Fernand Dumont and the cultural explosion



The work of Québec sociologist, philosopher, theologian and poet Fernand Dumont (1927-1997) had a great impact on the social and human sciences, owing largely to his theory of culture as "distance and memory", developed in his masterpiece Le lieu de l'homme (1968).

Fernand Dumont's theory of culture to be still relevant at a time when questions of identity and culture have perhaps never been livelier.

According to Dumont, man is essentially a cultural being. But for Dumont, culture is not a simple anthropological fact; it is dialectically composed of primary culture, that of the milieu of everyday life, and secondary culture, which represents a distancing from this familiar environment, giving rise to cultural objects (art, literature, science, etc.). It is this duality that causes what Dumont calls the "crisis of culture", a crisis that must constantly be overcome.

Serge Cantin, Philosophy professor at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, considers Fernand Dumont's theory of culture to be still relevant at a time when questions of identity and culture have perhaps never been livelier. He is doing everything in his power to contribute to the interpretation, reception and dissemination of the Québec intellectual's work. In addition to publishing many articles and delivering a number of lectures on Fernand Dumont, Serge Cantin has compiled a collection of most of the interviews granted by Dumont throughout his career in a book entitled Fernand Dumont : Un témoin de l'homme (Hexagone, 2000).

Cantin also wrote the general introduction to the Œuvres complètes de Fernand Dumont, published in five volumes by Presses de l'Université Laval in 2008. More recently, Serge Cantin founded a new journal, Les Cahiers Fernand Dumont, of which he is director. This journal is published annually by Éditions Fides.