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What Are You Running After? Inquiry into Human Nature (Après quoi tu cours ?)

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Original Language: French | 184 pp. | 2016

2 Seas Represents: World excl. French rights

SOCIAL SCIENCES 

The homeless man, sitting on a bench with a bottle of beer in his hand, calls out to me: “What are you running after?” As I continue to run, I simply turn around and smile at his little provocation. He probably sees himself as a free man, free from the strange whims of all those stressed city dwellers who spend part of their free time running. But his question deserves to be taken seriously: “What are you running after? “And the answer is far from obvious.

The running boom is a global phenomenon: today, millions of us run all over the world. But why are we all running? What are the fundamental motivations that guide our behaviour? The simplest questions are sometimes the most daunting.

In this new essay, Jean-François Dortier explores this social phenomenon – the running boom – to offer a global reflection on human nature. With the aim of not holding the reader hostage and engaging him in an open dialogue on a fundamental question in the human sciences: What is a human being? And what makes him run?

Jean-François Dortier is the founder and director of the magazine Sciences Humaines. He is the author of Humans, Instructions for Use (2009), The Human Being, this Strange Animal (2012). He has edited the Dictionary of Human Sciences (2004, pocket edition 2008) and the Dictionary of Social Sciences (2013), all published by Editions Sciences Humaines.