Tropiques was based on his research deep in the Brazilian Amazon. While he left France for the U.S. during World War II, he later returned to Paris and received his doctorate.
Holberg Prize-winning French sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour had initially studied theology and even received his PhD in the subject. His later research Ivory Coast drew him to anthropology, and he soon gained fame as a renowned academic in the field, having co-written iconic books such as Laboratory Life.
Renowned sociologist and intellectual Pierre Bourdieu is best remembered for his theory of habitus. Initially sent to Algeria as part of the French Army, he later taught and conducted ethnographic research there. His best-known work remains La Distinction, and he also inspired a hit French documentary.
Sociologist and anthropologist Marcel Mauss is regarded as the Father of French Ethnology. Shunning his family business, he became influenced by his uncle, sociologist Émile Durkheim. His best-known work remains Essai sur le don, or The Gift. He also influenced Claude Lévi-Strauss, who founded structural anthropology.
French social psychologist Gustave Le Bon is best remembered for his research on crowd psychology. In his iconic work La psychologie des foules, or The Crowd, he stated that people are driven by their emotions and not by their intellect when they act as part of a crowd.
Arnold van Gennep was a Dutch-German-French folklorist and ethnographer. He is best remembered for his 1909 work, The Rites of Passage, which influenced Joseph Campbell's 1949 work The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Arnold van Gennep's work also influenced Victor Turner's research and his 1969 work, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure.
Urban sociologist Loïc Wacquant is best known for his work on topics such as the body, ethnography, and racial inequality. A University of California, Berkeley professor, he has also been a MacArthur Prize Fellow and a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows. He also co-founded the journal Ethnography.
Lucien Lévy-Bruhl was a French scholar best remembered for his contributions to the fields of ethnology and sociology. Although he was trained in philosophy, Lévy-Bruhl helped further anthropology. His work had a major influence on the works of Carl Gustav Jung, especially his psychological theory.
Born to a Polish father and a Belgian mother in Paris, anthropologist and academic Eliane Karp later studied in Jerusalem, before moving to Stanford. The wife of former president of Peru Alejandro Toledo, she was dragged out of court, while cursing, after Toledo was denied bail in a bribery case.
Alcide d'Orbigny is regarded as the founder of micropaleontology. The French paleontologist traveled for 8 years throughout South America, exploring its natural history and geology. His study of marine fossils, sedimentary rocks, and pollen was accompanied by his iconic written work Paléontologie française. He supported the theory of catastrophism.