In this essay, Didier Gazagnadou examines the question of the diffusion of tech- niques and the impact of this diffusion on cultures and individual subjectivity. Techniques of transport and communication occupy a decisive role in the techno-historical process that led to globalization. The author undertakes “a certain rehabilitation” of the diffusionist wave and examines the reasons why anthropology rejected this movement and neglected the diffusion question. He shows that in particular the use of the binary East and West categories blocked the development of reflections on diffusions in Eurasia. The author draws on examples from the whole of Eurasia but in particular from the Iranian and Arab worlds at the interface of Asia and Europe. Indeed, Eurasia plays a central role as decisive techniques for the history of humanity emerged there and then gradually spread throughout the world. Finally, the author assesses the question of technical diffusions in the contemporary world where he observes the advent of a subjectivation mode, shared by a growing number of individuals issued from different cultures, on account of the implementation of the same industrial system on a global scale.
Didier GAZAGNADOU is Full Professor of Anthropology at the University-Paris VIII (Depart- ment of sociology and anthropology). He carries out researches on the Arab world, Iran and on technical and cultural diffusions, particularly in Eurasia. He was a researcher at the French Institution of Research in Iran (Institut Français de Recherche en Iran) and cultural advisor at the French Embassy in the United Arab Emirates. He is a member of the research team EA 1571 “History of power, knowledge and societies” (Paris VIII) and of the research network: “Comparative anthropology of Muslim societies” – Social Anthropology Laboratory (L.A.S. Paris). He is the author of several volumes: La poste à relais en Eurasie (Kimé 2013), La diffusion des techniques et les cultures (Kimé 2008); La poste à relais (1ère éd. Kimé, 1994); Joseph Needham, un taoïste d’honneur (Le Félin, 1991); co-editor of L’œuvre de Claude Cahen, Lectures critiques (Brill, 1996) and of articles in diverse Journals, including : Studia Islamica, Arabica, Etudes Mongoles et sibériennes, Toplumbilim, Techniques et Culture, Anthropology of the Middle East, Commentaire, l’Encyclopédie de l’Islam (Brill).