Le Débat

Le Débat was a bi-monthly French periodical that appeared from 1980 to 2020. Founded by Pierre Nora[1] and Marcel Gauchet, and associated with French left-wing politics,[2] it was characterised as the "single most influential intellectual periodical" of late-twentieth-century France.[3]

The first issue of Le Débat appeared on the day of the funeral of Jean-Paul Sartre. As editor, Pierre Nora announced that the review would exemplify a new, post-partisan, role for French intellectuals: free from commitment to revolutionary politics, they would concentrate on the exercise of 'reflective judgement'.[4] According to Nora, Le Débat sold between 8,000 and 15,000 copies per issue in the 1980s.[5] Past editors include Raymond Aron, Georges Dumézil, François Jacob, Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, François Furet and Jacques Le Goff.[1]

In 2020, Le Débat announced in its 40th anniversary issue that it would cease publication. According to Christopher Caldwell, the magazine had fallen into disrepute with younger left-wing intellectuals, who disparaged the French tradition of egalitarianism and who rejected the criticism of U.S.-style identity politics represented in Le Débat as reactionary.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Revue Le Débat". Gallimard (in French). Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b Caldwell, Christopher (2021-03-05). "Is This the End of French Intellectual Life?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2021-03-06.
  3. ^ Mark Lilla, "New Liberal Thought", The Columbia History of Twentieth-Century French Thought, 2005, pp. 67–69.
  4. ^ P. Nora. 'Que peuvent les intellectuels?', Le Débat, 1, 1980, pp. 1–19.
  5. ^ Michael Scott Christofferson, French Intellectuals Against the Left: The Antitotalitarian Moment of the 1970s, 2004, p. 275, n8

External linksEdit